Education secretary Nicky Morgan today announced the creation of ‘social work practice leaders’ who will be tasked with overseeing frontline practice in local authorities.
Speaking to delegates at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Manchester, she described the role as “a senior leadership position focused 100% on the quality of frontline practice in a local area”.
She said social work practice leaders “will complement the corporate leadership role of the director of children’s services, allowing a wider pool of leadership talent to be considered for those roles while the rigorous focus on social work practice sits with the new practice leader”.
“It is imperative that front line workers are managed and supervised by those with the knowledge and skills needed to shape that practice excellence,” she added.
Morgan also used her speech to announce the introduction of Approved Child and Family Practitioner status as an essential requirement for working in child protection. The status was recommended by chief social worker Isabelle Trowler in her knowledge and skills statement, which was published back in July.
The education secretary also revealed that the government is extending the funding for the fast-track social work training scheme Frontline into 2016.
“There have already been 1,000 applicants for the second round of Frontline, which has a third more places available than last year,” she said. “And we’re anticipating this level of interest to continue, so here, today, I’m delighted to announce that the government is supporting another year of the Frontline pilot.”
Josh MacAlister, chief executive of Frontline, said the decision is a significant moment for Frontline: “The commitment shown by government means we can continue in our mission to transform the lives of vulnerable children who need outstanding social workers.”
The funding extension was also welcomed by Rory Patterson, director of children’s services in Southwark: “As a partner local authority, we welcome the news that the government is extending its support for Frontline. We have been impressed with the quality of recruits and the potential they offer our service.”