IN none of the Hereford Times reports I’ve read regarding Herefordshire children’s services has there been any reference to the caseloads of Herefordshire’s children’s services caseworkers.

In 2009, in Community Care magazine, then billed as ‘the voice of social care’, Amy Taylor wrote: “Picture this scenario: it is Monday morning and you come in to find two files have been put on your desk containing two new cases. Your manager is off for the day and there has been no discussion with you before the work has been allocated. You already have more cases than the maximum officially recommended by your council and feel close to burn out. Sound familiar?”

She argued that this situation reflected the reality facing social workers in a number of departments in England.

Moving away from Herefordshire children’s services, 10 per cent of Herefordshire’s working age population is on Universal Credit. How many of those have dependant children, I don’t know.

What are your thoughts?

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Before the recent Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, UC caseworkers typically had caseloads of over 400 ‘live’ cases, with an additional 1,000 dormant cases. How much time can a UC ‘work coach’ devote to each case in a 35-hour week, and how much supervision will they get for all the cases they are loaded with?

And what recognition would the claimant get for their own 35 hours of ‘work-related activity’?

Government talks of ‘working from home’ as a ‘duty’. That can be very isolating and nonunionised. Sanctions can be further isolating, although more than 500,000 sanctions were delivered in the past year.

Secretaries of State bypass parliamentary debate using ‘statutory instruments’, and as Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey accepted no ‘duty of care’ for claimants she offloaded responsibility to “local councils, the social services, the doctors and other people.”

Are we witnessing “the help you need, when you need it,” or “the corporate demolition of the welfare state”?