Seven-day social work teams to be launched in children’s service

Slough children's services trust has received government backing to build a model of social work its designers say will be more responsive to needs

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Photo: ibreakstock/Fotolia

A children’s services trust will introduce seven-day social work teams after receiving government funding.

‘Enhanced hubs’ at Slough children’s services will see social workers and family support workers available in the evenings and weekends, as well as existing emergency duty team support.

The Department for Education awarded Slough’s trust £1.4m to introduce the hubs and develop a new domestic abuse assessment response.

Robbie Thompson, children and families coordinator for the trust, said the new model aimed to make services more responsive to families in crisis.

“We do have duty staff on weekends but they will only work emergency cases. This is about family support work that doesn’t just exist within a normal working day, but also exists outside of that on evenings and weekends,” he said.

The model will also give workers more opportunities to intervene with families at the right times, he added.

“It gives them a great opportunity to really do the kind of work that they are in this field for, which is to really make a difference with the families they work with. Everyone’s very excited.”

Photo: Slough Children's Services Trust

Photo: Slough Children’s Services Trust

19 Responses to Seven-day social work teams to be launched in children’s service

  1. Louise Marshall April 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    What a brilliant model…

  2. Paul April 4, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    I think this was tried in derby over 10 years ago; funding put an end to it

  3. Stuart April 4, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    I’d like to know whether the spokesperson had the agreement of all staff before saying ‘Everyone’s very excited’.

    It will look rather less exciting if staff have to go on a shift pattern that makes their domestic lives, so often the vital lifeline to professional survival, become intolerably impaired and good staff start leaving.

    I’m very happy if services are actually improved in the long term but the large cash input reported suggests this is something that can’t or won’t pass the bean counters any more widely & it looks to me like the most excited people are the marketing dudes who got to play some variation of Twister.

  4. Rosaline April 4, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

    I agree with your comments Stuart. Whilst I agree services should be more accessible, the impact of this change has not been well considered from what I have read. 7 days working, does this present contractual changes? or is the funding to recruit to additional posts? I am inclined to believe the latter, therefore this is a short term measure. I am curious to understand Slough’s position if the funding is no longer available and the impact of inconsistency and discontinuity for children and families.

  5. Lara April 4, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

    I would like to know if this way of working is likely to be forced upon social workers? Would outlets weekends and after 5pm duties still be protected?

  6. Lara April 4, 2017 at 10:33 pm #

    I would like to know if this way of working is likely to be forced upon social workers? Would our weekends and after 5pm duties still be protected?what if social workers have particular commitments at weekends, would they have a voice in opting out of working at weekends?

  7. Miss Taylor April 5, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    Social workers have children too. Who will look after them while their parents are busy looking after others.
    Social workers experience family crisis’ too especially at weekends and out of hours who will
    support them and their families while they are tending to others?
    These work patterns cannot and should not be enforced there is no realistic work life balance for social workers own family lives without running the risk of becoming services users themselves.

    • Sharon April 19, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

      Indeed no work pattern should be imposed on social workers however in response to ” social workers have children too….. , so do the frontline support workers in social care provision , nurses and indeed workers generally who are required to work evenings , weekends and in the case of support workers overnight work also .

  8. Grace Easie-Edgar April 5, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    Residential staff in Childrens Homes have been doing this of years along with other professionals in the supporting people business. Everything costs but in the long run we want to see families supported at the most curial times.
    The cost of care will continue to rise if we do not think differently. I would work in this team bring it on.

    • Longtime SW April 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

      I assume that Residential staff in Children’s Homes are employed on the basis that they work on a rota to meet the demands of the service. Sorry Grace, you are comparing apples with carrots here – residential workers choose residential and ‘field’ social workers choose field work in the clear knowledge of what is expected of them within their respective roles – this includes ‘core hour’ working – very different for residential work as to field work (I’ve done both in my time).

      The point here is not whether it is a good/bad idea – it is the suspicion that this is ‘tinkering’ with an idea that has not been fully thought out as to impact on workers expected to carry out the tasks that will come from 7 day working.

  9. Longtime SW April 5, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    I suspect that it is as most commentators above think – an idea that has been discussed in secret. No or superficial consultation, and will be forced through – as with all such decisions it is a short term political idea to show what good boys and girls they are to this slash and burn anti-public service Government.

    My understanding of employment law is that this is a fundamental and significant change to ‘terms and conditions’ for current employee’s employment contracts. It is therefore not something that can be forced upon anyone without prior negotiation and agreement – a contract in law works both ways – it can’t be broken without penalty for either employer or employee.

    My advice would be for current Slough social workers to join a union PDQ – even if you don’t agree you will have a measure of legal advice and protection.

    • Sabine Ebert-FORBES April 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

      I agree with previous comments and the specific advice given by Longtime SW. Join a union, and to implement or change anything there have to be lengthy consultations with unions as well. Wonder if that has happened.

      Think carefully about this: helping others in need is great. But you got to look after yourself first before you can look after or out for others.

  10. Not frontline staff April 5, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    I am a Children’s Services worker in a FGC team, albeit not on the frontline, and we are already on a 7 day contract offering a flexible way of working to our families. Having the SWs on the same contract would certainly enhance our work as weekend conferences are not attended by anyone from Social Care due to their current contracted hours.

    • HelenSparkles April 10, 2017 at 9:19 pm #

      The answer to that is to create, fund and fill a SW role which cover the out of hours work, then someone can apply for it for whom it would work. SW are actually working at weekends and in the evenings, they are writing up case records, assessments, statements etc. which have statutory deadlines or filing dates.

  11. AnnMarie April 5, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

    Being a Slough employee, we were made aware of these positions and they were advertised stipulating the working hours.

    I’m sure that anybody who is appointed/applied is also aware of what will be required of them and that the role will be suitable to their life/home balance.

  12. Peter April 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

    What is interesting is the clear assumption that ‘they’ are out to get us when there is absolutely no evidence of this. I think what is being played out in the responses is a representation of the profession’s immediate lack of trust in managers and policy makers and the manifestation of a defensive and slightly paranoid way of thinking.

    • Longtime SW April 6, 2017 at 6:38 pm #

      With good reason given the sneaky way things are imposed with little or no consultation!

    • Stuart April 8, 2017 at 7:10 am #

      Peter, I really hope you get all the way through to retirement age with your faith in the goodness of the people in charge undiminished but I’ve got there by keeping my powder dry.

  13. HelenSparkles April 10, 2017 at 9:20 pm #

    I thought this was what the troubled families teams were doing? Funded by central government to be on call for families?