Careers in adults' social work

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We are looking for experienced adults’ social workers who are passionate about making a difference.

About us

Adults' Services

Adults' Services

As part of our valued workforce you will enjoy:

  • 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
  • development - work towards your own progression through Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and clear career paths.

We want people who live in West Sussex to live long, independent and fulfilled lives. Our priorities to achieve this can be found in Our Council  Plan which focus on maximising people’s independence, ensuring high quality access to services and working alongside our partners to support and safeguard vulnerable adults.

In addition there is a strong commitment to partnership working across health and social care in West Sussex and the foundations are in place to take forward increased integration of commissioning and delivering services.

You can also find information about Our vision and values.

At West Sussex County Council we are transforming Adults’ Services by embracing a strengths-based approach and implementing 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. We find creative solutions to help people be independent for longer, 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. With our strong collaborations with our partners, we will work together to ensure people are safe, physically and emotionally healthy and at the centre of any support they receive.

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.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have adapted to the challenges this has created, maintaining the cohesiveness of our teams through the use of technology and flexible working arrangements.

Our adults’ social workers are given strong foundations to enable them to be the best they can be. We have a strong professional support network, from experienced leadership to supportive teams and team managers. Together, they provide 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

Our adults' community teams provide an exciting and rewarding area of practice, which gives social workers the opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

They work with people who have experienced cognitive and/or physical disabilities over the age of 25, and primarily with older people. The strengths-based approach is embedded within the service to work with individuals to explore their networks of support in the local community and maximise independence.

The teams have excellent working relationships with health colleagues through the proactive care initiative, where social work representatives regularly factor into local GP surgery multi-disciplinary meetings.

The community teams are central to implementing the statutory requirements of Adults' Services, where good understanding of the Care Act 2014 is required. They are proud that their practitioners have the knowledge and expertise to undertake safeguarding enquiries, complete person-centred assessments and reviews through working with multiple partner agencies.



CarePoint provides a first point of contact for customers requiring a needs assessment under the Care Act 2014. It also provides an access and triage point for referrals from the police and an access point for children who require occupational therapy and sensory services' involvement.

The team is comprised of:

  • senior practitioner occupational therapists
  • senior practitioner social workers
  • occupational therapists
  • social workers
  • assessment officers.

The team will start and, in some circumstances, complete a statutory needs assessment with adults who are approaching West Sussex County Council for social care support. Where appropriate, adults requiring ongoing face to face assessment will be passed to community teams.

CarePoint also identifies the needs and eligibility of children who require occupational therapy and sensory services' involvement and, where appropriate, pass through to locality Independent Living teams for further assessment.

Hospital teams

Hospital teams

Our hospital social work teams thrive in a high pace, high pressure environment where they can make a real and positive impact on people’s lives. They have a varied and challenging workload; every day is different and offers an opportunity to learn something new.

Within the hospital, our social workers support the integrated discharge teams by sharing their professional expertise. Together, they work with some of the most complex patients and their families to enable a safe and rapid discharge from the ward. They also work with the emergency departments to avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital.

Within West Sussex, we have implemented a successful 'discharge to assess model'. Much of our hospital social workers' time is now spent carrying out assessments for people recently discharged from hospital. They support them and their families to make decisions about their longer term outcomes, with a strong emphasis on supporting people to return and remain at home, being as independent as possible.

Partnership working is at the centre of our work every day, and is key to the successful outcomes we achieve.

Lifelong Services teams

Lifelong Services teams

Our Lifelong Services teams have a unique focus, supporting young people and adults with lifelong physical disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, and brain injuries acquired at an early age. They also work with adults with sensory impairments acquired at any age (people who are deaf, deafblind or who are visually impaired).

