Careers in adult social work

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About us

Adults' Services

Adults' Services

At West Sussex County Council we are working to transform Adults’ Services by embracing a strengths-based approach and working towards a model that supports local communities and economies.

Our focus is on prevention and reablement, supporting family and friend carers, and helping people maintain their independence and autonomy. Our approach will move away from traditional types of support, towards solutions that work with people to keep them independent for longer and living in their own home and community.

It is important that people have a life, not just a service, and that they value the support they receive. We want to promote wellbeing and ensure people are safe, and we will work alongside our partners to achieve this.

Our social workers change lives. It’s a challenging job and we recognise that to achieve excellent outcomes for our residents, our staff need to feel supported and have opportunities to develop.

We work hard to ensure our adults’ social workers have what they need to be the best they can be and make the most of their experience with us. We have a strong professional support network, from experienced leadership to supportive teams and team managers, providing our workforce with what they need to deliver the best possible outcomes for the adults who need them.

We work to ensure there is the right balance between support and challenge. We have invested in professional development and have clear career progression pathways. We value our staff and encourage them to develop their career with us, from students and newly qualified social workers through to senior and experienced managers.

West Sussex

West Sussex

West Sussex is a beautiful county located on the south coast of England. Within easy reach of sandy beaches and rolling hills, West Sussex also boasts a perfect balance of cosmopolitan towns, such as Crawley and Horsham, and flourishing market towns like Chichester.

West Sussex has so much to offer and is a wonderful place to live, work and play.

If you want to find further information about one of the UK’s most diverse counties, visit Experience West Sussex.

Meet our teams

Community teams

Community teams

Community teams:

  • undertake assessment of need under the Care Act 2014
  • deal with interventions and begin planning for adults with eligible social care needs
  • carry out s.42 safeguarding enquiries
  • undertake assessment of mental capacity
  • make best interest assessments
  • work in partnership with partner agencies, including health, police and housing
  • undertake joint work with occupational therapists in our Independent Living Service.




  • has a focus on prevention
  • responds to enquiries offering high quality information and advice
  • signposts to universal services
  • works with partner agencies to identify needs within initial assessment
  • identifies safeguarding concerns
  • identifies the need for community equipment and assistive technology.



Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards teams

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards teams

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards teams:

  • carry out best interest assessments in relation to Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS)
  • provide specialist advice and support in relation to the Mental Capacity Act 2005
  • support Court of Protection applications where appropriate
  • work in partnership with all other Adults’ Services teams to promote best practice in relation to DoLS and Mental Capacity Act.

Hospital teams

Hospital teams

Hospital teams:

  • undertake assessment of need under the Care Act 2014
  • work in partnership with Health to prevent hospital admission
  • work in partnership with Health to enable timely and safe discharge from hospital
  • identify safeguarding concerns and undertake s.42 enquiries where appropriate
  • work in partnership with reablement and discharge services to achieve better outcomes for people in hospital.

Lifelong Services teams

Lifelong Services teams

Lifelong Services teams:

  • bring together a number of adult and children teams under one service to provide better outcomes for children, young people and adults with lifelong disabilities (learning, physical disability or autism acquired before age 25)
  • provide a consistent approach to working in partnership with people with lifelong disabilities, autism and their families
  • make the best use of community resources to provide a more joined up and coherent experience, enabling individuals to live a good life, as defined by them.

Mental Health teams

Mental Health teams

Mental Health teams:

  • include social workers, community psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists
  • provide a specialist service to people with complex mental health needs
  • undertake assessment of need under the Care Act 2014
  • undertake assessments under the Mental Health act 1983 within our Approved Mental Health Professional Service
  • identify safeguarding concerns and progresses s.42 enquiries.

Prevention and Assessment teams

Prevention and Assessment teams

Prevention and Assessment teams:

  • provide early intervention in order to prevent, reduce or delay needs arising
  • provide high quality information and advice
  • signpost to community-based preventative services
  • include social workers and workers from health and voluntary sector.

