Social workers are too often “poorly trained and unfit for frontline practice”, the Department for Education (DfE) has claimed.
The Department made the claim in a memorandum issued to the parliamentary Education Committee. The MPs immediately launched an enquiry into potential reforms to social worker training, calling for written comments on the memorandum from interested parties.
Committee chair Neil Carmichael, who is Tory MP for Stroud in Gloucestershire, explained:
“We want to hear the views of social work professionals and others on the government’s actions on this matter, as well as on the other areas set out in this memorandum.”
The DfE statement outlined a number of issues which it claimed were “key problems”. It believes social workers at times “operate in a spirit of defensive, process-oriented compliance” – i.e. that social workers focus too much on ticking boxes and avoiding potential problems. There is too little confident leadership and innovation among many social worker teams, the Department claims, and quality of work can suffer due to the demands of the job.
“The workforce itself operates in pressured circumstances with sometimes low morale, vacancy and turnover rates that are higher than local government averages and a reliance on temporary staff.”
Read the memorandum here.
The deadline for submissions to the Committee’s enquiry is 4 March.