The government's Social Work Task Force recommended that employers of social workers develop standards for setting out the support and working conditions they should provide.
West Sussex County Council carries out an annual 'health check' survey with social workers. The following summary report includes key highlights, areas to improve upon and work in progress.
- 82% of respondents agreed they have the right level of professional support for their jobs.
- 85% of respondents agreed they have the right level of support from their line manager.
- 92% of respondents agreed that they have access to their line manager to discuss issues or decisions outside of supervision.
- 49% of respondents agreed that the work staff do in Children’s Services makes ‘a real difference’ to improve the wellbeing and safety of children and young people in our care.
Areas to improve on
- 56% of staff spending time on tasks that could be completed by someone else.
- Respondents were least satisfied with their salaries (68%) and mostly satisfied with annual leave (77%), pension (84%) and allowances and expenses (74%) in their reward package.
- Over 50% of respondents used flexi-time and exercise as methods to assist with their wellbeing.
- More than four in 10 respondents felt they had not received regular feedback about the outcomes of management meetings.
Work in progress
We are looking at the role of embedded coordinators to see how their role can consistently support the teams they work with and the tasks they are required to complete. Updates about this will follow in due course.
We have implemented a career pathway for our social workers on Grade 9 to progress to Grade 10, and for Grade 10 to progress to Grade 11. In addition to this, we have added a market supplement to social workers on grades 9, 10 and 11. The first two supplements were paid in April and October 2017 and the final two supplements to be paid in April and October 2018.
We recognise the importance of working flexibly. Social workers are encouraged to write to their managers to apply for nine-day fortnights if they wish to compress their hours. We are also encouraging staff to discuss additional hours worked and agree taking time back with their managers.
In addition, we have raised awareness of our career break scheme and invite staff to apply for a career break in 2018 by writing to the Head of Children’s Social Care, Sarah Daly, who will review applications.
Human Resources are working with managers to develop an improved working environment in each service area. This programme will have been delivered by January 2018.