Specialist Older People’s Mental Health teams

Specialist Older People’s Mental Health teams

Specialist Older People’s Mental Health teams:

  • provide specialist service for people over 65 with complex mental health needs
  • undertake assessments under Care Act 2014
  • undertake assessments of mental capacity and complex, best-interest assessments, and where appropriate are involved in decision making
  • work in partnership with other Adults’ Services teams and provide specialist support.

Why work for us

Becoming a social worker

Becoming a social worker

The title of 'social worker’ is protected in law for use by those who have qualified and are currently registered with Social Work England (SWE).

Qualification is at degree and Masters level and is a generic qualification that gives grounding in work with adults, children and families. The social work degree may be a two or three year course depending on your previous academic qualifications. It will include two practice placements totalling 170 days and 30 practice skills days over the course.

You will develop your learning and practice according to the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) for social workers at the end of your first and second placement opportunities. You will need to demonstrate that your practice meets these capability standards and this will be assessed throughout the placements.

The PCF can be found on the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) website and will give the descriptors at each level of your training and beyond.

After successful completion of the degree/Masters, you will be required to complete the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), demonstrating that you can meet the requirements of the Knowledge and Skills Statement and the PCF. This needs to be successfully completed in order to continue working as a social worker with West Sussex County Council.

Post-qualifying training is available at universities to support professionals in gaining further skills through academic study. As a social worker, you will be expected to engage in a range of learning and development activities through your career that support and improve your practice and outcomes for service users. These could include:

  • self-study
  • attending conferences
  • training to develop specialist knowledge and skill
  • academic study
  • reading and research.

All social workers are expected to engage in Continuing Professional Development activity on an ongoing basis in order to be able to keep their registration with the HCPC. You will now refer to and map your professional practice, skills and knowledge against the PCF held by the British Association of Social Workers. This gives detail of the nine domains of professional practice that are present throughout every level of social work from pre-qualifying to advanced practice.



Our progression pathways allow individual social workers to choose their own career path, so they can make the most of their experience while working in West Sussex.

All our social workers are provided with the opportunity to progress from qualified social worker to senior social worker through a portfolio route, and are provided with a framework of support, workshops and assessment in order to achieve this.

We value our social work staff and have a track record of supporting further progression to senior practitioner and management roles, providing a management development programme to support this.

The learning and development offer for social workers includes a comprehensive programme of internal and external opportunities. Tracy Davis, Principal Social Worker for Adults’ Services says, “We want West Sussex to support social workers to reach their full potential, to encourage them to progress and develop. If social workers feel supported and have the right level of development for them, then their experience of working in West Sussex is more likely to be both rewarding and fulfilling.”

We also support practitioners to qualify as approved mental health professionals, best interest assessors or practice educators, all of which are accredited and count towards Post Graduate qualification. This means that there is the opportunity to develop within both specialist and non-specialist routes.


Pay and benefits

Pay and benefits

Adults’ social worker pay and benefits include:

  • annual leave of up to 29 days, plus the ability to buy additional annual leave
  • an excellent local government pension scheme
  • flexible and mobile working opportunities supported by our technology
  • access to our high-quality essential training and continuous professional development opportunities which can be tailored to your needs
  • Social Work England fees paid for all social workers up to Grade 12
  • fantastic support for you and your family, including Tax-Free Childcare scheme, career breaks and access to health and financial wellbeing schemes and benefits
  • a range of commuting and business travel discounts and initiatives.

Further information can be found on our Rewards and benefits page.

Staff stories

Keely Fry

We spoke with Keely, a senior social work practitioner, about what she loves about working at West Sussex County Council.

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Gary Mathews

Senior social worker in the Older People’s Mental Health Team, Gary Mathews was interviewed by Community Care about his experience of working at West Sussex County Council. 

One thing came shining through - teamwork. Working together and providing a strong support network is key to our social care teams. 

Read the full story on the Community Care website


Use the link below to apply for one of our adults’ social work vacancies. We are always happy to speak with:

  • assistant care managers
  • social workers
  • senior social workers
  • senior practitioners
  • best interest assessors.
View and apply for adults’ social work jobs (external link) (external link)

Support - Be part of a strong, well-trained team which is both supported and supportive.
Balance - Opportunities for flexible working, with the right help to achieve a good work-life balance.
Develop - Work towards your own progression through Continuing Professional Development and clear career paths.

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