Social workers reveal extent of social care problems

A new survey by Community Care Magazine has revealed just how threadbare the social care safety net in England has become.

Supported by the Care and Support Alliance, the survey provides an insight into the frustrations experienced by social workers on a day to day basis. The 469 respondents highlight the difficulty of maintaining a struggling system which is in desperate need of further funding.

According to the alliance, 68 per cent of respondents felt expected to reduce care packages because of cost pressures in their local authority, while 37 per cent conceded that they couldn’t get people the care they needed. the top three concerns and roots of issues were changing needs, budget pressures and low and restricted local authority support.

Additionally, 28 per cent of respondents reported that they were not confident that the reduced care packages they had to administer were ‘fair and safe’, with a further 81 per cent admitting that family and friends are expected to provide additional support to ‘fill’ the gaps in the care system.

Caroline Abrahams, co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance, said: “This is the first time that England’s social workers have spoken out in such numbers, blowing the whistle on just what a drastic state of decline social care is now in. The social workers’ descriptions of what the cuts mean in practice for disabled people, those with mental health problems and older people make for tough reading and it is impossible not to be angered and saddened by them.

“It is though important to remember that while social care is a service administered by local authorities, ‘the buck stops with ministers’ and the suffering that vulnerable people are experiencing today is the direct result of the decisions successive governments have made to underfund social care. The extra £2 billion this government has pledged will certainly help but the funding gap is far larger, so the situation is certain to worsen without further action.”

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