Working in Medway

Ann Domeney’s Welcome

Thank you for your interest in working in Medway.

Medway is committed to improving the lives and opportunities of children and young people in the local area and to do that we need social workers who have the ambition and drive to help us on our journey of improvement.

Over the past few years we have redesigned our services to foster highly skilled and motivated social workers, capable of giving the children in their caseload the best service around.

We have made significant investment in training and development, adopted the systemic practice model and launched a new career progression scheme to enable social workers to progress within Medway.

Please take the time to find out more about the opportunities available within Medway.

Ann Domeney - Deputy Director Children & Adults

Our Vision

  • To transform our services, mobilising all available resources through partnership working, in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for children and young people and achieve an Ofsted judgement of 'good'.
  • To ensure we provide the right service for the children at the right time, at the right place.
  • To provide innovative support for families to stay together (where safe to do so).
  • To provide focused, purposeful and evidence based interventions.
  • To mobilise all available resources - partners and children.
  • To fully embed area based working across the service.

Our vision for children’s services supports the delivery of Council Plan priorities, in particular ‘Supporting Medway’s people to realise their potential’; ‘All children achieving their potential in schools’, and ‘Resilient families’.

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Our Service

Medway is a proactive Children’s Services Authority; with stable and permanent political and professional leadership.

Our delivery of children’s services is informed by our vision of achieving positive change for families we work with so that children are safe, services are effective, and families feel supported and enabled to care for their children.

We have established small area-based social work teams, known as pods, each with one practice manager and four social workers. These work with children and families, following assessment, throughout their engagement with statutory social work. This service design was created with the intention of minimising the social work changes experienced by children and families.

We have introduced systemic training for social work staff to support the new model. This is informing interaction and relationships with families and is popular with staff. This informs our approach to social work as part of our overall Strengthening Families model.

We have committed ourselves to an improvement programme of Promoting Practice in frontline services based on the principles of a relationship and strengths-based approach to Strengthening Families. This is aimed at building stronger, more resilient families that can safely care for children and young people.

Supervision and Management Oversight

Our firstline leaders are known as Practice Managers. We have increased the number of Practice Managers to provide focus on practice; each Practice Manager is responsible for the supervision of four (five in First Response Service) social workers.

Since December 2017 each Practice Manager has also had dedicated administrative support. This investment is intended to secure higher levels of management oversight and support to casework. We expect our firstline leaders to provide robust oversight and management grip on case work so that social workers are fully supported in their practice.

Local Area Based Teams

Our pods are split between 4 geographic area teams so you will have the chance to get to know the other professionals working with your families as they will usually be from the same schools, health visiting teams, children’s centres and other local agencies. Our emphasis on relationships mean that we promote consistency of social worker throughout the families’ involvement with Children’s Services. Whether children are supported through a Child in Need plan, or protected through a Child Protection or Child Looked After plan, the same SW pod will keep working with the families, reducing the number of changes in their lives.

Support structure

Our 5-member pod structure (1 manager, 3 experienced SWs and 1 ASYE) embodies our commitment to relationships between the department and our families. While families have a primary worker, they will also have a relationship with the rest of the pod so that they are always able to speak to someone they know and who knows their case. The pod structure allows social workers to collaborate on cases with their colleagues, providing mutual support and access to combined skills and experience.

Group Supervision

Each pod has weekly reflective Group Supervision in which the SWs discuss their cases using the ‘Strengthening Families’ approach. This enables each member of the pod to become familiar with all the cases held within the pod, to ensure that they are able to respond quickly and appropriately in the absence of the primary worker. This model promotes a collaborative approach to working with children and their families and allows social workers to benefit from each other’s skills and experience.

First Response and MASH

Referral

The First Response Service was launched in April 2018 and is comprised of our co-located ‘Single Point of Access’ (SPA), new Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and our social work assessment teams.

The SPA for Children and Families is our front door to Early Help and statutory social work services. To ensure the right children and young people get the right service, qualified social workers, early help co-ordinators and education safeguarding staff assess against the threshold criteria, to make timely and proportionate decisions, led by social work managers.  The SPA receives calls and correspondence from the public and our partners.

The development of the MASH reflects the close partnership between key agencies in Medway and co-locates police, professionals from other Children’s Services Teams, Health and Education Safeguarding. There is additional involvement of virtual partners from Probation and Housing to improve information sharing at the front door.

