Quality work, a breadth of training and great development opportunities at Devon County Council

A feature sponsored by Devon County Council

This feedback came from the recent peer review report for adult social care within Devon County Council, giving a very clear and positive message about the commitment that comes from staff and the quality of work observed.

The peer review team observed practice with “clear focus on integration, safeguarding, quality, prevention and with strong voluntary sector co-ordination”.

The review also commented favourably on the “purpose and sense in the line management, supervisory arrangements and the breadth of the training programmes”.

Devon has embraced the role of principal social worker, and this role is key in shaping all aspects of service delivery, and workforce planning. The principal Social Worker is also key in ensuring that there is a strong focus within the senior leadership team on the quality of interventions offered.

There are a range of opportunities open to social workers in Devon. The programme which supports newly qualified social workers through the assessed and supported first year in practice, is now in its third year. This programme, offering structure and workload support, has been adopted by other agencies as a model of good practice.

The current operational team structure provides a range of different situations for both newly qualified and experienced social workers, including safeguarding teams, community health and social care Teams, hospital discharge teams, and secondment within integrated adult mental health yeams.

In this video, one of our qualified senior social workers, Jenny, provides her personal account of how her social work career has developed with Devon.

Devon has recently developed a number of specialised areas for social work practice, including a dedicated approved mental health practitioner (AMHP) service. There is a team specialising in assessment and commissioning services for adults on the autistic spectrum; and a team which undertakes best interest assessments where authorisation is required for deprivations of liberty in residential settings.

We have also invested in supporting community teams with the expertise and resource required for best interest assessments, and for effective joint working where young people are preparing for adulthood. In addition, specialist project roles such as that of the supported living review team set up to review the support needs of adults in supported living accommodation, all give the opportunity for social workers to dedicate their time to a particular focus.

The broad range of work experience is matched with a broad range of opportunities for practitioners to develop and progress. Social workers have opportunities to undertake further qualifications including training for practice as AMHPS, best interest assessors, and practice educators.

In this second video, Jenny, provides her personal account of her journey with Devon.

Principal social worker Sarah Mackereth comments:

For me, the two key findings from the peer peview were that adult social care in Devon is a learning organisation, and their description of workforce as being “the jewel in your crown”. I am confident that I can effectively represent social work within an organisation which values quality of practice, and which will back this up with opportunities for social workers to grow and develop.

A final word from the peer review team

“The team all came away with a strong sense of the commitment from your staff and with a number of good practice examples they intended to take back to their own organisations. What more could we ask for…commitment of staff in supporting their individual clients and for this practice to be taken to other organisations.”

For more information and to view job vacancies visit our social work website.

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