Review of conditions for social workers in Wolverhampton
The wellbeing and case loads of social workers in Wolverhampton is set to undergo an annual review to ensure the city has a “healthy and happy” workforce.
Every year Wolverhampton Council carries out a full social work assessment as part of reviewing its adult services, and then addressing any areas identified as needing improvement.
A national framework to help employers assess the ‘health’ of their organisation has now been put in place which lists five key areas to identify.
These are: effective workload management; pro-active workflow management; having the right tools for the job; a healthy workplace and effective service delivery.
In a report to the adults and safer city scrutiny panel, the council’s principal social worker Louise Haughton said: “All our registered social workers were invited to complete an online survey, which was distributed to 118 registered adult social work staff.
“The findings indicate that while caseloads for full-time social workers have increased slightly, there continues to be a reasonable average. It is important to acknowledge however, that it is not just the number of cases that are important when considering caseloads, but also the complexity of each situation.
“This is something that is always monitored during supervision along with the the skills and experience of each individual worker.
“However, what we have noticed this year is that there has been an increase in the number of social workers who said their caseloads were not manageable, and there has also been a rise in the number saying they are just about managing,” she added.
“In contrast, none of our part-time social workers said their caseloads were not manageable, which is a positive change compared to last year when 20 per cent said this was the case.”
The survey also revealed that there are less full-time social workers in the city working between 38-47 hours compared to last year. It also noted that the number of workers who never, rarely or occasionally felt stressed was 55 per cent, which was also down on last year.
“We have seen an increase in the number of social workers this year saying they were more easily able to get the support they needed to make an important decision, with 76 per cent agreeing compared to 67 per cent last year,” said Ms Haughton.
“It’s also interesting to note that there has been an increase in the average number of hours social workers are spending working directly with people and families. They now spend an average of just over 14 hours a week compared to the last recorded average of ten hours.
“We have noticed that there continues to be a strong sense of pride about working for the City of Wolverhampton Council (CWC). Around 66 per cent of people feel enthusiastic about their job, which is similar to last year. Only nine per cent of the workforce disagreed with this statement.”
When asked what they would change about their job if they could, the most common answers given by social workers in the city were smaller workloads, less administration/paperwork and being able to spend more time with people.