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Average Number of Cases Per Social Worker in the Past Five Years

Type: Parliamentary Questions

Topic(s): Social Service Agencies & Partners, Social Service Professionals

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang asked the Minister for Social and Family Development for each year in the past five years, among social workers at Family Service Centres whose duties do not include supervising other social workers, what are the average 25th percentile, 50th percentile and 75th percentile numbers of cases per social worker.

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang asked the Minister for Social and Family Development what is the rationale for changing the Family Service Centre (FSC) funding system from a tiered system to one based on the exact number of cases handled by each FSC.

Combined Answer

1. Social workers in Family Service Centres (FSCs) partner individuals and families to address their social needs. In the past five years (FY2016 to FY2020), the FSCs served an average of 350 clients each per year, with an average of 22 cases per social worker. Caseloads vary across FSCs, depending on factors such as the profile of the community served and the manpower situation in each FSC.

2. MSF does not have readily available data on the number of cases managed by each social worker with or without supervisory duties. The FSCs have autonomy on how they distribute cases. MSF maintains a close watch over the total caseload and overall manpower situation of the FSCs on an ongoing basis. The Ministry engages FSCs regularly to understand their situations and challenges, especially those with higher caseloads or higher staff turnover and works with them on possible solutions such as hiring more social workers and attending to staff development.

3. MSF provides funding to the FSCs based on their caseloads. Before FY2018, MSF funding was disbursed in blocks and did not take into account the risks and complexity of each case. Since FY2018, to better tailor funding to the resourcing needs of the FSCs, MSF funds FSCs based on the actual number of cases managed, with higher funding given to cases with higher risks and complexity. This revised funding approach more precisely meets the resourcing needs of the FSCs. Based on the resourcing provided, the FSCs have the flexibility to hire staff to match their case mix and client risk profile.