Birmingham is a great city, famous for its dynamism, diversity and civic pride. In recent years, Birmingham’s reputation to deliver high quality social work support to its most disadvantaged children and families has not been so high. However, this is now changing. We have developed a new approach which puts direct relationship-based social work at the heart of our service for children and families.
A strong sense of purpose
We have developed an agreed vision and purpose statement about how we work with children and families. At the heart of this is our belief that good social work can help families make the changes necessary in order to care for their children well and meet their needs.
We support social workers in Birmingham to work openly with children and their families to bring about change, building on their strengths, so that parents are able to provide good parenting, firm boundaries and emotional warmth. We are committed to direct social work with families (not just assessment) to support children to remain within their family wherever possible.
We recognise that to bring about change and build resilience in families, who are often very disadvantaged, is difficult and challenging work requiring skilled and confident social workers who need to be supported by good leadership and management, supervision and learning opportunities.
Investing, supporting and leading
Although Birmingham faces budget restrictions, this year sees a £21.6M increase in resources to children’s social work. As well as this significant investment which will see the creation of some 80 new social work posts over the next two years, we are focused on improving support to social workers to improve practice in line with our vision above. As part of this improvement, we are recruiting a chief social work officer and four area principal social workers who will be instrumental to developing robust quality assurance systems and championing learning and support for social workers.
We are shaping a whole system for children and families from early help to child protection, from first contact to adoption. We are developing evidence based methodologies to underpin direct interventions and good assessment across the system. We are creating a culture of learning and accountability and a collaborative and motivating approach to supporting social workers.
The cornerstones of a learning culture that enable good social work practice are:
• High quality supervision
• Strong and accessible management support
• Manageable caseloads
• Workforce development around evidence based practice
In Birmingham we are on a journey to ensure that we have all of the above firmly in place. We need social workers and seniors, newly qualified and experienced, and team managers and others who share our concept of effective social work and our vision and purpose. With a stable and committed workforce of social workers we can significantly improve the life chances of disadvantaged children in Birmingham and ensure that Birmingham is the place to do social work.
Are you interested in the chief social work officer or area principal social worker role? Click the job title to apply. Click here for opportunities for social workers and team managers.