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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/12271

Title: How social workers spend their time in frontline children’s social care in England
Authors: Holmes, Lisa
McDermid, Samantha
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Citation: HOLMES, L. and MCDERMID, S., 2013. How social workers spend their time in frontline children’s social care in England. Journal of Childrens Services, 8 (2), pp.123 - 133.
Abstract: Purpose - In England in recent years, concerns have been raised about the proportion of time social workers and other frontline children’s social care practitioners spend carrying out desk based, administrative activities. This article reports time use activity data from front line workers on the amount of time spent on different activities to support children in need (as defined by the 1989 Children Act). Design/methodology/approach - The data were collected from a range of sources including focus groups, event records (diaries completed by practitioners) and online surveys. Findings - The proportion of time spent on direst and indirect activities varies according to the types of process. Those associated with ongoing support have the highest proportion of direct activity, whereas those associated with decision making, especially if a one-off activity, have the highest proportion of administrative activities. The greater the needs of the child, the more direct and indirect support was given, but there was some variation across social work teams. But the activities of social workers are interconnected making it difficult to conclusive evidence, but the concern about the imbalance between direct work and administrative tasks seems justified. Research limitations/implications - The findings highlight the complexity of exploring how social workers spend their time and how the proportion of time spent on direct and indirect activities is determined by the needs and circumstances of children and their families. Practical implications - Wider contextual practice issues are also explored including the recent increases in referrals to children’s social care and the use of electronic recording systems. Originality/value - The breakdown of the activities using the approach outlined in the article increases transparency in understanding how social workers spend their time.
Description: This article was published in the Journal of Children's Services [© Emerald Group Publishing Limited] and the definitive version is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JCS-03-2013-0005
Version: Accepted for publication
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/12271
Publisher Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JCS-03-2013-0005
ISSN: 1746-6660
Appears in Collections:Published Articles (Social Sciences)

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