Assessment

There are four social work assessment teams, responsible for completing Children & Family Assessments and conducting brief interventions.  These teams are split into pods which consist of 1 x Practice Manager and 5 x Social Workers (ranging from ASYE to Senior Practitioner).

Fostering

The Fostering Service comprises the following teams: Recruitment and Assessment: Generic Fostering which supports and supervises carer : Connected Carers which manages assessments of connected carers: Supported Lodgings and Private Fostering workers also sit within the service.

Adoption

The Adoption Team covers all aspects of adoption work, including recruitment and assessment of adopters, family finding for children in need of permanent families and adoption support

Care Leavers

There is a dedicated care leaver’s team which offers a wide range of support across all levels of need and issues, working in partnership with health, Education and other providers of support services to meet the needs of care leavers up to the age of 25.

Residential Care

Medway Council have two children’s homes which are both rated as Good by Ofsted. One home provides residential respite for disabled children alongside day care/after school and holiday care for disabled children. The other home provides accommodation for up to 8 young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Virtual School Medway(VSM)

The VSM is a small team of dedicated education professionals who work to support the education of Medway’s Children in Care and care leavers. The team track educational progress: implement and monitor interventions to help young people in care to achieve their full potential and make a strong contribution towards supporting schools, social workers and foster carers .

Our Service

Medway is a proactive Children’s Services Authority; with stable and permanent political and professional leadership.

Our delivery of children’s services is informed by our vision of achieving positive change for families we work with so that children are safe, services are effective, and families feel supported and enabled to care for their children.

We have established small area-based social work teams, known as pods, each with one practice manager and four social workers. These work with children and families, following assessment, throughout their engagement with statutory social work. This service design was created with the intention of minimising the social work changes experienced by children and families.

We have introduced systemic training for social work staff to support the new model. This is informing interaction and relationships with families and is popular with staff. This informs our approach to social work as part of our overall Strengthening Families model.

We have committed ourselves to an improvement programme of Promoting Practice in frontline services based on the principles of a relationship and strengths-based approach to Strengthening Families. This is aimed at building stronger, more resilient families that can safely care for children and young people.

Supervision and Management Oversight

Our firstline leaders are known as Practice Managers. We have increased the number of Practice Managers to provide focus on practice; each Practice Manager is responsible for the supervision of four (five in First Response Service) social workers.

Since December 2017 each Practice Manager has also had dedicated administrative support. This investment is intended to secure higher levels of management oversight and support to casework. We expect our firstline leaders to provide robust oversight and management grip on case work so that social workers are fully supported in their practice.

Local Area Based Teams

Our pods are split between 4 geographic area teams so you will have the chance to get to know the other professionals working with your families as they will usually be from the same schools, health visiting teams, children’s centres and other local agencies. Our emphasis on relationships mean that we promote consistency of social worker throughout the families’ involvement with Children’s Services. Whether children are supported through a Child in Need plan, or protected through a Child Protection or Child Looked After plan, the same SW pod will keep working with the families, reducing the number of changes in their lives.

Support structure

Our 5-member pod structure (1 manager, 3 experienced SWs and 1 ASYE) embodies our commitment to relationships between the department and our families. While families have a primary worker, they will also have a relationship with the rest of the pod so that they are always able to speak to someone they know and who knows their case. The pod structure allows social workers to collaborate on cases with their colleagues, providing mutual support and access to combined skills and experience.

Group Supervision

Each pod has weekly reflective Group Supervision in which the SWs discuss their cases using the ‘Strengthening Families’ approach. This enables each member of the pod to become familiar with all the cases held within the pod, to ensure that they are able to respond quickly and appropriately in the absence of the primary worker. This model promotes a collaborative approach to working with children and their families and allows social workers to benefit from each other’s skills and experience.

First Response and MASH

Referral

The First Response Service was launched in April 2018 and is comprised of our co-located ‘Single Point of Access’ (SPA), new Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and our social work assessment teams.

The SPA for Children and Families is our front door to Early Help and statutory social work services. To ensure the right children and young people get the right service, qualified social workers, early help co-ordinators and education safeguarding staff assess against the threshold criteria, to make timely and proportionate decisions, led by social work managers.  The SPA receives calls and correspondence from the public and our partners.

