Somerset, it’s the place to be for social workers

A feature sponsored by Somerset County Council

Credit: REX/Adam Burton / Robert Harding

Credit: REX/Adam Burton / Robert Harding


Somerset LogoThere are few areas of work that can make such a big difference to people’s lives as children’s social work. That’s what makes it at the same time both challenging and hugely rewarding and it’s why we want the very best people to come and work with us.

There are around 120,000 people aged under-18 in Somerset and we believe that each and every one of them deserves the best possible chance to thrive in this beautiful county.

We’re constantly striving to improve the support we give our young people and have a dynamic new leadership team is driving us forward, with the interests of our young people at the heart of everything we are doing and planning.

If you are a qualified social worker, with enthusiasm, commitment, energy and most of all the will to give children the best possible outcomes, we want to hear from you.

There is a huge commitment across political parties and at every level of the organisation to achieve good outcomes for every child who needs our support.

We can offer a competitive salary, great terms and conditions, a wonderful place to live and work, and a service that is committed to excellence in all areas.

Outside of work, we can also offer a great place to live, work and raise a family. We’re the home of the Glastonbury Festival, cider and one of the top county cricket sides in the country.

In Somerset you’ll find the best things about the West Country way of life with bustling cities like Bristol and Exeter still in easy striking distance.

We have a diverse and stunning landscape which takes in holiday destinations like Minehead and Burnham-on-Sea, Exmoor National Park and four Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in between

And you’ll find Somerset’s house prices are attractive compared to much of the South West and there’s a place for every taste.

These are exciting times for our services. We’ve recently undergone a major restructure to make sure the child is at the centre of everything.

Working with staff we have developed a structure around the social work practitioner which supports and equips them to deliver a high quality.

We have created specialist teams in each of our four geographic areas for assessment, safeguarding and children looked after.

To help social workers to develop their skills and encourage them to stay in practice, we have created a clear career path with experienced social worker and principal social worker roles.

Principal social workers hold a small complex case load and develop the practice of less experienced social workers. Although based in area offices but are pursuing initiatives for demonstrating and highlighting good and outstanding work. They work very closely with the team manager developing social workers practice so team managers can focus on the management of staff and the overall performance of the team.

A new supervision policy and procedure was launched in January this year with a focus on professional development. We are also developing a social work academy to develop talent and ensure that practitioners have protected time to learn and advancement and leadership development opportunities.

An operations manager is the senior manager in each area and line manages the team managers and PSWs. The operations managers work closely together under the management of a strategic manager one covering the West of the county and the other the East.

We have exciting and ambitious plans for our fostering and adoption services. We are about to introduction of a fee paid fostering scheme very shortly and the adoption service is developing into a permanency service.

A centrally managed service for disabled children was set up in April bringing together the social work teams with all the resources for disabled children. The Service now offers a range of teams and services to meet the needs of disabled children. This includes a short break service which commissions and provides a range of activities during school holidays for children with a specific condition or disability.

The front door for children’s social care is the first response team consisting of a team of advisers, social workers and two common assessment framework coordinators managed by two team managers. First response determine the level of intervention required with reference to a detailed guide on thresholds. A multi agency safeguarding hub has been established alongside the first response ensuring that strategy discussions are genuinely multi agency and that safeguarding concerns are moved on immediately for investigation in the areas.

We have a new Common Assessment Framework and CAF coordinators which reduces the number of referrals to children’s social care and increases the quality of the assessments.

Crucially the launching of the early help ‘getset services’ has ensured that there are a range of support services to help families at an early stage. Somerset developed children centres in the most deprived wards in a way which rooted them in communities so that families have been able to influence their development. Under ‘getset’ has coordinated the centres into hubs and ensured that there is an effective joined up service across the county.

Our early help developments, alongside the role of first response and our step up and step down policy, mean that our mainstream social work teams our now only working with children who really require our involvement.

That, in turn, makes for manageable workloads and social workers being able to give their cases the time and attention they deserve.

We believe we’re going places and if you would like to be part of it, please get in touch.

Click here to return to the south west career guide.

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