Welcome to West Sussex County Council’s Employer Profile. Here you can see key data, learn about the culture and meet the managers of the organisation before applying for a job in children’s services.
WHY CHOOSE WEST SUSSEX
This is an exciting time to join us. We are committed to putting Children First and improving the services we provide to children, young people and families across West Sussex.
– Executive Director Lucy Butler
Our Assessment and Intervention service is based in Crawley, Bognor Regis and Worthing. Fast-paced, busy and supportive, the teams assess and work with children and families and will intervene where children need support, to provide help at an earlier stage.
The teams also:
- carry out Section 47 enquiries
- progress cases to Initial Child Protection Conference
- undertake children in need work, while planning for permanence from day one.
Team members work directly with children and their families while also partnering with agencies, including the police and health, to ensure the best possible outcome with sustainable, positive change.
The service ensures a strong link with our Early Help colleagues to promote local community support for children and families when social care no longer needs to be involved.
Our busy and aspirational Family Safeguarding Team works with children and families at the point in their journey where there are safeguarding concerns.
Based in Chichester, Bognor Regis, Worthing, Horsham, Crawley and Burgess Hill, team members:
- work within a positive, diverse, nurturing environment where successes are celebrated and individuals within the team are supported to grow and develop
- undertake meaningful, transparent, direct work with children and their families to ensure the most positive outcomes, and act to reduce risks
- play a key role in child protection, child in need cases and safety planning for children
- work with children throughout a court process – from pre-proceedings to initial court hearings and finally court proceedings – to ensure there is consistent support for the child throughout
- work with children who return to their birth families, where it is safe to do so.
Our dedicated Children We Care For service has a passion for making a difference to our looked after children, alongside an interest and experience of the adoption process.
The team works with and support children who:
- remain in long-term care where it is not safe for them to return home
- may be placed for adoption
- are subject to a Special Guardianship Order, helping them achieve permanent homes through reunification with their families
- are leaving care.
With a focus on outcomes-based care planning for children, including access to an in-house therapeutic assessment and intervention team, they work with young children and teenagers to support them to achieve and plan to build their lives as young adults ready to leave care and live independently.
With Gatwick Airport within our borders, the Children’s Asylum team provides a child protection duty response to the airport, and manages new arrivals of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children across the county.
The team is small and specialised, with social workers who champion best practice with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and complete age assessments.
Working in partnership with a range of agencies, including a dedicated mental health practitioner, the Children’s Asylum team completes high-quality and timely assessments of need. These ensure good care and planning so that this vulnerable group have the right support, accommodation and legal advice, and their health, education and care needs are met.
As the first point of contact with children and families, our social workers in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and Integrated Front Door can influence their entire journeys.
As a fast-moving service, everyone has a voice in relation to the development of the service and can make a difference to delivering the best outcomes for children and families.
The MASH and Integrated Front Door team continues to develop practice and build strong relationships with a wide range of partner agencies. These include police, health and housing professionals who are co-located and working together to ensure the best outcomes for children and young people.
Fostering social workers act in a supervisory manner for foster carers and usually work across West Sussex. The Fostering team:
- undertakes assessments of all notified fostering arrangements
- promotes awareness of fostering across the county with partner agencies and residents
- ensures all ongoing fostering arrangements are supported and visited within regulatory time frames.
The Adoption team works with prospective adoptive families, from adoption recruitment to support pre-adoption order, and in partnership with colleagues from across Children’s Services and our regional adoption agency, Adoption South East.
The team also has social workers who specialise in Special Guardianship Orders and assessments.
The Children with Disabilities team provides a specialist service for children with more complex, lifelong disabilities and autism.
Members of the team:
- work with children, their families and other agencies to meet their assessed needs and help them achieve their potential
- provide ongoing help and support to children in need, children we care for or children in need of protection.
Teams based in Horsham and Crawley cover the north of the county, while those based in Worthing and Bognor Regis cover the south.
We also have countywide teams that cover the whole of West Sussex.
The Conferencing and reviewing service work with children who are subject to child protection plans and with the children that we care for. The team chair conferences and review meetings, ensuring that all our children have plans that are outcome focused and are achieving positive impact.
The team provide ongoing oversight, leadership and assurance, driving aspirational practice and improvements across the system.
The team is county wide and responsible for:
- chairing child protection case conferences
- chairing reviews for the children that we care for
- ongoing oversight, assurance and impact in driving children’s plans throughout the child’s journey
- providing specialist practice knowledge to support operational teams
- generating system wide learning through completing auditing of children’s files.
Find additional information.
OUR FAMILY SAFEGUARDING MODEL
Family Safeguarding is a way of working with families so that they can stay together, and children can remain safely at home, where possible. Using this model, in conjunction with motivational interviewing techniques, we work in a more collaborative way where parents are motivated to identify the changes needed within their own families, helping to achieve better outcomes for children.
The model supports children’s social workers to tackle the challenges of children’s safeguarding, particularly domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health, through multi-disciplinary teams that can work with the adults in the family. This whole family approach to child protection provides help and support to children from different professions working as one team.
- Multi-disciplinary teams– a team of specialists working together to address parental domestic abuse, mental health and substance misuse.
- The family safeguarding workbook and family programme– an assessment of need leading to a programme of tailored support.