The development of the MASH reflects the close partnership between key agencies in Medway and co-locates police, professionals from other Children’s Services Teams, Health and Education Safeguarding. There is additional involvement of virtual partners from Probation and Housing to improve information sharing at the front door.

Assessment

There are four social work assessment teams, responsible for completing Children & Family Assessments and conducting brief interventions.  These teams are split into pods which consist of 1 x Practice Manager and 5 x Social Workers (ranging from ASYE to Senior Practitioner).

Fostering

The Fostering Service comprises the following teams: Recruitment and Assessment: Generic Fostering which supports and supervises carer : Connected Carers which manages assessments of connected carers: Supported Lodgings and Private Fostering workers also sit within the service.

Adoption

The Adoption Team covers all aspects of adoption work, including recruitment and assessment of adopters, family finding for children in need of permanent families and adoption support

Care Leavers

There is a dedicated care leaver’s team which offers a wide range of support across all levels of need and issues, working in partnership with health, Education and other providers of support services to meet the needs of care leavers up to the age of 25.

Residential Care

Medway Council have two children’s homes which are both rated as Good by Ofsted. One home provides residential respite for disabled children alongside day care/after school and holiday care for disabled children. The other home provides accommodation for up to 8 young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Virtual School Medway(VSM)

The VSM is a small team of dedicated education professionals who work to support the education of Medway’s Children in Care and care leavers. The team track educational progress: implement and monitor interventions to help young people in care to achieve their full potential and make a strong contribution towards supporting schools, social workers and foster carers .

Download team structure chart
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Our Staff Say

Professional Development

Professional Support and Development

At Medway we are committed to social work values and recognise social workers are our most important resource. We continue to invest in practice and development to ensure social workers have the right knowledge and skills, so they can deliver highly effective interventions and outcomes for children and young people. We offer a wealth of opportunities to help you with your continuous professional development and will help support you through:-

 

Professional Support

We are committed to establishing a skilled, permanent social care workforce. Medway Social Work Academy has a programme of training and support for NQSWs, qualified and experienced practitioners and managers. The Academy has strong links with local universities and leading London universities, who are social work educators.

The Academy has strong internal and external partnerships and works closely with Medway’s safeguarding leads in order to invest in our social care workforce, who “Make A Difference” for Medway’s service users

We are developing post qualification opportunities to build the expertise of social workers in systemic practice, motivational interviewing, direct work with children and specific techniques such as the Graded Care Profile.

Practice Educating is encouraged to support the learning culture

Leadership programmes from the Institute of Leadership and Management ILM are available and we will be focusing on developing leadership in our first line managers.

Each member of staff has a Personal Development Plan which is specific to their needs. We ensure that staff can build on their SW qualification, develop specialist interests and participate in multi agency groups such as the Medway Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Induction

You will receive a comprehensive induction programme which will be tailored by your manager to ensure that you are successfully inducted in your new role, and understand the Medway approach to working with children and families.

Medway Children and Adults Social Care Academy

 

The aims of the Academy are to:

  • Attract
  • Recruit
  • Develop and
  • Retain

The Academy is forging links with Higher Education Institutions, through the Teaching Partnership, other internal and external partners, such as, the Police Protection team, Legal Services, Housing, Commissioning and Public Health, to name a few, so that partnership working forms a key part of the workforce development plan.

Kent – Medway and South East England Teaching Partnership

Medway has been successful as the lead partner to obtain funding for the Kent – Medway and South East England Teaching Partnership, with Kent County Council, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University from April 2018- March 2020.

Through the Kent – Medway and South East England Teaching Partnership, the local authorities and universities will develop joint approaches to recruitment, curriculum development and delivery, to meet identified needs both for students and qualified social workers. The Signs of Safety and Wellbeing practice framework, Solution Focused, Strengthening Families and Systemic Practice models will underpin social work across Medway Council.

All of our professional development resources are linked to the Professional Capabilities Framework (‘PCF’) and the Knowledge & Skills Statement (‘KSS’) ensuring our workforce is well equipped to deal with not only the local context but the national one, when undertaking any type of development.

Additional Research and Learning Tools

In addition to the above, Medway provides additional research and learning tools for social work staff including membership of Research in Practice (RIP), and Research in Practice for Adults (RIPfA).

We are committed to your professional development and you will receive regular professional supervision in your role to ensure you continue to develop and learn.

Career Progression Pathway

Our career progression scheme provides a mechanism for social workers to be assessed against the Council’s career progression framework alongside the Council’s performance review process..

