Innovative social workers are being offered up to £20,000 to help improve services for adults in England.
The Social Care Institute of Excellence (Scie) is to provide seed funding for up to 10 Social Work Practice Pioneer Projects, through which professionals will be able to develop services outside the local authority setting.
Social workers or social work organisations can apply for the grant, worth up to £20,000 for each project.
Successful applicants will be able to use the money in several ways. For example, they could set up a project to develop access to social work, information and advice for people who are not receiving local authority support.
Other suggestions included developing social work with families or communities that would resolve or mitigate family difficulties, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for long-term services.
It is hoped learning from the projects will inform the Department of Health’s social work practice pilot scheme. The GP-style social work practices are being set up on seven sites, to establish whether some services would be better run by social workers, independent of local authority control.
In a statement on its website, Scie said the projects invited contributions from social workers who were not directly involved in the practice pilots.
The statement said: “A number of people or organisations have spoken to us about their interest in developing social work practices, but were either unable to submit proposals in time for the pilots or didn’t feel that the model was broad enough to include what they wanted to do.”
The projects, which will run from February 2012 to March 2013, will not be included in the evaluation of the practice pilots.
However, the project leaders will be expected to undertake their own evaluation and provide a report in June and December 2012.
The projects may be commissioned by and accountable to a local authority or other public or third sector body through a contract. Alternatively, they could be independent and charge fees to the local authority, NHS or individuals for a service.
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