The teams offer a dedicated, strengths-based approach to disability that we know makes a positive difference. Whether they are engaging with people seeking advice, providing equipment or skills training, or starting a journey with people that may lead to a personal budget to meet complex needs, they are always looking to deliver the best outcomes.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards teams

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards teams

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards team (‘DoLS’) is a specialist service dedicated to carrying out the DoLS legal process for adults in care homes and hospitals believed to be deprived of their liberty. Social workers on the DoLS team are all qualified as 'Best Interests Assessors' and carry out best interests assessments to ensure that people’s care arrangements are proportionate, minimally restrictive and in their best interests.

Working on the DoLS team is a great opportunity to develop specialist skills and expertise of the Mental Capacity Act and Human Rights Acts, contribute to Court of Protection cases and gain experience across a wide range of client groups and settings.

Best Interests Assessors work closely with specially trained doctors and advocates and liaise with teams across Adults’ Services to promote good outcomes and best practice within the areas of mental capacity and deprivation of liberty.

Mental health teams

Mental health teams

Mental health social workers work with people experiencing mental illness to empower them to live as independently as possible. They play a crucial part in improving the mental health outcomes for people and work closely with individuals and their family, friends and carers to seek opportunities for people to make positive changes in their lives.

Our mental health social work teams work within complicated legal frameworks to manage some of the more challenging and complex risks for people and their communities balancing human rights and protection.

The teams provide a key counterbalance and social perspective to an often very medical or clinical view about individuals ensuring a holistic, rights-based response. They work in partnership and collaboration with health colleagues in the community and mental health hospital settings.

We have specialist mental health teams based across the county. There are two teams in each of our geographical areas; one working with adults of working age and the other with adults over the age of 65. The people they work with can have a variety of new and emerging or enduring mental illness, as well as mainly older adults living with dementia.

As with our other teams, our mental health teams carry out core statutory duties including:

  • assessments of social care need
  • safeguarding enquiries
  • mental capacity assessments
  • supporting decision making in the best interests for people who lack capacity.

Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) service

Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) service

The role of the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) is to help anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis and requires additional support to access appropriate services. The AMHP will arrange an assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983 and, with the support of the person and the assessing team, determine the most appropriate support to manage their mental health crisis.

If assessment and treatment of their mental health is required, this support may be in the community or a psychiatric hospital. They may also signpost to other services or forms of support if this is appropriate. They must adhere to specific legislation to ensure that decisions made are ethically, morally and legally compliant.

Bespoke training and supervision are provided on an ongoing basis to ensure the AMHP meets the legal requirements of the role efficiently and effectively.

An assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983 usually requires two doctors, one of whom should be specially trained, which is known as an S12 doctor, and an AMHP. The AMHP’s role in the assessment is to bring the social perspective and to ensure that the law is applied. The AMHP is the final decision maker.

West Sussex County Council underwent a transformation of its AMHP service in January 2021 and now operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure an efficient and effective service is available for people across West Sussex.

The service is set up as a hub and spoke model. The hub has dedicated AMHPs who provide the foundations to the service and work solely as dedicated AMPHs.

The system is supported by our AMHP colleagues working in other areas of the business as their main roles, but support the rota on average three times per month. The service benefits from an experienced Lead AMHP on duty who coordinates the shift and receives, triages, prioritises and allocates assessments to the AMHPs on the rota that day.

The AMHP hub covers the entire county of West Sussex and receives referrals from a wide range of sources.

If you want to be part of this highly motivated, skilled and professional team, and have the skills to promote best practice in this specialist service, then this is the role for you. We would love to hear from those who are solely dedicated AMPHs, as well as from those who are social workers and occupational therapists who would like to support the AMHP service in addition to their main role.

Forensic Mental Health Service

Forensic Mental Health Service

The Forensic Mental Health Service works with people who have been, or continue to be, in contact with the criminal justice system. Forensic social workers provide an accountable statutory social work service to those people who access or need it, to include assessment, planning, reviewing and safeguarding enquiries. They work alongside other agencies, dealing with complex family dynamics and managing complex risk levels and legal issues.

