Staffordshire social work practice Evolve YP ready to launch

Partners in Staffordshire’s new social work practice have cited improving professional autonomy and providing greater continuity of care for young people as key motivations in joining the organisation.

Evolve YP will start work next month, taking responsibility under contract from the council for looked-after children and care leavers aged 12 to 21 in the county’s Newcastle and Moorlands area.

It is one of six social work practice pilots across England and one of four in which groups of practitioners have come together to form a new organisation, the others being in Blackburn with Darwen, Hillingdon and Sandwell.

Practice partner Cat White, a personal adviser for care leavers, said professional autonomy was a key factor in deciding to set up the practice.

“We are able to make decisions ourselves and not wait for managers up the local government hierarchy.”

Fellow personal adviser Tracy Dean said providing children and young people with greater continuity of care was also an important motivation.

“We hope that every member of the practice will have some idea of every young person, of their background and their situation. We want young people to be able to come into the building and have someone who knows their situation.”

One of the other practices – the pilot in Liverpool run by the charity Personal Service Society – has decided to offer staff performance-related bonuses.

White said that Evolve YP would not be able to afford to offer staff extra payments over and above local authority rates but said they may be offered health benefits as a retention incentive.

The council will judge the practice against the five Every Child Matters outcomes and stability for children and young people, with small extra payments made to the practice for meeting targets.

Evolve YP details

● 10 practice partners, including four social workers and four personal advisers.

● Social workers own 52% of practice in line with government rules.

● Plans to employ four other staff, one of whom will be a social worker.

● Due to take on 75 looked-after children cases and 86 care leaver cases.

● Decisions will be taken by board of partners, informed by young person’s group.

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