Briefing 107 Save from Harm: A Survey of Social Work Staff

thumbnail of Bargaining Briefing – Damage Report Social Work Novemner 2019

This briefing gives an overview of Save From Harm: a survey of social work staff.  The survey looks at the impact of austerity on social work teams. The report highlights key issues for local bargain. The report can also be used during this month’s Grovember campaign.

UNISON surveyed staff working in a range of roles in social work teams across all of Scotland’s local authorities. The responses show that budget cuts are having a severe impact on staff. They are under enormous pressure due to staff shortages and growing demands for their services.

Key Findings

  • In 2016 Audit Scotland estimated that social work services needed a 16-21% increase in funding to cope with growing demand. The increased funding has not been provided
  • There are 176 fewer social workers and 605 fewer business support staff than last year
  • Local authorities are short 55 Mental Health Officers
  • 76% of respondents stated that their teams did not have enough staff
  • 82% stated that their workload had got heavier in the last few years
  • 89% of staff are working late and skipping breaks to keep on top of their workload
  • Two thirds of staff had experienced physical or verbal abuse at work
  • Only one third of those who had experienced abuse knew of a risk assessment following that abuse
  • One third describe morale in their teams as poor and a further 26% as very poor
  • Almost a third of respondents rated their stress as 9 or 10 on a scale of one to ten
  • 90% of respondents are considering leaving their jobs