Social workers will receive bonuses for helping looked-after children reach goals linked to educational attainment, stability of placements and finding jobs, in one of the government’s social work practice pilots.
Liverpool-based charity Personal Service Society, which launches one of the practices under contract from Liverpool Council in the autumn, will also offer high street vouchers and gym memberships to staff and reward children for their achievements.
Social work services will be outsourced for groups of 100-200 looked-after children in each of the six pilot areas. Kent Council has chosen young people’s charity Catch22 as its provider, while Hillingdon, Sandwell, Staffordshire and Blackburn with Darwen councils are recruiting groups of registered social workers to run the practices.
Funded from savings
PSS commercial director Paul Clitheroe said bonuses for staff could be funded from savings on placements in children’s homes.
“Research shows that those who have a stake in an organisation are more loyal and less likely to leave,” he said. “This is because they feel they don’t have to leave to improve their pay and conditions.”
PSS is recruiting a team of 12 professionals including seven social workers – with a caseload of about 17 each – two family support workers and a counsellor.
A consultant social worker will oversee spending, supervision, case allocation and professional development, with equivalent status to a partner in a GP surgery.
A practice manager will be responsible for day-to-day business and building partnerships with other agencies, with support from a receptionist.
In Kent, Catch22 will take over the cases of between 100 and 200 young people aged 16 and above. Experienced social workers will lead the multi-agency practice, which will also comprise professionals from mental health, Connexions, and housing.
Joyce Moseley, chief executive of Catch22, said: “We welcome the opportunity to pilot this scheme, which will be all about giving frontline workers more freedom to make decisions with the young people in their care.”
The government will make a decision about whether to implement social work practices nationwide in 2013.
- Read Mark Ivory’s blog, “Bonus culture arrives in social work”
- Vote in our online poll: Is it ever appropriate to operate a bonus system in social work?