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BASW & SWU launch Working Conditions survey 2018

3,421 UK social workers say conditions have got worse, with many considering quitting

The 2018 edition of the UK Social Workers: Working Conditions and Wellbeing survey by Dr. Jermaine Ravalier from Bath Spa University – co-commissioned by Social Workers Union (SWU) and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) – was launched today at a conference in Birmingham.

The survey shows that working conditions have got worse across almost all indicators since the study was first carried out last year.

The key findings for 2018 are:

  • Working conditions contributing stress and ill-health are worse than 90%-95% of other UK employees in both public and private sector occupations
  • 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.
  • Over 40% social workers exposed to aggressive or physically abusive behaviours at least once a month from service users

*3421 social workers contributed in 2018, compared to 1600 in 2017

The full report can be downloaded here.

BASW and SWU are jointly leading a campaign to improve working conditions for social workers by lobbying ministers.

“Now is the time to turn dialogue into action with employers and policy makers,” said BASW chief executive Ruth Allen.

SWU general secretary John McGowan added: “Positive working environments are necessary for social workers’ psychological and physical welfare and to keep social workers in posts. If this is not addressed, then we will be facing a crisis – the Government needs to listen.”

BASW and SWU will be hosting a Parliamentary reception on Tuesday 27th November 12-2pm in the House of Commons where they will be highlighting these issues and urging MPs to sign a pledge to support the work of social workers and improve working conditions.

BASW and SWU are urging social workers to write to their MPs encouraging them to attend the reception. A template letter can be downloaded here.

SASW members

Find out what SASW are doing as part of the campaign.