Two of the six councils that will pilot social work practices are only seeking bids from registered social workers.
Staffordshire Council is only looking for bids from its own staff while Hillingdon Council in west London is seeking bids from external social workers as well.
Both councils want to contract out field social work for looked-after children to practitioners in social enterprises, rather than pre-existing voluntary or independent providers.
Debbie Haith, head of safeguarding at Hillingdon, said the “professional practice model” would benefit local authority social workers looking for more direct contact with children and families.
“There may be other responsibilities [in local authorities] which mean you’re not always focused on a group of children and young people because of the range of services that you have to provide,” she said.
Richard Hancock, project manager at Staffordshire, said: “We are fully staffed in our authority, and wanted to give social workers the opportunity to develop innovative and lateral thinking that will increase job satisfaction and improve results for children.”
The other pilots are in Blackburn, Kent, Liverpool and Sandwell. Tenders are open in Hillingdon and Kent and are due to open in the other councils over the next two months. Pilots are due to start in the autumn.
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