Working collaboratively with individuals and family or friend carers to identify people’s strengths, networks and community assets, they will work effectively in partnership with other staff and voluntary agencies and demonstrate a good understanding of all the relevant health, voluntary and private services in the area, as well as remain up to date with relevant legislation and policies and procedures.

Tasks will include:

  • partnership working
  • day-to-day assessment of new referrals
  • caseload management
  • working with families and carers
  • working with clients in crisis while managing risk
  • adult safeguarding
  • working within the relevant statutory frameworks.

In this multi-disciplinary setting, the forensic social worker will also promote knowledge of the specialism and represent social work to other disciplines/agencies. Social workers within this service are also required to be Approved Mental Health Professionals, so will be provided with the opportunity to undertake the training if they are not already qualified.

Safeguarding Enquiries Team

Safeguarding Enquiries Team

Our Safeguarding Enquiries Team is a specialist team of social workers whose main role is to lead and manage large scale organisational safeguarding enquiries. The team is committed to working in partnership with providers of services to ensure the safety and best outcomes for adults living within care home and other settings.

The work of the team can be very challenging and requires skilful communication and negotiation, as well as identification and assessment of risk.

Social workers undertake a wide variety of tasks within formal statutory safeguarding enquiries, including:

  • assessment
  • risk assessment
  • robust risk management planning
  • assessment of mental capacity.

A key aspect of the work undertaken by the team is carried out in partnership and collaboration with a wide variety of other departments, agencies and organisations. The team work closely with:

  • the care home regulator (Care Quality Commission)
  • hospitals
  • other health colleagues
  • the police
  • other social work or occupational therapy teams.

The work is also immensely rewarding and contributes significantly to improvements in the quality of both internal and external services.

Safeguarding Hub

Safeguarding Hub

Our Safeguarding Hub is the single point of contact for all safeguarding referrals for people who have experienced or are at risk of abuse or neglect. The team is made up of both registered social workers and unregistered staff. It’s a busy team and the nature of the work is high paced. The staff in the team carry out all the initial triaging of referrals when a concern is raised.

The team cover the whole of West Sussex and receive referrals from a wide range of sources, including:

  • members of the public
  • concerned family and friends of a resident
  • the police
  • the ambulance service
  • health colleagues
  • care homes
  • other care providers.

Workers within the Safeguarding Hub make decisions about whether referrals need to be taken forward as safeguarding concerns or enquiries, or whether another route is more appropriate, for example, an assessment of the person’s social care needs.

A priority for the team is to ensure the person being referred is kept central to the decision making process. This means seeking their views, or the views of those close to them in terms of what they would like to achieve from the process. It may also mean undertaking assessment of the person’s mental capacity and seeking representation for them where they are unable to make decisions for themselves.

Members of the team are skilled and experienced in ensuring initial safeguarding plans are put in place to minimise risks of further harm or abuse for people.

As with all our teams, partnership and collaborative working is a vital aspect of decision making and the hub have close links with Sussex Police, the ambulance service, Care Quality Commission and health services. They also work really closely with hospital and community teams, both in terms of referring people on after the initial triage and planning and also in acting as a point of contact for safeguarding advice and guidance, frequently supporting other areas of Adults’ Services and less experienced workers.

Why work for us

Our progression

Our progression

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. They 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.

We currently invest in our existing assistant care manager workforce by offering a number of social work degree apprenticeships every year in partnership with local universities. This is an excellent opportunity to train as a social worker while working for West Sussex County Council.

West Sussex is committed to the development of our managers and aspiring managers. We understand that managing teams can be immensely rewarding whilst also being unpredictable and challenging at times and we have a wealth of resources for aspiring, new and existing managers to support their continued development of leadership skills. This includes a dedicated management development programme.

We all know that the world of Adults’ social care is one which is ever evolving and seeking to improve through new and innovative ways of working and recognise the key role our managers play in the success of any new projects and service development. We also provide a range of resources to help both managers and our wider workforce to positively respond to change.


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 (West Sussex County Council employer pension contributions is 24.7% of salary; life insurance is equal to three times your salary for those in the 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 a 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, including car leasing
  • holistic supervision, group supervision/peer networking.

