REPAIRING THE TRUST; Battle for Social Workers BIRMINGHAM Social Services Has Been in the Firing Line for Tragic Errors That Led to the Murder of Seven-Year-Old Toni-Ann Byfield. Just Days after a Damning Report into Failures by the Department, the Evening Mail's ALISON DAYANI Takes a Closer Look at the Daily Anguish and Workload Faced by City Social Workers on the Frontline of the Largest Social Services Department in Europe

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), May 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

REPAIRING THE TRUST; Battle for Social Workers BIRMINGHAM Social Services Has Been in the Firing Line for Tragic Errors That Led to the Murder of Seven-Year-Old Toni-Ann Byfield. Just Days after a Damning Report into Failures by the Department, the Evening Mail's ALISON DAYANI Takes a Closer Look at the Daily Anguish and Workload Faced by City Social Workers on the Frontline of the Largest Social Services Department in Europe


Byline: ALISON DAYANI

SOCIAL worker Satinder Gautam is a rare commodity in the profession, but not for his calm and trusting manner - but because he has been in the job for 14 years. The average burn-out time for a social worker in Birmingham is just 18 months.

But Satinder is eager to stress that it's 18 months of knowing you could be the difference between a child's life or death, a daily fear of being attacked in the supermarket by vengeful parents.

Or simply just the stress of having one of the most responsible jobs in the country.

'The most frightening thing that happened to me was when I was barricaded in an interview room with a man with an axe for four hours,' says Satinder, aged 38, who is based at the Silvermere Centre, Sheldon.

'We had removed his children because of chronic neglect and I had to use every skill I had to stay alive.

'But the threat of violence is an everyday thing for a social worker. People have lunged across court rooms at colleagues, spat at them or recognised them in the supermarket and become abusive. 'The influence of guns is growing, social problems are getting worse, especially with the influx of drugs, weapons, war. Social services is being forced to get cleverer and introduce more training on these wide issues.'

Satinder adds: 'It's no wonder the burn-out is between six and 18 months. …

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REPAIRING THE TRUST; Battle for Social Workers BIRMINGHAM Social Services Has Been in the Firing Line for Tragic Errors That Led to the Murder of Seven-Year-Old Toni-Ann Byfield. Just Days after a Damning Report into Failures by the Department, the Evening Mail's ALISON DAYANI Takes a Closer Look at the Daily Anguish and Workload Faced by City Social Workers on the Frontline of the Largest Social Services Department in Europe
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