The impact of COVID-19 on social care and social work in the UK: A Scoping Review Protocol

Research output: Other contribution


Review question / Objective: What are the medium and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on practitioners and organisations providing social work and social care to adults in the UK?
Rationale: The pandemic has exerted adverse effects on staff morale and well-being, with sickness absence rises across the sector and increased difficulties in recruiting staff from agencies, despite a pre-COVID government recruitment campaign ( recruitment-care-campaign-launched-to-boost-workforce). Care home providers report extreme anxiety and distress, burnout and financial concerns (CQC, 2020).
These worsened during the proposed introduction of mandatory vaccination care home workers (Bell et al. 2021). Social care workers report a lack of support in terms of training and equipment, sleep disturbances and increasing levels of mental ill health (Pappa et al. 2020; Williamson et al. 2020; Donnelly et al. 2021). They also report experiencing conflicts in terms of caring for people with diverse needs (Greenberg et al. 2020). Some research suggests that workers experienced professional growth during the pandemic, but that this came at a cost to their own mental health (Billings et al. 2021). Other research reported increased team unity and more reflection on what mattered in life (Aughterson et al. 2021). One editorial claims that the pandemic created a reduction of bureaucracy and the emergence of more efficient ways of working in social care in Local Authorities
(Golightley & Holloway 2020). The evidence appears conflicting and frequently fails to separate health care and social care work, when the roles and structures of service delivery organisations are different. There is also a lack of differentiation in reporting on effects on the social care workforce in general, and specifically social workers and statutory social work.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputINPLASY
PublisherInternational Platform of Registered Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2022


  • social care
  • social work
  • COVID-19
  • workforce.

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of COVID-19 on social care and social work in the UK: A Scoping Review Protocol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this