One Deal for Social Work Campaign Launched by SASW
Most social workers are employed by local authorities. In the collective bargaining process for pay and conditions the role is part of a job family together with other local authority workers. Other comparable local authority employed professions, such as those in education, have separate and nationally agreed pay and conditions.
Scotland doesn’t have enough social workers to meet the needs of the people of Scotland. As a result, it is not uncommon to have several thousand pounds difference in basic grade salaries between local authorities, as they battle to recruit and retain social workers in a complex and nonsensical pay system. As a result, we have tides of recruitment and induction, influenced by the largest authorities, that moves the existing workforce around rather than solving an ever-increasing recruitment crisis, which ultimately affects the people we support.
Diversity of pay is not the only issue however, unsafe work and caseloads that are weighted to statutory intervention, protection and crisis work coupled with a lack of time for development and training are driving burnout in social workers who are leaving the profession in droves. One in four social workers who graduate don’t make it six years in the job. To address this, we propose a set of nationally agreed terms and conditions that will allow social workers to practice safely and thrive, while keeping the people of Scotland safe and supporting those most in need.
A national approach to pay and conditions should include:
- A dedicated local government job family for pay and conditions for social work.
- A consistent framework for pay that allows for rural weightings and short-term initiatives in areas that are hard to recruit to.
- Pay recognition/pay enhancements for additional qualifications and responsibilities.
- A national maximum caseload with the expectation that cases are equally split between early support/standard/complex.
- A reduction in administrative burden to enable social workers to spend more time with people.
- Reflective supervision from a qualified social worker every 6 weeks as a minimum, distinct from case supervision provided by a line manager.
- At least 5 days/35hrs formal training each year.
- Flexible working that meets the needs of social workers and our communities.
- Paid overtime if social workers need to do more than their contracted hours, in order to keep people safe.
“Since proposals for the National Care Service were first announced, our members have been clear that social work can’t go on as is. Social workers need fair pay and the time and conditions to practice their profession as they are trained to, in a safe manner to support and protect people in Scotland.
“Our asks are not a simple answer to the crisis the profession is in, but we believe that without addressing these basic factors, it will be impossible to steer social work into a stable and sustainable future.”AttributionAlison Bavidge, National Director, SASW