Setting the Bar 2 : Supplementary Focus Group Report

Miller, Emma (2022) Setting the Bar 2 : Supplementary Focus Group Report. Social Work Scotland, Edinburgh. (

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The Setting the Bar project aimed to establish an evidence-based indicative caseload limit for social work staff in Scotland and consider how this might-be used. The project included a policy and legislative context analysis, Rapid Evidence Assessment around caseloads and workloads more broadly, and a bespoke survey of Scotland’s public sector social work staff, generating 1588 responses (more than a quarter of the workforce). The Setting the Bar (STB) report was published on 1 st June 2022, advancing an indicative caseload limit to help inform workforce planning and capacity considerations1 . In so doing, it stressed the caveats surrounding the use of caseload limits, particularly at an operational level, and highlighted a series of wider issues and questions about the current state of social work in Scotland that must also be addressed. Since the report’s publication, conversations have continued with a wide variety of stakeholders. These conversations underscored the salience of the conclusion that, alongside more manageable caseloads, a stronger voice for social work is needed if staff are to feel valued and able to improve outcomes for people, and the profession is to be better understood. Consistent with this, further indepth work with social work staff was carried out to explore some of the key questions that arose from the Setting the Bar survey, particularly regarding workload manageability and staff wellbeing. This supplementary focus group report presents the findings.