At Worcestershire County Council we’ve invested a huge amount into our front-line children’s social care services.
Our vision is for Worcestershire’s children’s services to enable children, young people and their families to achieve their potential in a safe environment so that they can go on to lead successful lives.
We have been through a big transformation in children’s social care in Worcestershire. This has been a difficult journey for everyone and we have worked hard to ensure that we have kept our children safe throughout the process. We are beginning to see the benefits of the transformation and our partners have said they like our community focus. All our teams are now based in a community around schools and so are able to build up good working relationships with other professionals to support children and families in their area. By putting social workers in our access centre to have professional conversations with our partners we have already seen a reduction in referrals to children’s social care. We’re also investing in new early help services in each district to support families earlier and nip problems in the bud before they escalate.
Our investment in front-line services has enabled us to create new teams and more jobs for social workers. We now have more team managers who are trained to effectively supervise and empower their teams and more social workers (although we are still looking for more) so that case loads are being reduced. We’ve cut out bureaucracy and improved business support to teams to enable social workers to spend less time doing office-based work and more time to work with children and their families. We’ve recently been successful in recruiting more adopters, which means less waiting for some children. We’re not there yet, but are confident we are moving in the right direction.
We’re working harder than ever to support our staff with a clearer pathway for career progression in place and partnership working with a university to support post qualifying training for social workers.
We have invested in a principal social worker post who heads up a team of advanced practitioners. This team has been key to supporting staff through the transformation; in particular social workers on the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) by offering support in modelling best practice and providing them with the right tools to ensure the right decisions are made for our children. They are also offering support to all social workers where there are skills gaps and will challenge and support to improve outcomes for children.
Our staff are being recognised for the amazing work they do – we’re immensely proud that Amanda Beaufoy, a social worker who began her career in Worcestershire has been shortlisted for this year’s Children’s Social Worker of the Year Awards.
Our care leavers in Worcestershire are going on to achieve great things. Daniel, 18 years old, has just secured a soccer scholarship for 2014 with Chance USA. And it’s not just sporting success – another recent care leaver, Kelly, has just graduated from University with a 2.1 degree in social work.
We want our social workers to be on the front-line, not at the end of a line. Which is why we’re investing so much in making sure Worcestershire is a great place for social workers and a great place for families.
We are particularly looking for experienced social workers for the contact and referral team, safeguarding teams and adoption teams.
But don’t just take our word for it, find out more: The Journey Starts Here.