Social workers for children and families

Published

Contents
  1. 1. Main facts and figures
  2. 2. By ethnicity
  3. 3. Methodology
  4. 4. Data sources
  5. 5. Download the data

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2016/17, there were 30,670 children and family social workers employed by local authorities in England, and ethnicity was known for 82% of them
  • of those whose ethnicity was known, just under three-quarters (73.1%) were White British – around 18,420 social workers
  • 10.6% came from the broad Black ethnic group (which includes people from Black Caribbean, Black African and Other Black backgrounds)
  • 5.3% came from the Other White ethnic group, the highest percentage for any specific ethnic group after White British
  • in the 2011 Census, 78.5% of the working age population in England (people aged 16 to 64 years) identified as White British, 3.6% as Black, and 5.6% as Other White
Things you need to know

Data on individual social workers and their ethnicity has only been collected since 2016/17 (the year ending 30 September 2017), and these statistics are published as experimental statistics.

Comparable data from previous years is not available. Ethnicity was collected on a voluntary basis in 2015/16, but data was only provided by 21 out of 152 local authorities.

The percentages shown here are calculated using the total number of social workers who reported their ethnicity. In 2016/17, 82% of children and family social workers reported their ethnicity (25,200 social workers, out of 30,670).

The numbers shown here are based on a headcount – the total number of children and family social workers, regardless of whether they worked part-time or full-time. Full-time equivalent numbers can be found in the Children’s social work workforce 2017, although they are not broken down by ethnicity.

Working age population figures for England (for people aged 16 to 64 years) are taken from the 2011 Census.

What the data measures

The data shows the number of social workers working in children and family services, and the percentage of the workforce from each ethnic group.

The data comes from Children's social work workforce 2017, published by the Department for Education. It includes children and family social workers employed by all local authorities in England.

Children and family social workers are social workers registered with the Health and Care Professional Council (HCPC) and working in a local authority with children and families.

The ethnic categories used in this data

The ethnic categories used in this data have been grouped following the 2001 Census categories.

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Any Other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any Other Black/African/Caribbean background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any Other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background

White:

  • English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
  • Irish
  • Any Other White background

Other ethnic group:

  • Chinese
  • Any Other ethnic group

2. By ethnicity

Percentage and number of children and family social workers by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number
All 100.0 30,670
Asian 5.2 1,300
Bangladeshi 0.6 140
Indian 2.6 660
Pakistani 1.3 330
Asian other 0.7 170
Black 10.6 2,670
Black African 4.4 1,100
Black Caribbean 4.5 1,130
Black other 1.7 440
Chinese and other 1.1 280
Chinese 0.1 30
Any other 1.0 250
Mixed 3.1 780
Mixed White/Asian 0.5 130
Mixed White/Black African 0.6 140
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 1.2 290
Mixed other 0.9 220
White 80.0 20,160
White British 73.1 18,420
White Irish 1.6 390
White other 5.3 1,350
Unknown N/A* 5,470

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016/17, there were 30,670 child and family social workers employed by local authorities in England, and ethnicity was known for 82% of them
  • of those whose ethnicity was known, just under three-quarters (73.1%) were White British – around 18,420 social workers
  • 10.6% of children and family social workers whose ethnicity was known came from the broad Black ethnic group – 4.5% were Black Caribbean (1,130 social workers), 4.4% were Black African (1,100 social workers), and 1.7% were from Other Black ethnic groups (440 social workers)
  • 5.3% of children and family social workers came from the Other White group (1,350 social workers), the highest percentage for any specific ethnic group after White British
  • 0.1% of children and family social workers came from the Chinese ethnic group, the smallest percentage out of all specific ethnic groups, followed by the Mixed White and Asian group (0.5%)
  • in the 2011 Census, 78.5% of the working age population in England (people aged 16 to 64 years) identified as White British, 3.6% as Black, and 5.6% as Other White

3. Methodology

Local authorities submit their data and carry out consistency checks. The Department for Education carries out extra checks to compare new data to data received previously.

The data collection covers all children and family social workers employed by the local authorities in England. In 2016/17, local authorities provided data about individual social workers, rather than combined data about their workforce as in previous years.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Values of 1 or 2, and any associated percentages, are replaced with an ‘x’. Some secondary suppression may also occur to prevent any suppressed values being disclosed.

Rounding

Numbers of social workers are rounded to the nearest 10 to prevent any individuals being identified. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

Characteristics of children in need: 2016 to 2017.

Quality and methodology information

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Experimental statistics

Publisher

Department for Education

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The figures are used to monitor the diversity of the children’s social work workforce in order to understand how the workforce reflects the community it serves. As further data is collected this information would, for example, help determine whether government or employers should take action to address any inequalities in workforce progression.

5. Download the data

Children and family social workers - Spreadsheet (csv) 3 KB

This file includes the following variables: Measure, Ethnicity, Ethnicity_type, Value, Value_type, Count, Value Note