12 August 2016

Northamptonshire County Council has successfully applied to be part of a public sector mentoring project to look at ways to improve the retention of children’s social workers.

In March, Ofsted recognised that there have been significant improvements in the county council’s children’s services, but identified that there was still work to do to establish a stable and competent workforce in order to deliver further improvements.

Children's trust

Northamptonshire has now been approved to join the Design in the Public Sector development programme to look at the recruitment and retention of children’s social workers as the department begins its transition into a children’s trust.

Northamptonshire currently has one of the highest proportions of children’s social care agency staff (43%) in the country.

County council cabinet member for children’s services Cllr Matthew Golby said: “Our mission is to create a stable and able workforce that delivers the highest quality help and support to families across Northamptonshire.

“By establishing a children’s trust, we are confident that we can attract and retain committed, good-quality social workers as it will offer us the freedom to develop attractive recruitment packages, thereby reducing our reliance on costly agency workers.

“This development programme will enable us to further explore the recruitment and retention opportunities moving into a children’s trust can offer, while benefiting from the support of public sector experts.”

Intensive support

The Design in the Public Sector programme is delivered by Design Council and funded by the Local Government Association and is a 120-day programme involving peer-to-peer learning and intensive training and coaching.

More than 40 projects across the UK have already received support through the programme.

The creation of a children’s trust in Northamptonshire is part of the county council’s Next Generation Council model and will see a standalone trust commissioned by the council to deliver children’s services on its behalf.