Children’s teams split into ‘pods’ to increase contact

Nine councils are to trial new ways of working in children’s social work to cut bureaucracy, increase contact time and improve staff retention.

The Children’s Workforce Development Council’s Remodelling Social Work Project, launched last September, will also promote early intervention, particularly for children at risk of going into care.

Last week, the CWDC announced the first of 18 pilots in Bath and North East Somerset, Birmingham, North Tyneside, Rochdale, Shropshire, Somerset, Westminster, Tower Hamlets and the Wirral.

Each pilot has identified different ways to remodel social work.

In Somerset, social work teams will be divided into smaller “pods” which share case loads and tasks. Each team will include a team leader and three social workers to be supported by two social work assistants and two administrators.

Alison Davis, area manager in Somerset’s children and families services, said the support team members will “free people up” by playing a more active role in liaising with foster carers, families or schools so that social workers “can get out and do what they are best at doing”.

In Tower Hamlets, east London, a new “social worker coach” role will be created to enhance team development and learning.

Kamini Rambellas, head of children’s social care, said the coach, who will be an established practitioner, will share their know-how across the team and mentor newer staff to improve the outcomes for children and to address issues with recruiting experienced practitioners.

Rambellas aims to build “balanced teams” of eight permanent staff, of whom five will have more than two years’ post-qualified experience.

The CWDC project will run until March 2011, and there will be annual conferences analysing the results, the first of which will be next October.

Related articles

CWDC to pilot new working arrangements for staff

Essential information on the social care workforce

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Caroline Lovell

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