Best Social Work Employer
Achieving for Children
AWARD(S): Best Social Work Employer
Community interest company Achieving for Children (AfC) faced big challenges when it was set up in 2014 to deliver children’s services across Kingston and Richmond.
Improving the situation in Kingston – which had back-to-back ‘inadequate’ ratings – was a priority. But there was also the need to ensure services remained strong at Richmond, to improve staff morale and stability, and to work within a context of budget cuts.
Changes implemented range from setting up ‘bureaucracy busting’ workshops, via which social workers suggest ways of reducing red tape, to appointing a social secretary with a budget for extra-curricular activities.
Workplaces have been refurbished, development spending has been maintained and staff are involved in suggesting and piloting new practice approaches. Recruitment specialists were brought in to help social work managers fill vacancies.
Two years on there has been significant progress. Kingston’s rating jumped two places, to ‘good’, when inspected in 2015, and its proportion of temporary social care staff fell from 57% to 7% over three years
AfC has been named one of eight ‘partners in practice’ tasked by the government to help drive innovation in social work, and two-thirds of staff said in an autumn 2015 survey that they’d recommend their employer.
WHAT THEY SAID:
This is a new and exciting model for those involved and they are adopting innovation all over. There was clear unity and a sense of leadership which really understood their organisation and what they wanted achieve.
Andrew Ellery, AE Social Care and Education Ltd
Achieving for Children are proving themselves to be a very good organisation. They’ve given a clear professional framework to create coherence where a lot of areas are struggling with this. They are well organised and strong on learning and development.
Ruth Allen, Chief Executive, BASW
The difference that I have noticed is that AFC seems more focused on children and social work than previously, we have been freed up to focus on our core business rather than council issues, and are able to form an identity and culture around this.
Social worker, Achieving for Children
I have worked in social work for many years at a number of local authorities, and I can honestly say I’ve never experienced such a positive atmosphere and commitment to children and young people as I have at AfC.
Alison Twynam, Director of Social Care, Achieving for Children
Essex County Council, Family Operations
SILVER AWARD WINNER
Leeds City Council
North Yorkshire County Council