Devon Council is launching an advanced professional role to keep the most experienced children’s social workers on the frontline.
The role is designed to drive forward “innovative practice”, and involves managing small groups of staff and holding a caseload of “complex and specialist” cases.
There are 15 vacancies, with a salary of up to £37,000 for each post.
The role was created following a restructure of children’s social care at the council, and includes some elements of the Reclaiming Social Work model pioneered by the London borough of Hackney. It is intended to attract the “highest calibre front line staff to children’s social work”.
Devon Council’s director of early years and families, Rory McCallum, who designed the new role, worked in Hackney before moving to the south west.
Andrea Davis, Devon Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The advanced professional role is not a back-office management post – it will require highly experienced social workers who have a leading edge in innovative practice, to take responsibility for the management, teaching and assessment of social work students in Devon, as well as handling complex casework.”
The news comes as national bodies consider ways of keeping experienced professionals on the frontline, following concerns about high numbers of social workers progressing into management at an early stage.
The Social Work Reform Board plans to introduce a new “advanced professional” role in a career development framework, details of which are due to be published later in the year. The Children’s Workforce Development Council is also piloting an advanced social worker programme.
A spokesperson for Devon Council said the authority would be “looking to ensure the advanced professional role works within the standards and programme development [of the CWDC scheme]”.
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