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Professional working conditions

BASW Cymru are asking social workers across Wales to support the BASW/SWU campaign for improved working conditions for social workers

BASW and SWU, in partnership with Bath Spa University are leading a campaign for improved working conditions for social workers.

The latest research findings (August 2018) have now been launched.

We are continuing to lobby ministers on the research which shows that social workers are strongly engaged in their work and want the very best outcomes for people that use services, but they are hampered by poor working conditions and a lack of resources. 

Invite your AM to pledge their support for social workers

  • Use this letter template in English or Welsh to ask your local AM to pledge their support for social workers and ask for a meeting where you live.
  • Share the campaign flyer in your workplace and with colleagues - available in English and Welsh
  • Show your support on social media #UKsocialwork and let us know the action you take.

2018 survey findings - summary

3,421 social workers contributed to the August 2018 survey, almost three times more than that completed the first Working Conditions and Wellbeing survey in 2017. 

  • Compared to the UK average, working conditions were worse than 90%-95% of other employees in both public and private sector occupations,
  • Nearly half of all social workers are also dissatisfied in their jobs,
  • Two thirds have attended work while ill at least twice in the last year,
  • Social workers worked an average of 64 days per year more than they are contracted to (an average of 11 hours per week)
  • 60% looking to leave their current job within the next 15 months compared to 52% last year
  • Nearly 40% respondents looking to leave the profession entirely
  • The main stressors were high case and administrative loads, and lack of resources for service users.


Social workers need positive professional working conditions to provide the best services

  • Strong leadership to manage the demand on social workers
  • Management training for social work managers
  • Reduce stress and provide wellbeing support     
  • Professional development
  • Time for reflective supervision to work through complex cases
  • Manageable caseloads and a consistent approach to caseload allocation
  • Employ more social workers
  • Reverse the blame culture and give social workers respect and positive support.
  • Flexible and remote working through improved technology         
  • 80/20 quality time with individuals and families
  • Fair pay and careers

How you can help


  • Share your good practice and learning for great services
  • Assess your services against the standards for employers of Social Workers across the UK.
  • Use the use the Continuing Professional Education and Learning (CPEL) Framework to develop your teams in Wales
  • Professional development and wellbeing support – contact BASW to find out how we can help support your social work leaders, managers and teams


  • Write to the Cabinet Secretaries for Finance and Health & Social Services and the WLGA requesting that social work is properly funded and resourced to retain the workforce and protect vulnerable children and adults.
  • Meet with representatives of the SWU and BASW in your area to hear more about their work lives and understand the work they do with vulnerable people.
  • Request a debate or Committee inquiry into the impact of cuts on social services.

BASW/SWU, in partnership with Bath Spa University Research into the working conditions of social workers was first launched in June 2017