High staff turnover "shows pressures faced by child social workers" in Peterborough

High staff turnover "shows pressures faced by child social workers" in Peterborough
High staff turnover "shows pressures faced by child social workers" in Peterborough

Nearly a third of the of the social workers dealing with children and families in Peterborough left their jobs in the 12 months up to September last year, government figures reveal.

Statistics published by the Department for Education show that the turnover rate, that's the proportion of the full-time workforce that left, was 34.1% in these crucial roles protecting vulnerable children.

The largest group of leavers was highly experienced social workers with 10 to 20 years in the job. .

The British Association of Social Workers said that turnover rates were higher than in comparable professions and were an indication of the working environment and the daily pressures facing social workers.

The council employs the equivalent of 96 full-time staff, with some full-time posts shared by part-time workers. The figures show that last autumn there were 20 vacancies, 12 of these were being covered by agency workers.

Maris Stratulis, England Manager at the BASW, said, "It is imperative that we address the instability in the workforce and create safer working environments for social workers where their workloads are manageable. We also need to address other issues such as good career progression, effective support and supervision."

Social workers dealing directly with children and families make up just 49% of the full-time staff. The rest are in management roles or are newly qualified so not given responsibility for cases.

The average caseload for each full time social worker dealing directly with cases was 16.6, which is slightly below the average rate for England of 17.8 cases.

The BASW said that caseload numbers failed to show the full picture as they didn't take account of the complexity of some cases where multiple children from the same family might be living in different locations with different care solutions but would be the responsibility of a single case holder.

Ms Stratulis said: "The pressures on children's social workers are at times untenable as they are given unmanageable caseloads, work well over their hours and inevitably carry the stress of something going wrong on their caseload. We know only too well that the stakes are very high."