Social workers for children and families

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • there were 31,720 children and family social workers employed by local authorities in England as at 30 September 2018, and ethnicity was known for 83% of them
  • 71.7% of children and family social workers were White British (out of those whose ethnicity was known)
  • 11.1% were Black (including people from Black Caribbean, Black African and Other Black backgrounds)
  • 4.9% came from the Other White ethnic group, the highest percentage for any specific ethnic group after White British
  • for comparison, 78.5% of working age people in England identified as White British in the 2011 Census, 3.6% as Black, and 5.6% as Other White
  • the percentage of children and family social workers from each ethnic group was similar to last year
Things you need to know

It has been compulsory for local authorities to collect ethnicity data about the social workers they employ since 2016/17.

Comparable data for earlier years is not available. For example, only 21 out of 152 local authorities provided data in 2015/16 when it wasn’t compulsory.

The percentages shown here are based on the total number of social workers who reported their ethnicity. In 2018, 83% reported their ethnicity (26,280 social workers, out of 31,720), compared with 82% in 2016/17.

The data is based on the total number of children and family social workers, regardless of whether they worked part-time or full-time. This is sometimes called a ‘headcount’.

You can find 'full-time equivalent' (FTE) data in Table 1a in the Children's social work workforce 2018 statistical publication. Information on ethnicity is only available for the 5 broad ethnic groups at national level.

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

Statistics on children and family social workers are published as experimental statistics.

What the data measures

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

The data is from the Department for Education's 'Children's social work workforce 2018' statistics. It includes children and family social workers employed by all local authorities in England.

The data counts children and family social workers who are both:

  • registered with the Health and Care Professional Council
  • working in a local authority with children and families
The ethnic categories used in this data

The ethnic categories are those used in the 2001 Census.

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 N/A* 31,720
Asian 5.3 1,400
Bangladeshi 0.6 150
Indian 2.5 660
Pakistani 1.4 380
Asian other 0.8 210
Black 11.1 2,920
Black African 4.8 1,270
Black Caribbean 4.4 1,140
Black other 1.9 500
Mixed 3.3 880
Mixed White/Asian 0.6 150
Mixed White/Black African 0.5 140
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 1.3 340
Mixed other 0.9 250
White 79.0 20,770
White British 71.7 18,830
White Irish 2.5 650
White other 4.9 1,290
Other including Chinese 1.2 310
Chinese 0.1 40
Any other 1.1 280

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Social workers for children and families By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • there were 31,720 child and family social workers employed by local authorities in England as at 30 September 2018, and ethnicity was known for 83% of them
  • 71.7% of child and family social workers were White British (where ethnicity was known)
  • 11.1% were Black, with 4.8% from the Black African ethnic group, 4.4% Black Caribbean and 1.9% Other Black
  • 4.9% were from the Other White group, the highest percentage for any specific ethnic group after White British
  • 0.1% were from the Chinese ethnic group, the smallest percentage out of all specific ethnic groups
  • for comparison, 78.5% of working age people in England identified as White British in the 2011 Census, 3.6% as Black, 5.6% as Other White, and 0.9% as Chinese

3. Methodology

Local authorities submit their data to the Department for Education (DfE) through the secure COLLECT (collections online for learning, education, children and teachers) data collection system.

DfE carries out quality and consistency checks including:

  • those that are built into the data collection system
  • additional credibility checks, which make comparisons between the data collected for the current year and the previous year

The data collection covers all children and family social workers employed by local authorities in England.

Local authorities provided data about individual social workers for the first time in 2017. Before this, they had provided data about their workforce as a whole.

The numbers shown here are based on a headcount at 30 September 2018. This is the total number of children and family social workers, regardless of whether they worked part-time or full-time.

Rounding

Numbers of social workers are rounded to the nearest 10. Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

Characteristics of children in need: 2017 to 2018.

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.

5. Download the data