Thursday, 12 August 2010

Unmanageable Caseloads

Community Care today reports the findings of a recent poll of child protection social workers. It found that:

  • 40% regarded their caseload as unmanageable
  • 16% said it was totally unmanageable
  • 75% said they spent 70% of their time on administration work
  • 84% said they often had to work overtime to get the job done

We keep hearing the same thing about workloads from a number of different sources. And that 70%-80% figure for the amount of time devoted to administration now seems to be well established.

The Integrated Children’s System (ICS) is one important factor in this sad story. Rather than supporting the natural business and professional processes that are necessary to do the job, it imposes fixed and unrealistic expectations which people have to meet in addition to doing the ‘day job”.

It’s been a bit quiet on the ICS front of late. It’s not good enough simply to try to make it more user-friendly. There is a need to go back to square one and design a system that actually simplifies the administration child protection social workers have to do. That will give them more time to work with families and to make important decisions.