The Northern Ireland Association of Social Workers (NIASW) has today published its priorities for the forthcoming NI Assembly Mandate.
As pressures mount for social workers, NIASW is calling on each political party to make manifesto pledges supporting the creation of a workforce strategy to ensure staff workloads are manageable, and for the reduction of bureaucracy in social work practice.
Speaking about the Association’s key asks, Carolyn Ewart, NIASW Country Manager said: “The past number of years have seen challenges increase for social workers. Nine out of ten staff report working additional unpaid hours on a regular basis and half report at least one vacancy in their team. We are urging Assembly candidates to commit to support the creation of a workforce strategy for social work. The focus of the strategy must be to relieve the strain on social workers and to adequately resource services to guarantee service users’ needs continue to be met.
Speaking about NIASW’s other main priority Carolyn continued: “While it may sound mundane, the need to reduce bureaucracy in social work is critically important. The hours many staff spend daily on unnecessary and duplicative paperwork robs them of time that would be better spent engaging with the vulnerable individuals they support. We are therefore encouraging election candidates to back our call for the Department of Health to create a task force to tackle unnecessary bureaucracy.
Explaining NIASW’s hopes for the forthcoming Assembly Mandate Carolyn finished by saying: “progress has been made since the May 2016 election. The Health Minister and Health Committee were open to learn about the challenges faced by the social work profession and listen to NIASW’s recommendations for change. We look forward to building strong relationships with the next Health Minister and new MLAs, to continue to deliver positive change for the social work profession.”
Download NIASW's 2017 NI Assembly Election Manifesto Priorities.