Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Scotland must recognise the poor state of social work, says UNISON
The reality for social work workforce in Scotland is they have bigger caseloads, shorter timescales, and greater demands leading to greater risks. Social work simply cannot deliver the quality of services that they are committed to. And social workers are concerned about making mistakes and misjudgements.
Stephen Smellie, UNISON Scotland’s convener of social work committee said, ‘The social work and social care workforce in Scotland is on the edge. Social workers may not know the details of government economic policies but they understand the impact of austerity on the lives of those we support. Frontline social workers deliver care and support to some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland. We see everyday that – whoever is to blame for austerity – it is our service users who are paying the price.’
The pressure to reduce budgets, whilst at the same time trying to protect services, has led to councils salami slicing the workforce, support services, and training budgets. Local services have been asked to take on higher risk cases without additional resources.
Stephen said, ‘Social work managers are being asked to produce more care hours out of existing staff. The voluntary and private sector contractors have been squeezed to deliver more for less. The workforce is getting more tired and stressed out and concern about the risks of errors or misjudgements is greater. Social work is on the edge.’
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