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Setting the Bar for Social Work in Scotland

Over the last few years, Social Work Scotland’s members have been reporting increasing concerns that social work workloads have become unmanageable, and that social workers in local authorities and health and social care partnerships are struggling under the weight of their caseloads. This led them to ask: can our workforce realistically work with people in the way that they’re trained to do, and in line with the aims of Scotland’s legislation and policy? How much work is too much for social workers? Where’s the line? The picture that emerges from the ‘Setting the Bar’ research is serious, and demands attention now. It describes an ageing workforce - some 19% are reaching retirement age - and a staff group who are struggling with administrative burdens, fearful of making mistakes, and living with the moral distress of having to work in a way which doesn’t align with their professional values. One in 4 social workers graduating doesn’t make it to 6 years in the job.

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