Bring in a Legal Cap of 12 on children's social work cases.

Bring in a Legal Cap of 12 on children's social work cases.

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Why this petition matters

Started by Dennis William

In 2021 two tragic child deaths of children known to Children Services shocked the nation. Many of us in and out of the social work profession have been deeply saddened by these deaths and will have spent a long time thinking about what can be done to prevent these sorts of tragedies ever happening again. 

My idea is a simple one, but one that could have far reaching positive consequences for our most vulnerable children -

A Legal Cap of 12 on Statutory Children's Social Work case loads preventing each Social Worker from holding any more than 12 children on their case load at any time. This could be the single most effective and simplest Law the government could introduce to drastically reduce the chances of further unecessary child deaths.

I am writing this petition from my point of view as a current practicing children's social worker. I have in my time as a Social Worker and a Senior Social Worker seen the number of children on my case load vary from 5+ to 40+. I have worked numerous different teams within frontline work. I can from experience confidently say that any more than 12 children on my caseload, regardless of the team, prevents the job being done properly.

More than 12 children and important tasks for children start to get delayed so I can prioritize the higher risk cases. More than 12 means vast amounts of unpaid overtime and weekends worked just to try and keep up with the workload. More than 12 means burnout, emotional fatigue, and reduced effectiveness. 

The cases of our most vulnerable children in society require practitioners who are emotionally well and able to give the situation their full attention and focus. It is simply unrealistic to imagine a social worker to do this when they are juggling more than 12 children at one time. 

Unfortunately for the government, this Legal Cap of 12 would mean that we would need to increase the number of social workers quickly. The government would need to increase the budgets for Local Authorities drastically. We know that no government likes spending money, but if they are serious about supporting our most vulnerable children and preventing future child deaths then they will have to invest properly. 

If a member of Government wishes to dispute this figure of 12, then I suggest some qualitative research to investigate this and that they come and spend a week with a front line Children's Social Worker to see for themselves the complexity, emotional stress, and high workload of some of our hard working public servants before they dismiss the idea.



603 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!