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The State of Social Work 2012

Social workers tell of risks and concerns

Among the 1,100 respondents to BASW’s 2012 State of Social Work survey, 85% have experienced notable cuts to services in the last 12 months and 78% have noticed jobs cuts or unfilled vacancies. Eligibility criteria has tightened, the use of unqualified staff is on the rise and caseloads are unmanageable for 77% of social workers.

The ultimate impact of overstretched services is reflected by the 88% who believe lives could be put at risk by cuts to services. Economic considerations are part of an enormous range of pressures, the survey reveals. Nearly half of social workers operate in the sort of working environment that makes safe practice impossible, with 46% stating that they are afraid to speak out about specific concerns for fear of repercussions. It is little wonder that more a third of respondents are considering leaving the profession.