The aim of this landmark longitudinal study is to collect robust evidence on recruitment, retention and progression in local authority child and family social work across England, over a five year period from 2018 to 2022. This will help policy makers and employers to establish a much stronger understanding of recruitment, career pathways, and the factors influencing job satisfaction and decisions to leave the sector.

This work is being carried out on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) by IFF Research alongside academics at Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford. It is supported by an expert advisory group, including representatives from the social work sector.

Longitudinal Study of Child and Family Social Workers – Wave 5 results

Reports of findings from previous waves of the research can be found here. The summary findings from the fourth wave are shown in the infographic below.


What will taking part involve?

Participants will be invited to take part in a short online survey in Autumn 2022.

For those who completed the survey in the Wave 4 (September 2021 – January 2022, as well as some who completed the year before that), the final survey will take approximately 10 minutes. For new ASYE social workers, who are taking the survey for the first time, it will take approximately 20 minutes. Participants will be able to save their answers should they wish to complete it in stages.

Participants will initially be invited to take part in the survey via email. For those who do not take part online, and for whom we have a telephone number, IFF will follow up with a telephone call to invite them to complete the survey.

A small number of survey respondents who indicate willingness to take part in a qualitative follow up interview will be contacted for this purpose.

How will the data be used/reported?

The data is analysed each year and a report will be published annually on the website.

The research findings will be used to help policy makers and employers to establish a much stronger understanding of child and family social workers’ recruitment and retention, career pathways, choices and decisions.

Who to contact?

For any questions regarding the research or how to complete the questionnaire, please email the project team at IFF Research on or call Shannon Earl or Sophia Jouahri at IFF Research on 020 7250 3035.