proposed changes to carrying out and recording CPD, which will come into force in December 2021. Under the proposals social workers would record at least two pieces of CPD each year in their online account, one of which would be on a theme determined by SWE.
BASW runs a CPD accreditation scheme and launched its own CPD programme in 2019. New developments include weekly workshops aimed at practicing social workers and students on placement and weekly one hour lunchtime workshops. Learning outcomes are aligned with SWE requirements. BASW’s e-learning series Theory to Practice has covered issues including parental substance misuse, contextual safeguarding and remote working. BASW also runs a mentoring scheme, initially for newly qualified social workers, but expanded to cover social workers seeking advice on returning to social work and overseas social workers needing advice and guidance on working in the UK. What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) has launched a three-part free training programme to support practitioners with evidence-based practice.
Practice supervisors The Practice Supervisor Development Programme has delivered CPD for more than 1,100 social workers over the last three years, including face-to-face learning, group and one-to-one practice development sessions and self-directed study. During 2020 delivery moved to virtual platforms, and there are plans for 35 virtual cohorts in 2021. The programme has been extended with up to 700 additional places.
A course for managers of practice supervisors was launched in 2020. A further 12 cohorts are on offer during 2021.
Systemic social work Systemic practice is a way of working that focuses on relationships and working in collaboration with families and professional networks. The Centre for Systemic Social Work was launched by Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith & Fulham councils in 2017. The DfE-funded centre provides training programmes for practitioners, supervisors and leaders.
The centre offers three 15-day courses: the Certificate in Systemic Social Work Practice with Children and Families for practitioners, the Certificate in Systemic Social Work Supervision and Management for managers and supervisors, and the Intermediate
(Year Two) Course in Systemic Practice with Children and Families, as well as a six-day Systemic Leadership course. It also runs a national Practice Leadership Development Programme for aspiring practice leaders.
Social workers in schools A DfE-funded WWCSC project placing more than 140 social workers in schools across 21 local authorities has been extended to March 2022. The project aims to find out if placing social workers in schools can build better relationships between social workers, schools, and families, and improve outcomes.
Child protection The Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse delivers training in preventing, identifying, and responding to child sexual abuse. Training has moved online during the pandemic, reaching more than 2,000 professionals. The centre launched new courses in 2020 and 2021, covering harmful sexual behaviour and sibling sexual abuse. Longer programmes include a Train the Trainer course and the Child Sexual Abuse Practice Leads Programme.
The NWG Exploitation Network offers a range of foundation- and advanced-level courses covering child sexual exploitation and wider exploitation suitable for organisations within the statutory and voluntary sector. The courses are accredited and count towards CPD.
The Frontline fast-track graduate programme aims to ensure trainees get the experience they need, while also bringing high-calibre graduates into child protection social work. The programme has received DfE funding to run a cohort in 2022. Participants undergo an intensive five-week residential training programme followed by two years working in a local authority child protection team while studying towards a masters qualification. In their first year, successful participants qualify as a social worker. In their second, they complete their ASYE. Lancaster University is Frontline’s higher education partner.
Frontline also runs the Firstline 10-month leadership development programme for social work managers. A DfE evaluation published in May 2021 reported the programme improved attendees’ levels of confidence and increased their expertise and ability to lead teams of frontline staff. The evaluation found 99 per cent of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the training. There are 89 participants in the autumn 2020 cohort while 92 started in spring 2021. Another cohort will
NEW FRONTLINE PROGRAMME FOR HEADS OF SERVICE In May 2021 social work charity Frontline launched the Headline programme, aimed at heads of service within local authority children’s services. Heads of service sit above team managers and below directors and assistant directors of children’s services.
The 12-month programme aims to equip leaders with the skills and knowledge to deal with a range of challenges, identified through research and consultation with sector experts, local authorities and experts by experience. These include keeping children and families at the centre of social work practice, developing an inclusive workforce, and cultivating effective multiagency relationships. It also aims to develop participants’ strategic leadership skills and knowledge to maximise the impact they have on their service, teams and ultimately children and families.
After completing the programme, Headline leaders will join the Frontline Fellowship, a community of social workers who continue to develop their skills, share excellent practice and scope ideas and initiatives that will bring sustainable change for children and families.
begin training at the end of September 2021 and two cohorts will take place in 2022.
Looked-after children In July 2021, the government published the results of a consultation on the regulation of the children’s home workforce. The majority of respondents felt professional registration would improve recruitment and retention. There was a consensus that professional standards should be established for people in care roles in children’s homes. The government has said it will keep the recommendation for a professional register for residential child care “under review”.
The National Centre for Excellence in Residential Child Care relaunched in January 2021 with the aim of developing and supporting access to theory, policy, practice and research. “We see less sharing of practice across providers than previously,” says principal partner Jonathan Stanley.
Private companies run over 80 per cent of children’s homes, with the remainder run by local authorities or the voluntary sector, meaning pay and conditions vary. “There is a need for one pay scale and one set of terms and conditions across the sector,” says Stanley. The centre is working on the creation of an association for registered managers and workers in children’s homes.
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