Agency social worker pay is due to be capped to the equivalent earned by permanent staff, under government plans likely to come into force in spring 2024.
In this context, the discussion around transitioning from an agency to a permanent social work role has never been more timely.
In a recent webinar, Darryl Freeman, corporate director of children and young people at Herefordshire Council, and Kerry Oddy, the authority’s principal social worker, discussed its career development opportunities and other benefits available for permanent practitioners. The pair outline developments in Herefordshire Council’s improvement journey and its plans to reshape systemic practice and promote career progression.
“One of the successes of our improvement plan and last year’s funding was there are no limits to the number of senior practitioner posts we’ve got in the service,” says Darryl.
Funding for Herefordshire children’s services over the last three years has totalled around £20m, with £11.5m last year and another £4.5m this year.
In the webinar, Darryl talks through some of the career development opportunities available to practitioners.
“One of the advantages of a local authority is you have different teams and services so people can move around, for example, between the MASH as a non-operational team, IRO, CPJS, fostering team, adoption. So there’s a whole range of different opportunities within one local authority where you can develop your career and that whole personal development.”
Darryl also outlines the council’s approach to workforce planning.
“We’re not building big teams. We want small but robust teams so that you have a relationship with your team manager and your supervisor. We’re introducing and developing evidence-based practice models and methods. And we’re very much focused on outcomes – what difference do we make for children and young people.!