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Super Stretch Case-loads

March 15, 2010

Loughborough University have produced a study called “Calculating the cost and capacity implications for local authorities implementing the Laming (2009) recommendations”.

In that study the authors discovered the following amazing fact:

Frontline staff and managers in the focus groups emphasised that they cannot simply turn cases away because they have ‘reached’ capacity.

Now, just how is that possible? How is it possible to handle yet more cases when already fully stretched? Can a heart surgeon with a full operating list just fit a few more in? Would you want to be one of the ‘fitted in’? Can the driver of a fully loaded lorry take on a few more tons? Would you like to be travelling on the same road as he?

However, this second quote from the report appears to suggest the answer.

Findings from the frontline worker survey also revealed that there were considerable variations in case-loads, ranging from 9 to 24 children or 4 to 29 families per intake and referral team social worker. Analysis revealed that there was not a correlation between case-loads and number of years of post-qualifying experience. Newly qualified workers, with less than one year post-qualifying experience, reported both the lowest case-loads and some of the highest.

In other words, social workers have absolutely no idea what their case-load capacity actually is.

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