Sefton Council plans to put the next part of its commitment to improving services for the Borough’s children and young people in place in September by launching a new Social Work Academy.
Setting up its own, unique Social Work Academy, will enable the Council to “grow its own” and provide its Children’s Social Care teams with an innovative development approach.
Through the Academy, the Council will be able to provide the right support for Newly Qualified Social Workers and give them the right environment to grow into high quality practitioners. They will have protected caseloads and a high level of managerial support to allow their practice to flourish.
As they go through their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), they will be managed by experienced team managers who will develop their practice through reflective supervision and modelling of practice. Practice Educators will ensure the Newly Qualified Social Workers meet the required standards.
Within the Academy’s first 12 months, the Council aims to recruit and develop up to 30 of these the Newly Qualified Social Workers who will go on to join the permanent workforce.
As they go through their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment, the teams will undergo weekly Practice Reflective Meetings and Focused Quality Assurance. They will also receive clinical support around emotional resilience that will help prevent the recognised social work phenomenon of burn-out, sickness and early retirement by enabling them to manage the stress and pressure of the profession.
The Academy will be managed by an experienced service leader who has both experience and passion for improving social work practice. By offering clinical support, the Academy will improve outcomes for children and families as well as helping reduce “social work burnout” which is a major cause of practitioners leaving the field.
Martin Birch, Sefton Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, who joined the Authority in March, said: “Providing the right support, protection and consistency that delivers better experiences and outcomes for Sefton’s children, young people and their families starts with our own workforce.
“By establishing this Academy, we are showing our determination in making sure that Social Workers at all levels in our Children’s Social Care teams are being equipped to do their jobs to the highest standards from the moment they join us.
“And as well as supporting the development and confidence of our existing colleagues, the Academy will also help us to attract the very best Social Workers out there to join us, to provide the high-quality services our children and families deserve.”
Sefton Council has already committed £1.2 million for setting up the new Social Work Academy. Next week’s meeting of Sefton Council Cabinet is being asked to approve a bid to the Department for Education for some additional funding to help support this venture.
Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, said: “Alongside the growth of the Family Valued partnership with Leeds, creating an Academy where our social work teams can learn the very best practice is a key part of our development.
“Both of them will help us to deal with the unprecedented demand we are currently seeing and tackle the issues raised by our recent Ofsted rating, and will also ensure that each and every child and young person in Sefton is given the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
“Any funding received through a bid to the Department for Education would be put back directly into our Children’s Social Care services.”
Details of next week’s Sefton Council Cabinet meeting, which takes place at 10am on Thursday 23rd June at Southport Town Hall, can be found here.