Developing Together Social Work  Teaching Partnership

The Standards for Employers of Social Workers: Social Work Health Check Report


The Local Government Association (LGA) employer standards for social workers were last refreshed in 2020. The 8 standards set out the key components of whole systems approaches, and employers can use them, along with an appropriate supervision framework, to help develop a working environment where social work practice and social workers can flourish, in turn supporting recruitment and retention.

On 23 November 2020, the LGA launched the Social Work Health Check on behalf of the social work profession. It only took 15 minutes to complete and provided each organisation with a report, including key findings and drivers. This year’s national health check report is now available to read online. Please download the final report to read through the substantive findings and research that have been collated.

More about the Social Work Health Check Survey

The survey was intended to help support and deliver effective social work and was a key element of the refreshed standards for employers. Carrying out an annual health check also means that issues can be identified and addressed in the right way. It allows social workers to feel that they are listened to, and that the employer is pro-active in tackling the issues that affect them at the front-line, especially during COVID 19 times.

This year, the survey was designed to be simpler for Principal Social Workers (PSWs) to implement in their localities. It also included COVID specific questions to assess the wellbeing of social workers.

In total, 133 councils and 10 non-council organisations took part, including the majority of councils in the Developing Together Social Work Teaching Partnership, and all have received bespoke results for their organisation. 

The report examines a number of critical questions about the experiences of Social Workers in England:

  1. How well do employers deliver the refreshed standards?
  2. How do employees perceive their working environment?
  3. What factors influence employees to remain engaged with their work and minded to stay with their organisations?

Research Question 1

Overall, the delivery of the 8 standards was perceived favourably (with the exception of CPD).

The highest rated standard overall was ‘Strong and Clear Social Work Framework’.

The lowest rated standard overall was ‘CPD – Continuous Professional Development’.

Research Question 2

The top 3 survey items having the greatest impact on social worker contribution were:

Research Question 3

Top three survey items having biggest impact on social worker contribution were:

Next steps

Further analysis will be performed to identify with greater clarity and precision the respondents experiencing the most inspirational, and conversely the most challenging, work climates. This supplementary piece of work will be published later in March.

If you are the PSW from your organisation and want to register your interest in taking part in the next survey starting in September 2021, please email Please note only the organisational PSWs can register interest, so if you are a social worker then please pass this message on.