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Above and Beyond: At What Cost? Report Launch

On Thursday 29 October NIASW launched its social work workload survey report Above and Beyond: At What Cost?

The report details the findings of a survey conducted by NIASW earlier this year in response to concerns raised by NIASW members regarding the increasing pressures they face in work. The survey was open to all social workers in Northern Ireland, and sought to identify the challenges and pressure they face on a daily basis.

Key to our efforts to promote the report’s findings via the media was the central message that 88% of social workers that responded to the survey indicated they regularly work additional unpaid hours. NIASW estimates this amounts to an additional 742,000 hours worked annually, saving the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care system £11.4m a year.

To ease the pressure faced by social workers to ensure demand is met and social workers are not required to work unpaid hours, an additional 380 social work posts are required. This equates to 330 additional posts in the statutory sector and 50 additional posts in the voluntary sector.

The key findings and recommendations from Above and Beyond: At What Cost? received considerable media coverage on 29 October. Carolyn Ewart, NIASW Country Manager, and Debbie Murphy, Principal Practitioner for Child Protection – Southern Health and Social Care Trust, participated in interviews broadcast on BBC Newline bulletins throughout the day and on Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster programme and the Radio Foyle Breakfast Show. Carolyn also participated in an interview on the U105 Frank Mitchell radio programme and the story featured on the Northern Ireland page of the BBC News website.

Following the media exposure we will now focus our efforts to bringing the report’s key findings and recommendations for change to the attention of our politicians, policy makers and social work employers, to deliver real change for social workers in Northern Ireland.