Workforce Insights

    West Sussex County Council

    In the spotlight

    West Sussex: A clear path for advancing your career in children’s social work

    A sponsored feature by West Sussex County Council

    It is a sad fact that many children’s social workers leave the profession after only a few years.

    Challenging caseloads and emotional strain are key reasons why people leave social work, but at West Sussex County Council we have identified an additional reason – a lack of career progression.

    The lack of a formal progression scheme meant experienced social workers believed they had to go elsewhere if they wanted to advance their career.

    Your career, your way

    So in May, we responded by launching our new progression pathway – a simple-to-understand framework developed with guidance and feedback from our practitioners.

    The pathway allows individual social workers to choose their own career path, so that they can get the most value out of their experience working in West Sussex.

    Whether you want to stay working on the frontline or move into a management, as a West Sussex social worker you can now pick the path that will let you best achieve your career goals.

    Come and meet West Sussex

    Want to find out more about working at West Sussex County Council?

    Then come meet us at a special social work recruitment event we are hosting between 5-7pm on Thursday 29 June.

    The event will take place at County Hall North in Horsham, West Sussex. Free parking is available and refreshments will be provided.

    At the event you will be able to meet our director of family operations Annie MacIver, our principal social worker Catherine Watkins, and our heads of service.

    You will also get to talk to some of our amazing practice managers and social workers about what it is like to work at West Sussex.

    For more information, visit

    Signs of Safety

    The pathway also directly links to the training and development we offer our social workers as one of the 10 councils implementing the Signs of Safety model under the guidance of Professor Eileen Munro.

    This training offer for social workers includes a comprehensive internal training programme and post-graduate diploma developed with the University of Chichester.

    “We want West Sussex to be a rewarding and fulfilling place for children’s social workers to work and develop their careers,” says Catherine Watkins, the professional practice lead and acting principal social worker at West Sussex County Council.

    “The progression pathway and the development of an academically accredited training pathway in partnership with the University of Chichester is part of our ambition to enhance the profile and reputation of the great work that our social workers do.”

    Pay and progression

    “We want our pay and progression opportunities to demonstrate how important the profession is to improving the lives and outcomes of our residents,” adds Watkins.

    These changes mean that there are now opportunities for West Sussex children’s social workers to progress from newly qualified all the way to senior practitioner whilst remaining in direct practice. Our salaries now start at £27,863 and by October 2018 our most experienced social workers will be able to earn £41,296 a year.

    For social workers wishing to move into management, we have established a management development programme and now our frontline practice managers have the scope to earn between £38,239 and £46,980 a year.

    Find out more about developing your career at West Sussex.