“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.
Five 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. 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.
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.
We have recognised that we need to do further work to support families and communities from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background in the city and to support our Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff. As a council we have made a commitment to being an anti-racist organisation and we have set up an Anti-Racist Project to make sure we achieve this within children's social work services. We have also appointed a Lead Practitioner for Anti-Racist Practice. We would particularly encourage applications from candidates who identify as Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background.
Interviews to be held Thursday 17th December
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 2020:
88% of social workers said that they felt safe and supported despite the impact of Covid-19
91% of social workers felt they were well supported by their managers and had been supported with their individual circumstances during Covid
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 £32,029,401 to £38,813 per annum depending on level of experience
- a market supplement of £2,736 for social workers and £3,060 for senior social workers in case-holding pods
- 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.
We currently have opportunities for social workers in our generic pods. The generic pods work with children from 0-18 and across the whole of their journey with us. We are also interested in hearing from social workers who would like to work at the Front Door for Families for a year before moving to a permanent role in the generic pods.
For all of these posts, you must hold a Professional Social Work Qualification and be registered as a social worker with Social Work England. However, if you are an experienced social worker who is thinking about 'returning to social work', but who is not registered with Social Work England, do get in touch with Tom Stibbs.
In addition, you will need to have experience of working directly with children in need and their families in a multi-disciplinary service and be able to build strong, meaningful relationships with children from diverse backgrounds, their families and key agencies.
If you need further information, please contact:
Tom Stibbs (Principal Social Worker) 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 Visas and Immigration (UKVI) 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 our Directorate workforce. We have recognised that we need to do further work to support families and communities from a Black, Asian and ethnic minority background in the city and to support our BAME staff. As a council we have made a commitment to being an anti-racist organisation and we have set up an Anti-Racist Project to make sure we achieve this within children's social work services.
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.