The scheme allows social workers to demonstrate their ability against the criteria for progression and advance through the career grade.  Social Workers who aspire to managerial roles will be supported in their transition through a wealth of opportunities, including coaching, training and qualifications.

Locally agreed cost of living rises will be applied as and when awarded.

Progression between Levels

Progression from Social Worker to Senior Practitioner will be dependant on the employee demonstrating they have met the minimum standards for progression. This will be assessed annually.

In addition, the employee must have –

  • a performance level of achieving or above
  • not been subject to any formal capability or disciplinary process
  • satisfactorily completed a 6 month probationary period

Progression to the role of Practice Manager, Team Manager and Area Manager is through an application process.

Professional Development

Professional Support and Development

At Medway we are committed to social work values and recognise social workers are our most important resource. We continue to invest in practice and development to ensure social workers have the right knowledge and skills, so they can deliver highly effective interventions and outcomes for children and young people. We offer a wealth of opportunities to help you with your continuous professional development and will help support you through:-

 

Professional Support

We are committed to establishing a skilled, permanent social care workforce. Medway Social Work Academy has a programme of training and support for NQSWs, qualified and experienced practitioners and managers. The Academy has strong links with local universities and leading London universities, who are social work educators.

The Academy has strong internal and external partnerships and works closely with Medway’s safeguarding leads in order to invest in our social care workforce, who “Make A Difference” for Medway’s service users

We are developing post qualification opportunities to build the expertise of social workers in systemic practice, motivational interviewing, direct work with children and specific techniques such as the Graded Care Profile.

Practice Educating is encouraged to support the learning culture

Leadership programmes from the Institute of Leadership and Management ILM are available and we will be focusing on developing leadership in our first line managers.

Each member of staff has a Personal Development Plan which is specific to their needs. We ensure that staff can build on their SW qualification, develop specialist interests and participate in multi agency groups such as the Medway Safeguarding Children’s Board.

Induction

You will receive a comprehensive induction programme which will be tailored by your manager to ensure that you are successfully inducted in your new role, and understand the Medway approach to working with children and families.

Medway Children and Adults Social Care Academy

 

The aims of the Academy are to:

  • Attract
  • Recruit
  • Develop and
  • Retain

The Academy is forging links with Higher Education Institutions, through the Teaching Partnership, other internal and external partners, such as, the Police Protection team, Legal Services, Housing, Commissioning and Public Health, to name a few, so that partnership working forms a key part of the workforce development plan.

Kent – Medway and South East England Teaching Partnership

Medway has been successful as the lead partner to obtain funding for the Kent – Medway and South East England Teaching Partnership, with Kent County Council, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University from April 2018- March 2020.

Through the Kent – Medway and South East England Teaching Partnership, the local authorities and universities will develop joint approaches to recruitment, curriculum development and delivery, to meet identified needs both for students and qualified social workers. The Signs of Safety and Wellbeing practice framework, Solution Focused, Strengthening Families and Systemic Practice models will underpin social work across Medway Council.

All of our professional development resources are linked to the Professional Capabilities Framework (‘PCF’) and the Knowledge & Skills Statement (‘KSS’) ensuring our workforce is well equipped to deal with not only the local context but the national one, when undertaking any type of development.

Additional Research and Learning Tools

In addition to the above, Medway provides additional research and learning tools for social work staff including membership of Research in Practice (RIP), and Research in Practice for Adults (RIPfA).

We are committed to your professional development and you will receive regular professional supervision in your role to ensure you continue to develop and learn.

Career Progression Pathway

Our career progression scheme provides a mechanism for social workers to be assessed against the Council’s career progression framework alongside the Council’s performance review process..

The scheme allows social workers to demonstrate their ability against the criteria for progression and advance through the career grade.  Social Workers who aspire to managerial roles will be supported in their transition through a wealth of opportunities, including coaching, training and qualifications.

Locally agreed cost of living rises will be applied as and when awarded.

Progression between Levels

Progression from Social Worker to Senior Practitioner will be dependant on the employee demonstrating they have met the minimum standards for progression. This will be assessed annually.

In addition, the employee must have –

  • a performance level of achieving or above
  • not been subject to any formal capability or disciplinary process
  • satisfactorily completed a 6 month probationary period

Progression to the role of Practice Manager, Team Manager and Area Manager is through an application process.

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