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Council invests £500,000 in social work training

Published on Friday, April 21, 2017

The city council is investing £500,000 in a new training programme for staff working in children’s social care.

The programme, called ‘Signs of Safety’ will help social workers to raise standards and improve the way they liaise with families.

The programme is originally from Australia and is well-established in the UK. It involves setting up a consistent, rigorous way of working that firmly puts children’s needs first and simplifies the language used when working with families. As a result, families feel better understood and more involved.

Cllr Sarah Russell, assistant city mayor responsible for children, young people and schools, said: “When we were inspected by Ofsted in January 2015, one of the things they identified as needing improvement was a clear and consistent way of working that would apply to all relevant staff.

“We’ve made many positive changes since that inspection, and now that we have a stable workforce, the time is right to introduce the ‘Signs of Safety’ method.

“We firmly believe this will help us to further improve the quality of our work. It’s a system already used and valued by many other social workers in the UK – including in neighbouring local authorities, which is good for continuity and means many of our partners are already used to it.

“This method encourages staff to be more open to different ideas, to look at the strength of family networks and to empower families to make better decisions.

“But crucially, it puts children first, focusing on clarifying the impact of risks to children.

“Evidence suggests that families prefer this way of working and that staff who use it have increased job satisfaction.”

Training will be delivered to around 865 staff working in children’s social care and early help services, and is set to start next month (May).