In a week celebrating International Social Work Day (15 March), Hampshire County Council has launched a major recruitment drive to attract more social workers to support the county’s vulnerable children and families in need.
Judged by Ofsted to be a ‘good’ Authority for its role in the care and protection of children in need, the County Council needs more social workers to keep pace with increasing demand for social care services.
Councillor Keith Mans, Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services commented: “The number of children and families needing our support is rising. During the last year in Hampshire, the County Council received 107,000 contacts from professionals, families and the public, seeking advice and assistance or reporting concerns about the welfare of a child. Social work is a really rewarding career and our social workers are some of the best in the country but we need more of the same.”
As one of the top three largest shire authorities in England, Hampshire County Council employs more than 300 social workers.
Roger Ward has been a social worker with the County Council for 15 years and, in 2015, he was named Social Worker of the Year by the Fostering Network, for his outstanding contribution to foster care. Roger says that he “moved in to social work late in life” after 25 years of fostering children, with his wife.
Roger said: “After starting as a member of a family support team, I transferred to the family placement team. The great support that I get from both colleagues and managers is one of the main reasons why I like working for Hampshire. There are times when the circumstances relating to a child and family I am supporting can be quite a strain to deal with. My manager is extremely understanding and will provide assistance when needed.”
Councillor Mans added: “Now is a particularly exciting time to be joining the County Council as we are in the midst of rolling out our Social Work Innovations Programme, leading the way to transform and modernise social work practice.”
Funded with £3.96 million from the Department for Education, the County Council’s ‘Innovations Programme’ is about reducing the need for children to be taken into care by transforming social work so that it is less burdensome in terms of bureaucracy and red tape, allowing social workers to better support families and protect children from neglect and abuse.
Within the scope of the Innovations Programme, additional posts are also being established to build capacity in the social work teams that will help to free social workers from some of the administrative tasks that surround children’s social care. This will mean that social workers will be able to focus more of their time on Hampshire’s vulnerable children, young people and their families. Volunteers are also being recruited to work alongside social workers and their role will be to foster better engagement between statutory services and local communities
With her home in London, Joan Ndeleman made a conscious decision to work in Hampshire after being attracted by the amount of training on offer.
Intending to work for the Authority for just a year or two, Joan is still a Hampshire County Council social worker five years on. Joan said: “From the moment I joined I found the team very welcoming and I liked that they accepted me as I am. With regular training opportunities on offer, I am continually able to develop professionally and undertake new learning. We are getting a lot of support from PA’s who help us with our administration and paperwork which means we are able to concentrate on helping the children and families that need our support.”
Social workers joining Hampshire County Council will benefit from tailored development plans and professional support within a teamwork environment. For graduate and newly qualified social workers, there is a wealth of training opportunities to ensure their continued professional development.
More information and current job opportunities can be found online at http://www3.hants.gov.uk/socialworkers