Standard 3 - Safe workloads and case allocation

This standard is about ensuring employees do not experience excessive workloads, resulting in unallocated cases and long waiting times for individuals.

Someone giving a helping hand to another

All employers should

  1. use a system which has been agreed jointly with social work practitioners and line managers to set transparent safe working levels in each service area and enhances more direct relationship-based practice
  2. ensure each social worker’s workload is regularly assessed, with the social worker, to take account of work complexity, individual worker capacity and time needed for supervision and CPD 
  3. ensure that cases are allocated transparently, with prior discussion with the individual social worker, and with due consideration to experience and existing caseloads
  4. ensure that a social worker’s professional judgment about workload capacity issues is respected in line with the requirements of their professional registration (Social Work England professional standards) which refer to the requirement for a social worker to declare to the appropriate authority anything that might affect their ability to carry out their role competently or may affect their fitness to practise
  5. take contingency action when workload demand exceeds staffing capacity and report regularly to strategic leaders about workload and capacity issues within services
  6. publish information about average caseloads for social workers within the organisation as part of the SW health check. 

Useful resources

Workload Management for Social Work

BASW: UK Supervision Policy


Social Work England Standards

Whistleblowing - UNISON Factsheet