This is the age of the internet. Hyper-connected, technology-powered. Always on. So why have social workers been left out in the cold? Traditionally under-resourced, especially when it comes to digital tools, social workers are crying out for better support.
Brent Council at least, have been listening. They’ve introduced a digitally-connected, smart working model that’s transformed the way they work.
iPhones, iPads and Zipcars, typically once-in-a-blue-moon luxuries, are the norm for their social workers. They enable them to work more flexibly and recently revamped their work environment into a high-tech Civic Centre. Which of course are much-deserved conveniences for social workers and signs that Brent care about their employees. It’s why they are one of the country’s 5% of employers to be awarded a Silver level Investors n People accreditation.
But crucially, these tools also unlock a better quality of care. They mean that social workers can spend less time in the office and more with the children and families that need their help. The iPad even provides a useful engagement tool, with games that can, for example, help a troubled child to open up. To serve Wembley, one of Britain’s most ethically, economically and socially diverse boroughs, arming social workers with a suite of such exercises is a major boost.
Yet the Brent model also shows that tech is only as good as what you do with it. Hyper-connected working demands a more flexible way of working altogether, fully supported by senior management. It’s why Brent have actively reduced caseloads for each of their social workers, allowing them to commit more to each client. They’ve signed up to the Signs of Safety England Innovation Project, allowing their people to use their own ideas to shape the way they work with children and families. The Brent social team have deliberately chosen to share office space with other relevant services such as housing, making it easy to meet and share expertise.
Better social care powered by technology: it’s a refreshing approach and it might just be the future of social care.
Brent are now recruiting team managers, deputy team managers, senior social workers and social workers.
To find out more, visit ibrent.co.uk