the project to shake up the recruitment of social workers
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As part of its role of partner in practice, improvement partner and independent advisory, Achieving for Children (AfC) has spent a lot of time working with struggling authorities.
A common problem is that by the time improvement partners enter these boards, many social workers have left, to be replaced by agency staff, if necessary.
AfC is developing “AfC Prime”, an initiative that will see permanent social workers seconded to these authorities, so that improvement partners and boards themselves know they have a full workforce on which to work. they can count. The project is supported by additional funding from the government’s Partners in Practice program.
AfC Director Prime Andrew Thorne said the intention is that you can be based anywhere and still be employed by AfC.
“Where did the idea come from that it’s okay to undertake improvement plans, to talk to managers and deputy managers about recruiting plans, but if you don’t have the social workers?” in the field to implement the improvement plan, you’re a bit stuck.
“The intention is to go with an improvement plan and social workers and managers to help implement that plan.”
For the community, this means a guaranteed workforce for a period relevant to its development path and as it recruits permanent staff, at a cost no greater than the recruitment of social workers from agency. Meanwhile, social workers would get an open-ended contract and the related benefits, such as access to AfC training, while also having the agency lifestyle of being able to travel to different locations. for different periods.
Once their secondment is over, they can return to one of AfC’s central authorities to help the support teams there.
AfC can differentiate itself from a recruiting agency by the support it can offer, explains Thorne. “I’m quite used to putting agency staff in failing authorities, as a former social worker I also used to say, ‘If you have any problems, call me and tell me this. that is happening “.
“What AfC Prime will do is formalize this. We still have formal oversight within AfC, they will be properly supported and changes that need to be driven can also be done with AfC managers. “
The right caliber of social workers
Thorne says the way to mitigate the challenges posed by this model – such as an increased risk of burnout from sending social workers to high-pressure work environments – is through support but also recruitment.
“I think it’s about getting the right caliber of social workers. Those who already have strong values, they are not going to be overthrown by negative people around them. “
He adds, “If you’re feeling stressed you can call someone, constantly being able to connect to that, if you’re an experienced social worker you take help where you can get it. What we do is provide that ongoing support. Sometimes you don’t need to talk to someone for two or three weeks, or sometimes you can talk to someone three times a day, and that’s what we’ll guarantee, I think that’s a really important point.