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BASW England 80-20 Campaign Survey 2021: Where are we three years on?

The campaign to uphold relationship-based practice

The BASW England 80-20 campaign began following a survey of members in 2018, which revealed too much practice time was being spent on administrative tasks, rather than direct relationship-based work with children and families. 

We know that therapeutic, reflective, relationship-based practice is the best way for social workers to bring effective and positive change to vulnerable children and families - which is why, starting in 2018, BASW England began to campaign for around 80% of children and family social workers' time to be spent doing direct relationship-based work.

BASW England 80-20 Campaign Survey 2021

BASW England is carrying out a new survey in order to assess the progress of the campaign and to hear directly from social workers about their experiences, particularly in the context of the pandemic.

Why not tweet us and share the surveys with your colleagues using the hashtag #8020campaign?

The 80-20 Campaign: How it started

A 2018 survey of BASW England’s members revealed that social workers were frustrated that they were spending too much time on administration tasks, instead of direct relationship-based work with children and families.

The survey showed us:

  • Social workers were working on average 11 hours per week were spent in face to face meetings with children, young people, parents or carers.
  • An average of 29 hours a week was spent on a computer or doing paperwork.
  • 32% of social workers spent no time on reflective practice per week and 42% said they spent less that one hour.
  • On average 7 hours per week were spent on the phone with children, young people, parents or carers.

See the full 80-20 Campaign 2018 Report

What has happened since the BASW England 80-20 Campaign Survey in 2018?


University of Sussex’s Talking and Listening to Children KITBAG

What has happened with the 80-20 campaign since the Covid-19 pandemic?

In the last year, our profession has risen to the challenge posed by the pandemic and national lockdowns.

In response our campaign has supported social workers by:

  • Launching fortnightly online workshops for social workers across the country to engage in reflective practice and develop their relationship-based practice.
  • Running fortnightly online thematic (Theory to Practice) workshops which have to date covered child sexual exploitation, contextual harm, and anti-racist social work.
  • Holding a series of online events in a week of action in December 2020 where we launched our 80-20 pledge.
  • Launching an online version of our top tips guide for better recording in social work which has been quoted in this article.

What's next for the 80-20 campaign?

The new survey's for children and families’ will establish current trends in relationship based social work and also help us to reflect on some of the learning and experiences of the pandemic. You will also see the addition of a survey for practitioners working with adults to establish whether the campaign should also include adult social work.

Alongside this work, BASW England will be:

  • Launching a guide for social workers working remotely which has been inspired by all of the great remote work which has taken place during the pandemic and recognises that remote working is likely to continue post-lockdown.
  • Developing further guidance for managers and leaders seeking to embed best practice models into their workforces.
  • Holding a mid-year event on maternity and pre-birth social work as well as our annual 80-20 conference event at the latter end of 2021.