Breaking News: Urgent: Mental Health Social Work Crisis increases to 66%
“66% of Mental Health social workers in post since 1 January 2023 will have left Barnet Council within the space of last 12 months”.
Day 76 day since UNISON issued Barnet Council with official notice of strike action for Mental Health social workers working across three acute Mental Health social work teams.
To date there has been no approach from Barnet Council to try and reach a resolution despite UNISON proposing several possible solutions.
Today, Barnet UNISON was informed that another one of our strikers had handed in their notice. This means that in the space of 11 months of 2023 16 social workers will have left the Mental Health Teams involved in this dispute.
What has alarmed our members has been the ‘macho approach’ to this dispute. Instead of seeking to find a way to resolve the escalating social work crisis management have taken a strategic approach which amounts to ‘burying their heads in the sand’ with the hope that it will all go away. The following statement was reported in Community Care Magazine 31 October 2023:
“In a statement to Community Care, Barnet’s cabinet member for adult social care, Paul Edwards, said that 30 of the 31 posts were already filled, by 26 permanent staff and four locums.”
The above statement implies that there are 31 social work posts across the 3 Mental Health Social Work Teams. This is incorrect there are in fact only 21 social work posts across the three social work teams which means that with the 14 staff already gone that represented 66% of the social workers in employment on 1 January 2023 had left the above teams before UNISON issued the strike notice on 1 September.
Another two more social workers have handed in their notice, meaning that 66% of the social workers in post since 1 January 2023.
The question UNISON has for Barnet Council is this:
“How many more social workers need to hand in their notice before you come to the negotiating table?”
The only people who lose are Mental Health service users living in the London Borough of Barnet where there is a 15-month waiting list.
The clock is ticking.