- Group case supervision– monthly supervision for each family with input from every professional working with them.
What difference does the Family Safeguarding Model approach make?
- Families are offered the right support at the right time to help them to reduce the risks to their children and enable children to stay at home where it’s safe to do so.
- Schools and local community partners play a key role in identifying and supporting families who need early help.
- Our whole-family approach reduces the number of children coming into care.
- The approach focuses on increasing the engagement of families with professionals and information sharing between professionals is strengthened.
- Health and education outcomes for children are improved.
- Social workers are able to spend more time working with families and less time on administration
WORKING IN WEST SUSSEX
From starting your social work career to supporting your return after an extended break, we’re proud to offer a number of routes to employment within children’s social care.
Our BA (hons) Social Work Apprenticeship is offered internally for staff within our Children, Young People and Learning directorate. This three-year course gives a clear progression path for any of our internal employees who wish to learn and train to become a fully qualified social worker. A social work apprentice will gain ‘on the job’ experience to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours to achieve a level 6 degree in social work. Visit the Institute for Apprenticeship’s Social Worker (Degree) page, where you can get further insight into the role.
West Sussex County Council is part of the South Coast regional partnership called the Step Up programme. Step Up runs every two years and is an intensive 14-month full-time learning programme for graduates without a degree in social work who now want to become a social worker.
Students can expect to learn through a combination of academic study and real social work experience in a local authority. On completion, the Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work will enable graduates to register and practice as a social worker.
We are proud to have established our very own West Sussex Social Work Academy, sitting within our social work teams across the county. We are revolutionising the way we work within our children’s services and continue to develop the academy so that we can guide and steer NQSWs through that crucial first year of practice – the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE).
Only the most promising and passionate advocates of children and young people who wish to work in frontline child protection teams will be selected to take part in this programme.
Some of our social workers have shared their stories about their experiences of working for West Sussex County Council, from the opportunities for career progression through to the support they receive.
BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH US
We recognise that our employees are central to everything we do. We aim to create a supportive and dynamic working environment where employees can achieve their full potential, achieve a healthy work-life balance, and are rewarded for the work they do.
Our social workers enjoy numerous benefits. Click the tabs below for more.
- Child and Family Worker (Grade 7) – £25,409 – £27,852
- Newly Qualified Social Worker (Grade 9) – £36,023*
- Social Worker (Grade 10) – £39,837 – £43,083*
- Social Worker (Grade 11) – £44,430 – £47,816*
- Advanced Social Worker (Grade 12) – £48,956 – £52,368
- Team Manager (Hay A) – £55,116 – £58,892**
- Conferencing and Reviewing Officer (Hay A) – £55,116 – £58,892**
- Service Manager (Hay C) – £58,863 – £62,183
- Head of Service (Hay E) – £68,531 – £73,113
* Includes annual market supplement of 12.5 per cent
** Includes annual market supplement of 10 per cent
Learning and development
All members of staff benefit from learning and development that relates to our core practice framework.
We also have:
- a range of workplace learning opportunities, such as shadowing, coaching, peer learning and supervision
- access to Community Care Inform
- apprenticeships for staff
- a wide range of additional learning and development events
- Local Safeguarding Children Partnership learning and development opportunities and resources
- support for continued professional development and excellent links with the University of Chichester.
We have a comprehensive social worker learning and development pathway which outlines essential and recommended learning. The pathway is designed to support your continuing professional development at all stages in your career and is aligned to the Professional Capabilities Framework.
We also have a newly created management academy, which has learning available for aspiring managers.
- annual leave of between 25 and 31 days
- flexible working opportunities; including flexitime, working from home, job sharing, 9-day fortnight
- excellent opportunities for continued professional development
- access to research communities, including Community Care Inform
- an excellent local government pension scheme
- an employee assistance programme offering 24/7 support for you and your family for a range of things, including mental wellbeing
- career breaks
- career progression
- a brilliant place to live and work
We also have a range of commuting and business travel discounts and initiatives, including:
- discounted bus and train tickets (15 per cent on peak and off-peak travel with Southern Rail)
- car benefit scheme where you can offset your salary in exchange for a brand-new car
- Cycle to Work scheme – a salary sacrifice scheme where you can get a bike for a healthy way to travel.
- pool cars – you can access a range of cars for your travel for work purposes
- a diverse and inclusive workforce, with active support groups for:
- mental health
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff
- disabled staff
LIVING IN WEST SUSSEX
Whether you’re looking for family-friendly days out, romantic getaways or action-packed adventures, there’s so much to explore and discover in our county – from the picturesque coastline, to rolling hills and beautiful countryside, to bustling towns and a cathedral city.
West Sussex is also home to Gatwick Airport, many market towns, Arundel Castle, the cathedral city of Chichester and the internationally renowned Goodwood estate, known for its horse racing and motorsport.
You can get to our offices located around West Sussex in under an hour from some of the south’s major towns and cities:
Southampton to our Chichester office – 45 minutes
Portsmouth to our Bognor Regis office – 33 minutes
Guildford to our Horsham office – 43 minutes
Croydon to our Horsham office – 38 minutes
Leatherhead to our Crawley office – 45 minutes
Eastbourne to our Worthing office – 60 minutes
Brighton to our Worthing office – 36 minutes