You can find further information can be found on our Rewards and benefits page.

Staff stories

See our staff stories web page which has stories from colleagues who tell us what they like about working for West Sussex County Council.


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

  • senior social work practitioners
  • senior social workers
  • social workers
  • assistant care managers.

View and apply for adults’ social work jobs

Our jobs are currently listed in alphabetical order, so please check all pages for opportunities.


January 2021

January 2021

Lorraine Brown - Winner of our January Living the Values Awards!

These awards are given to staff who are nominated for demonstrating one of the five West Sussex values:

  • Customer centred
  • Listen and act upon
  • Honest and realistic
  • Trust and support
  • Genuinely valued.

Lorraine is an experienced Senior Social Work Practitioner in the Primary Care Networks Northern Team and despite the challenges of having to work from home throughout the COVID-19 period, she has continued to offer strong support and guidance to all team members, from new staff, including newly qualified social workers, to supporting the management.

Lorraine is exceedingly patient, has attention to detail and never avoids difficult conversations. By doing this, Lorraine is able to ensure customers have a high quality of service and that all matters are dealt with appropriately.

This year has been extremely challenging for social work staff and Lorraine has been very supportive to individual staff members working in particularly challenging and stressful situations, therefore ensuring positive customer outcomes and staff wellbeing.

March 2021

March 2021

Praise for our Placement and Social Work Teams - Our Placement and Social Work Teams in Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital have worked throughout the winter to help the safe and efficient discharge of patients. They were praised and thanked for their amazing work by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Congratulations to our newly qualified social workers for completing their Assisted and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) - 16 of our newly qualified social workers successfully completed our ASYE programme, which supports the consolidation of learning and development post qualification. Huge congratulations to you all.

Celebrating social work week - We are celebrating the amazing work that our social workers do this week! We spoke to a couple of our Adults’ social workers to find out how COVID-9 has impacted on their work.

Katy - Community Adults’ social worker

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Sophie - Adults’ social worker

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April 2021

April 2021

Winners of our April Living the Values Awards - Adults’ social workers Louise Williams and Raje Bhatt both received April’s the Living the Values Awards! These awards are given to staff who are nominated for demonstrating one of the five West Sussex values:

  • Customer centred
  • Listen and act upon
  • Honest and realistic
  • Trust and support
  • Genuinely valued.

Congratulations both!

May 2021

May 2021

Laura Richardson received the Living our Values Everyday Award for being Customer Centred - Laura has helped to set up the Adult Safeguarding Hub and, from the start, she has shown dedication, resilience and a passion to make the team a success.

When the Adult Safeguarding Hub was established a new safe performance indicator was developed. The Hub has consistently achieved 93.3% targets of all cases being triaged within five days. This is absolutely fantastic, as the figure was as low as 30% before the Hub was formed.

Laura has been instrumental in shaping a high performing team of assistant care managers and social workers who are examples of dedicated practitioners helping people who are at risk of abuse and neglect. Laura has been an effective manager and leader, providing support and mentoring to her team members who are also customer-focused in their roles.

An audit of the decision-making of safeguarding concerns demonstrated robust and timely decision-making within the team - a true testament to Laura's excellent management of her team. Laura has always focused on making sure that safeguarding is person-centred and that residents are ultimately protected from abuse and neglect. She has also worked well with our professional partners such as the Police, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) and housing teams - all with the goal of making the process of safeguarding as smooth and effective as possible.

July 2021

July 2021

Annaliese Edgington received the Living our Values Everyday Award for trust and support - The Adur Community Team feel trusted by Annaliese, who enables her qualified staff to fully utilise the skills and expertise they have developed. Annaliese is both supportive and available. She is enabling and respectful towards her colleagues and this ethos then feeds into the whole team.

Annaliese trusts, supports, listens and acts upon the needs of her team to benefit the customers they work with by creating a positive and constructive environment for them to use their professional judgement effectively.

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