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Social workers leaving ‘in droves due’ to overwork

SOCIAL workers are leaving their jobs “in droves” due to overwork, staff shortages, stress, threats of violence and low morale, Unison warns.

The union said that social work in hard-pressed communities — including care for vulnerable families — was at “breaking point.” 

A Unison survey of 3,000 social workers across Britain found that 93 per cent of social services departments were under-staffed and 90 per cent of workers faced “unmanageable” workloads.

Many said that their first point of contact with families was often only at crisis point because they have no time for early intervention and preventative work.

Others reported threats and violent incidents. 

One worker said: “We get so much blame and hostility, but we have no protection. We have nothing to keep us safe. 

“We’re expected to do so much but no-one considers the threat and danger we face. Social workers are disliked as much as the police. 

“But the police don’t find their personal details being used and aren’t at risk of being followed home.”

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Unacceptable levels of pressure on social work teams will end up costing lives. 

“The safety of vulnerable children, adults and their families must be paramount and that can only be achieved with a strong and valued workforce.

“Social workers’ skills and interventions keep people safe from harm and change lives. But there simply aren’t enough of them to deal with increasing demand. 

“New recruits and experienced workers are at breaking point and are leaving the profession in their droves.”

She called on ministers to “take these findings seriously” and provide more funding.


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