Nine out of ten social workers fear that government cuts to social care are putting vulnerable children's lives at risk according to a British Association of Social Workers survey.

In light of the results of their survey of over 1,000 social workers, BASW issued a stark warning about the "dire state" of the sector in the UK with 88 per cent saying lives were at risk if cuts continued.

BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson said: "The survey statistics are damning, and the hundreds of comments we have had from social workers are deeply alarming.

"The government pledged in 2010 to protect frontline social workers, yet by axing support staff they have turned social workers into glorified typists.

"We cannot afford to wait any longer for urgent action from government. Lives that could be helped will be neglected, and lives that could quite literally be saved, will be lost, unless the response is swift and total."

Over three quarters of those asked were concerned about unmanageable caseloads while 65 per cent were concerned about use of unqualified staff and 46 per cent said they were afraid to speak out for fear of repercussions.

Recent scandals, particularly the death of 'Baby P' in 2007, prompted the Government to make pledges to transform social services but the BASW claim that despite those pledges, cuts had increased caseloads and stopped social workers from spending time with vulnerable children and adults.

The Association has written to Education Secretary Michael Gove and the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Social Work urging them to "take immediate measures" to try to reduce risks to vulnerable children and adults.

Dawson concluded: "Social work services were never beneficiaries of investment in the way other areas of public service were during the so called 'boom years', yet now they find themselves facing cuts every bit as deep as those in other sectors.

"We didn't have the good times, and now we're facing even worse times. We simply cannot go on like this."

Posted 17/05/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com