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80-20 Campaign Final Report 2018

All good social work is dependent on relationships – and the strength of social worker’s relationships with service users determines the outcomes.

But evidence shows that relationship based social work is under serious threat from burdensome systems and increasing demand, coupled with limiting resources.

The past 30 years has seen a significant reduction in the opportunities to work therapeutically with families, arguably creating two generations of social workers who have become too dependent on systems and completing tasks.

A watershed moment should have been provided in the Eileen Munro review (2011) which highlighted bureaucratic processes, outdated computer systems and too much red tape and paperwork as obstacles to good practice.

Yet, over the past few years BASW members have repeatedly told us that they are still spending too much time in front of their computers rather than undertaking direct work with children.

Furthermore, the Children’s Commissioner’s Office (CCO) 2018 Stability Index heard directly from children saying they did not see or hear from their social workers enough.

Therefore, BASW England decided to see how widespread the problem was by surveying our members on the time they spent doing direct work versus administrative duties.

Additionally, we set out to find examples of best practice to help shape the environment for children’s social workers across England to spend more direct, relationship-based time with children.

Ultimately, the 80-20 Campaign is an attempt to eventually reverse the current situation which sees social workers spending close to 80 per cent of their time doing admin, while only 20 per cent of their time is spent in direct contact, building relationships with children and families.