Social workers need clear support to handle stress and workload

UNISON welcomes report from University of East Anglia on ’emotional intelligence and burnout’ in child and family social work

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Key workers looking after the welfare of children and families lack the support to deal with the amount of cases they have to handle, warns UNISON, as new academic research backs the call.

National officer Matthew Egan welcomed a report from the University of East Anglia, which says realistic workloads and continuous emotional support are essential for social workers to do their jobs and manage stress.

The research findings were presented at a university conference on children and families ain London yesterday and Mr Egan commented: “This study reflects what UNISON’s social worker members have been saying for years.

“Children and family social workers are all too often facing caseloads that are far too high and many do not have the necessary levels of support to help them with their extremely demanding roles.”

And with the government planning new legislation on the issue, he added: “The study also emphasises how the government’s new Children and Social Work Bill will not deliver, because it fails to address any of the fundamental issues highlighted.

“It will do nothing to tackle caseload levels or address the lack of support being provided to social workers at councils which have been seen devastating budget cuts.”

The report follows three years of research led by Dr Laura Biggart of the UEA Centre for Research on Children and Families.