Our social work teams

The work our social work teams do and how they do it.

"I love being a part of a supportive and friendly team and the close connections I have with my colleagues."

Senior Social Work Practitioner

Our 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 comprises:

    • 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 them through to locality Independent Living teams for further assessment.

  • 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.

    Join our Hospital 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.

  • The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) team 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 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 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 often very medical or clinical views about individuals. Working in partnership and collaboration with health colleagues in the community and mental health hospital settings ensures a holistic, rights-based response.

    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.
  • The role of the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) is to help anyone who is experiencing a mental health crisis requiring 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 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 (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. This provides an efficient and effective service for people across West Sussex.

    The service is set up as a hub with 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.

    Join our Approved Mental Health Professional Team
  • 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. They need to 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.

  • The team specialise in working with service provider and organisational related safeguarding. This includes residential and nursing home, hospitals, supported living services and domestic care providers. We cover all of West Sussex and work with all adult customer service user groups, such as learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health needs and older persons.

    The team undertake Section 42 enquiries or support with devolved enquiries and review safeguarding plans. We aim to make safeguarding personal and work towards achieving the customer’s desired outcomes whilst reducing and preventing the risk of further harm.

    We work with the safeguarding hub and locality teams in identifying themes and providers of concern. The enquiry team then leads the work with the providers, working in partnership with the service provider and the multi-professional team including CQC, police, contract commissioners, nurses and other specialists to address safeguarding themes and complex or high-risk safeguarding concerns.

    • act as single point of contact for all safeguarding adults’ referrals
    • carry out the initial triaging and decision making for safeguarding referrals
    • carry out risk assessments
    • agree and initiate initial safeguarding plans
    • work in partnership with other agencies including police, service providers, housing and so on in relation to managing risk
    • provide support and expertise to Adults’ Services and partner agencies in relation to statutory safeguarding duties and processes.

    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 consists 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. They also frequently support other areas of Adults’ Services and less experienced workers.

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