A recent report on behalf of the Social Worker’s Union and the British Association of Social Workers paints a bleak picture of the impact of years of austerity in terms of social workers’ working conditions, stress levels, morale and commitment to remaining in the profession. At the same time, a report by Action for Children argues that an estimated 140,000 children are not getting the support they need and that strengthening the statutory framework for early help would go a long way to meeting their needs. The Local Government Association (LGA) responds by saying that the Action for Children report rightly recognises the increased pressures facing local authorities when it comes to protecting vulnerable children, but that, as a result of funding cuts and huge increases in demand for services, the reality is that such services are now, in many areas, being pushed to breaking point. Whilst accepting that social workers in both children’s and adult services have been at the “sharp end” of austerity, and probably provide the clearest example of reduced resources having to cope with increased demand, many other local authority services would argue that they are in a similar position. But, with a government more or less exclusively focused on Brexit, it is hard to detect any realistic prospect of an early end to austerity (despite comments from some politicians to the contrary).
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