Employer Zone

Barking and Dagenham Council

In the spotlight

Our families deserve the best support, so we give our social workers the best

Ann Graham, director of operations, children's social care, Barking and Dagenham Council

A sponsored feature from Barking and Dagenham Council

By Ann Graham, director of operations, children’s social care

Let’s cut to the chase. Barking and Dagenham, like many places, has its challenges.

The borough is one of the most impoverished areas in the country and more than a third of our children and young people live in poverty.

However, we are working hard to change all of that. We have an ambitious regeneration plan to build 50,000 new homes, including Europe’s largest riverside development, as well as London’s largest film studio and media centre.

Our students have just achieved above national average results in the new top grades for GCSE English and maths, and more than 90% of our schools have been rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

The passionate leadership team we have in Barking and Dagenham are determined to continue to improve our borough and that is why we need the best social workers, who can make a positive difference and help us on our journey.

A £15,000 retention bonus

We know that effective social work depends on a service that recognises the value social workers bring and supports them to do their very best for children and families.

That is why we offer great pay and big bonuses: a £5,000 welcome payment at the start of employment; and a £15,000 commitment payment after three years. And after four years in post, our social workers have the opportunity to take a two-month paid sabbatical.

But we don’t stop there.

Subsidised housing for social workers

We know London is an expensive place to live and that is why we offer our social workers subsidised rents in quality housing in our borough, which is just 20 minutes from central London. We also offer a £7,500 relocation package.

Just a few of our benefits

– Good basic pay
– Excellent recruitment and retention bonuses
– Subsidised rent and relocation package
– Interesting and diverse work
– Flexible working
– high-quality supervision
– First-rate training and development

What’s more, we also work hard to maintain our optimistic, ambitious, supportive and open working culture. We have no tolerance for workplace bullying and a culture of blame.

Our managers don’t just have an open-door approach when it comes to workplace concerns, but a belief in encouraging social workers to raise concerns and a commitment to acting swiftly on those issues.

So when our social workers told me that our case management and client index systems could be improved, I set to work and we are now changing those systems for the better, and have provided laptops and smart phones that enable flexible working.

Lower caseloads

We are also on a mission to reduce caseloads so our social workers have the capacity to do their very best for the children and families they work with.

Today our caseloads are in line with the national average at 18-19 cases per social worker but we are determined to reduce that to 15.

However, we don’t stop with good basic pay, generous bonuses, help with housing, supportive managers, interesting and diverse work, lower caseloads and a great working environment.

As well as all of that, at Barking and Dagenham you will get first-class training and development that not only enhances your skills and knowledge but furthers your interest in the profession.

Expert training

We’ve brought in Professor David Shemmings to train all our social workers and managers in attachment and relationship-based practice, and we also run regular masterclasses where you will get to learn from various experts in their field.

We are aspirational for our community and for every case we work on, and within that, every child and every family member.

But we are aspirational for our social workers too. Every day our social workers can see the positive difference they make to the lives of children and we want them to have the best so that they keep making that difference.

The question is: could you be one of the Barking and Dagenham social workers changing lives for the better?