Strong leadership, high aspirations.
That’s Children’s Social Care in Somerset right now. We’re putting our most vulnerable children at the heart of our priorities, and we’re continuing to further improve the support we give to them. Their safety is, and always will be, our number one priority.
We’re on a journey. Our improved Ofsted rating is testament to the hard work and commitment of all of our colleagues. Inspectors have recognised the continuous positive improvement and praised, among other things, appropriate caseloads for newly qualified social workers. They also mentioned that our social workers feel well supported, and are receiving supervision that they value.
Of course, we’re not stopping. We’ll never stop. That’s why we’re looking for social workers that share our passion for improving outcomes for children and their families.
We’ve recently published our Somerset Children and Young People’s Plan 2019 to 2022. It’s the vision of all services working with vulnerable children and families: working in partnership to improve not just single lives but the communities that support these individuals. You can also read our Children and Young People’s Plan.
Spotlight on... Family Solutions Somerset
We’re really proud to have launched Family Solutions Somerset – a new way of working in children’s services in Somerset, designed to support sustainable change to help families thrive.
Family solutions Somerset includes our family safeguarding teams, Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) and Pause and Safe Families. It’s based on our existing principles of systemic working, strength based practice, and relationship based practice.
Whichever team you join, you’ll be working to a family strength-based approach to social work: working with families to enable them to improve their own lives.
Investing in you and your development
Somerset County Council is a learning organisation, with evidenced-based practice at the heart of our work with children and families. We have a clear practice based framework, vision, values, and principles. All of our high-quality professional development opportunities are mapped to the Professional Capabilities Framework, and the Knowledge and Skills Statements. We offer a progressive career pathway depending on whether you wish to step up to a management role, or to be a leader of advanced practice, and take on more complex cases.
We’re also proud to support a range of routes to qualification as a social worker, from apprenticeships, to fast track programmes.
Social Work Academy
Our Social Work Academy brings together all the training opportunities available to help you make the next step in your career. We can offer you:
- Comprehensive and high-quality training, support, mentoring, and supervision to help newly qualified social workers successfully complete their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment programme (ASYE), and build confidence in the transition from learning to practice
- Mentoring for social workers in the second year of practice
- A focus on quality regular reflective supervision for all staff
- Weekly area based Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions led by our consultant social workers
- Training for experienced staff to become accredited practice educators, and supervisors of others.
We support the three-year integrated degree apprenticeship route to qualification. It’s a practice-based route into social work, and apprentices receive a wage whilst studying. The programme incorporates academic and workplace learning and assessment. On completion, apprentices will be eligible to apply to Social Work England to formally formally register as a Social Worker.
Step Up to Social Work programme
The ‘Step Up to Social Work’ programme is an intensive 14-month, full time programme for trainee Social Workers. You’ll work for the council, gaining hands-on experience, as well as academic learning. As part of the programme, you’ll complete a minimum of 170 days’ placement within the teams to gain valuable experience in the field. Other topics covered include social work ethics and practice, child development, and assessment of risk. On completion of the course, trainees will hold a postgraduate diploma in Social work. Bursaries may be available.
You can also qualify through Frontline, the national fast-track programme. You’ll follow a practice-based route to qualification, working closely alongside a consultant social worker. You’ll also attend a five-week summer institute to prepare you before you start the unit. You’ll complete a postgraduate diploma in your first year, and then study towards a master’s degree in the second.
Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)
Our fantastic Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme will help you to make the transition into practicing social work. As part of the programme, you’ll have a protected caseload of up to 50% in the first six months, allowing you to access structured, tailored training, and development opportunities. As part of your learning and development plan, you’ll shadow more experienced staff, have fortnightly supervision for the first six months of practice, and carry out observations and assessments. You’ll also go through comprehensive child protection training.