Research highlights impending leadership crisis in the social care sector

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

Guardian research has shown professionals are reluctant to climb the career ladder with only one in six social workers wanting to be managers.

The latest survey by Guardian Social Lives found that only 15% of the 1,400 respondents planned to move into management roles in the next five years. Reasons for this were identified by an expert panel at an event to launch the survey findings and included the impact of austerity, fewer opportunities to work directly with service users and a “blame culture”.

The Guardian’s London headquarters also found that the spending cuts imposed on local authorities by government meant management had become very unattractive to frontline professionals.

Ruth Allen, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said: –

“People are seeing managers having to manage swingeing cuts in many areas. Although local authorities have been incredible in how they have managed to maintain services and innovate in very difficult circumstances, that management of dwindling resources to meet demand is going to look unattractive.”

England’s biggest employer of social workers, Cafcass, has invested in leadership development and training over the last eight years and it has had lasting benefits.

Christine Banim, Cafcass’s national service director, said: –

“It is about recognising those staff who have got the skills to go into more strategic leadership.” 

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