Worcestershire County Council has launched a new Social Work Academy in a bid to improve the confidence and skills of social workers across the local authority.
The academy, which started last week, will comprise of a comprehensive information hub for all social workers across the local authority with the idea that staff will be able to access more easily training, learning and development opportunities. The launch is running alongside the county council’s “Celebrating Social Workers” Week, which is aimed at improving knowledge of the profession, staff morale, recruitment and retention.
The announcement comes just three months after claims by a former children’s services employee about ‘cash-saving measures being put ahead of youngsters’ wellbeing’, social workers having unmanageable caseloads and workers not receiving the support they needed.
However, it is hoped that this new quality based provision within the local authority will only further aid and support those within the profession. Coun Adrian Hardman, cabinet member for Adult Services, said: “It is extremely important our workforce continues to improve, and all staff are thoroughly supported and encouraged to better their knowledge of Social Work. The Social Work Academy will allow easier access to all of the excellent training and professional development that is already taking place in Worcestershire.
“The launch of improved services like the Social Work Academy will hopefully help us attract the very best social workers to the county, and further highlight the positive reasons why Worcestershire is a great place to live and work.”
There are now a number of excellent projects running across the UK to support and address the systemic issues of social work recruitment, retention and development. For example, we recently reported how nine local authorities were changing adult social care by developing community-led social work practice. The results thus far indicate improved staff morale, quicker response time for those seeking support as well as improved budget savings.