Investing in you, investing in Newham
We are looking for a specific type of person to join our workforce. The length of your experience is not as important as your willingness to learn, to engage and to contribute. Children's Social Care is a rewarding but challenging occupation, and 2020 has certainly been a year of challenge. The pandemic, the developments around how race is dealt with in society (especially important in the most ethnically diverse authority in the country), and more locally the challenge of building improvements where most of the workforce is working remotely have been constants of 2020 and will continue into 2021.
We need Social Workers and managers who are compassionate, resilient, supportive of their colleagues, creative in how they support families, mindful of how our children and families have responded to the developments of 2020, and who understand that the work of meeting challenges today is the only way we will build a better tomorrow.
If you can provide the right attitude, we can provide the training and development opportunities you will need to develop and grow as a professional. A talented and dedicated social worker can move into management, or one of our specialist teams (e.g. SEND or Divert!), or become a CP Chair or IRO, teaching at a partner university, become a systemic family therapist, or a range of other opportunities. In Newham we believe in “growing our own”, where possible, and the improvements we are working towards will be best achieved with people in these roles who have worked in and know the community.
Our Practice Fundamentals programme is our primary method of educating staff on the Newham Together Practice Model. There are three ‘pillars’ which we are focusing on – Assessments, Direct Work, and Supervision & Oversight. These together will produce practice which is Planned, Purposeful and Focussed.
Although named separately, these pillars are interconnected (as indicated by the ribbon in the graphic). For example, the use of direct work in undertaking assessments, and supervision being used to ensure that workers' analysis is given appropriate critical reflection.
Delivery of this programme will be through dedicated and regular sessions which all staff will attend. These sessions will examine core aspects of the identified pillar in the context of systemic practice.
Weekly lunchtime sessions run by the Family Therapist team will provide bite-sized presentations and discussions looking at a particular piece of basic practice. As an example of what these are like, click here to listen to the presentation on the use of chronologies.
We are investigating whether coaching can be provided for teams to assist embedding this practice though group supervision.
Our Systemic Offer
Our systemic offer is comprehensive and over a minimum of four years would potentially enable a social worker to obtain a Masters in Family Therapy. It breaks down as follows:
- Introduction to Systemic Practice – all permanent and agency staff have access to this
- 5 day course – all permanent staff have access to this
- 15 day accredited course – This is run once a year and practitioners need to have completed the 5 day course and is contingent on remaining in Newham for a minimum of one year following the course.
Internal Training Opportunities
Aside from the Practice Fundamentals training above, Newham provides significant training for staff delivered by our internal experts. Some examples include:
- Training and use of an evidence-based Direct Work Toolbox developed by our in-house experts. Click here for a sample of our Direct Work toolkit.
- Working with Men who have used violence or abused – Click here for a sample of our Working with Men toolkit
- Social Care and Education – Education is the partner we work with most often, so it is important that we understand each other’s processes and requirements.
- Reg 24, Private Fostering and Connected Carers – children might live away from their birth families for many reasons aside from being in the care of the local authority. This ensures that workers are aware of what these look like and the different procedures and policies required.
- Child Health (including children in care) – run by Newham’s local safeguarding nurse and doctor, this covers the health needs of children with an emphasis on ensuring children in care get the attention they require.
- Many others including Preparing for CP Conferences, Looked-After Reviews, engaging adolescents, discovering family history, reviewing abuse and neglect, etc, etc.
Newham Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSCP)
Our local Safeguarding Partnership provides regular training for all professionals working with children in the authority. All social care staff have the option of joining this training. It includes short sessions such as Perinatal Mental Health, Life Story Work, and the Graded Care Profile. It also provides long courses which take place over days or weeks including Trauma Informed Practice (4 sessions), Complex and Contextual Safeguarding (8 sessions), and Prevent (mixed learning).
Identifying and booking on Training
Training is publicised every month through our internal monthly newsletter, Learning Curve – click here for an example. Each issue looks three months ahead, so you will always be aware of what training opportunities are upcoming. Booking is as simple as clicking on the link in the newsletter (once your manager has approved)
Careers Fair to get you where you want to be
As stated above, we are enthusiastic about “growing our own” senior and specialist staff, so that people in senior positions have had actual experience working in the local community. In summer 2021 we will be holding a Careers Fair day, where senior workers will provide presentations about what their role actually involves and what front line workers should do if they are interested in working towards a particular position. Workers interested in progressing towards a specific role will have the opportunity to have a 1:1 discussion with someone who currently occupies that role, and the Workforce Development Service about undertaking the training relevant to achieving that goal.
Assessed and Supported Year of Employment
Senior managers in Newham recognise the importance of Newly Qualified Social Workers having a positive and consistent experience in their first year of practice. The department is investing heavily in NQSWs as those who have had a positive, constructive, educational year are more likely to be knowledgeable and skilled social workers who want to remain in the authority for some years. NQSWs benefit, the service benefits and the children and families of Newham really benefit. We aim to run two cohorts a year, starting in April and September.
Newham has a new ASYE programme designed to teach NQSWs about the journey of the child through the system, the basics of good practice and purposeful recording. Each month has a theme (e.g., Assessments or Planning) involving a training day in the first week, an expectation that their manager will give them relevant work to implement this training, and at the end of each month is a discussion group to discuss their various experiences and explore issues raised. The ASYE is run by the Workforce Development Service Manager, so if any of the NQSWs have a query or concern they have a Service Manager outside of their line management they can approach who has the ability to address any problems they may have. The 5-day Systemic Practice course is included in the second half of the ASYE.