“Social workers’ morale is high and they enjoy working in Brighton & Hove.”
This was the conclusion of Ofsted’s ILACS report on our services in July 2018. Quite different from the headlines about overwhelmed and burnt-out social workers with unmanageable caseloads we often see. This doesn’t mean we think social work isn’t challenging or emotionally demanding. Just the opposite. We have developed a whole system that provides containment for social workers so that they can build ongoing relationships with families and use these relationships to make a difference for children and young people. This system is made up of small teams, or pods, of workers who get to know each other and the families they are supporting.
Three years ago, we re-designed our Children’s Social Work service based on feedback from families, young people and our practitioners. The changes we introduced have had a positive impact for social workers and their ability to provide consistent and purposeful support to children and young people. Despite increasing national demand, the number of children in our care or with a child protection plan have both decreased by over 10% since we introduced our model of practice. We are not complacent about these changes. The principles behind our model and how we have brought about positive change are subject to an ongoing evaluation. This was published as a report with the University of Sussex’s Centre for Social Work Innovation and Research in July 2017 – ‘Empathy, tenacity & compassion'.
“Social workers have a good understanding of the children they work with. They build meaningful relationships with children through direct work and regular visiting.”
The recent Ofsted report rated our services as good and recognised the difference that the model of practice has made for children and young people in terms of greater continuity of social work relationships, improved outcomes and reduced risks.
The report also highlights that senior leaders have worked purposefully to build a skilled and stable workforce with manageable caseloads and that the decision not to employ agency staff has been a key part of this.
Ofsted recognised the quality of the work of the children’s disability social workers.
“Disabled children benefit from high-quality, responsive support. The knowledgeable team recognises well the needs of disabled children and those of their non-disabled brothers and sisters both in terms of risk of harm and their broader needs.”
We know that our dedicated and professional social workers are our greatest asset and our ethos at Brighton & Hove is to invest in them by giving them the time and active support they need so that they can make a real difference to children’s lives and realise our vision for social work.
Our pod model is based on providing emotional containment for social workers and, as well as not using agency social workers, we have developed a supervision model which includes weekly group supervision, 1:1 supervision, and Reflective Practice Groups for practitioners and managers at every level.
The Reflective Practice Groups have been developed with the Centre for Social Work Practice, who have already completed a first phase evaluation of these groups. This is an example of how we are leading in the development of innovative models of social work delivery and sharing this learning with the wider system.
Brighton & Hove is carrying out an innovative restructure of its services for children and adults with learning disabilities to create a strong, sustainable and ambitious whole life pathway disability service.
The management of children’s and adults (integrated multi-disciplinary) disability services has been merged within our Families, Children and Learning Directorate with two new Heads of Service, one with responsibilities for ages 0-25 and the other for 25+. The Heads of Service have responsibility for three social work assessment teams or pods whose functions are differentiated by the ages 0-13, 14-24 and 25+. The development of this new service is continuing following its launch in September this year. It is anticipated that this new structure will provide service users with a more positive transition to adulthood.
This is a team which provides a challenging and exciting range of social work services to children, young people and adults with disabilities. This includes the areas of duty and intake, child in need, child protection, Care Proceedings, Looked After Children, permanence planning with focus on transition to adulthood; undertaking care planning within a multi-disciplinary context through Care Act Assessment and review, appropriate application of the Mental Capacity Act and application of Deprivation of Liberty/Liberty Protection Safeguards, including application to the Court of Protection. We are also involved in supporting children, young people and adults with Direct Payments and Personal Budgets.
About the role
All of this is making a difference for our social workers and a key part of being a learning organisation is listening to our practitioners. As well as an annual ‘Relationships in Practice’ Conference for all practitioners, we have a Your Voice Survey – our version of the social work health check. In 2018:
85% of social workers said that they felt safe and supported
99% agreed that they felt trusted to make decisions in their role to affect positive change.
We want our social workers to ‘be the difference that makes a difference’, as illustrated by this letter to a social worker from a parent:
“The last few years you have been in our lives have been really appreciated and in the end I enjoyed meeting up with you! You have made a big impact on my life and I am so grateful for this.”
In addition to working for an organisation that values the immense contribution social workers make and ensures effective support is always in place, we offer a package of benefits including:
- our innovative and unique Continuing Learning and Assessment Model (CLAM) which defines pathways for development and progression
- a salary within the range £32,029 to 34,788 per annum depending on level of experience
- a range of family-friendly policies including flexible working
- a range of exclusive benefits and discounts from a large number of the UK’s largest retailers and service providers to help your money go further.
Our model is based on social workers who are committed to relationship-based practice and using their relationships with families to affect change.
We have an opportunity for one full-time and one part-time, permanent Social Workers within the new whole life pathway disability service with a specialism in childrens social work. Candidates with experience in both children and adult social work is preferable but not essential; however, those with an enthusiasm to learn about the area of social work they are less familiar with are very welcome.
The successful candidate will:
- Hold a Professional Social Work Qualification and be registered as a social worker with the HCPC
- Be responsible for managing their own caseload autonomously with the support of their supervisor/manager
- Have the skills to work within an integrated multi-agency setting
- Be able to support a service undergoing some exciting changes and developments
- Have good knowledge, skills and experience of statutory roles and responsibilities
- Ideally, have experience of both children and adults statutory social work or be able to demonstrate an enthusiasm to learn about the area of social work they are less familiar with
- Whilst prior experience of working with children, young people or adults with disabilities is not essential it would be an advantage
- Demonstrate a keen interest in developing their knowledge and skills in relation to disabilities
Closing date for applications: 8 December 2019 at midnight
If you need further information, please contact:
Carl Campbell, Head of Service 0-25 on 01273 291158 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To find out more visit 'Social work in Brighton & Hove': https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/children-and-education/social-work-brighton-hove
- Visit the Working for us website section to find out about staff pay and benefits, such as flexible working hours and generous annual leave
- Go to the Work and life in Brighton & Hove web page to find out what our vibrant seaside city has to offer
Your starting salary will be pro rata if the above position is part-time or term-time only.
Work Permits: we may be able to obtain a Work Permit for this post but this is subject to meeting the requirements of the UK Border Agency's Points-based Immigration System.
From 6 April 2011 the Home Office has placed a permanent restriction on the number of migrant workers that all Tier 2 (General) Sponsors can recruit. Due to the restrictions we cannot guarantee that individuals that meet the requirements of the Points-based Immigration System will be issued with clearance to obtain work permits.
Please note that this post is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, and is subject to a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Check.
We welcome applications from all sections of the community but particularly encourage applicants from a BME or White Other background as well as those who identify as disabled, LGB, male or trans as these groups are currently under-represented in ourDirectorate workforce.
As part of Brighton & Hove City Council's ongoing commitment to redeployment, please note that this vacancy may be withdrawn at any stage of the recruitment process, without prior notice if a suitable redeployee (internal employee at risk of redundancy) is identified.