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Relationships Matter - analysis of complaints about social workers

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A research project which analysed complaints about social workers made to the Social Care Council and Patient and Client Council has been formally launched in a report entitled: ‘Relationships Matter’. Jointly commissioned by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, the British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland and the Patient and Client Council, the research project was undertaken by School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work academic Dr David Hayes.  

The report highlighted that the vast majority of complaints are not about decisions or actions taken by social workers but about relational factors. It stressed the importance of relationships between service users/carers and social workers in Family and Child Care work. 

Author of the report, Davy Hayes, said: ‘Relationships are really important in social work practice but they are not necessarily easy. Both parties to the relationship, social workers and service users, require support. Social workers must be supported to devote the necessary time, and to develop the skills and qualities required to build relationships in challenging circumstances and contested areas of practice. Service users equally need to be supported in terms of their understanding of social work processes and in having access to independent sources of advice and advocacy.’

More information about the launch and access to the report are available at