We work closely with our local authority partners to improve the effectiveness of their social work practice and, most importantly, deliver the best outcomes for children and families.

You can view our partnerships brochure or read on to find out more. 

What we do

We deliver innovative social work practice and leadership programmes and are building the Frontline Fellowship – a community of leaders committed to social change for children who don’t have a safe or stable home. We currently partner with over one third of local authorities across England. Join us and become part of this movement.

Watch the video to find out about how we’ve worked together with Manchester City Council, our very first local authority partner.

Benefits of partnering with us

Enable excellent practice

Our model of training is innovative, with a clear framework that focusses on systemic practice, motivational interviewing and evidence-based
parenting interventions. We emphasise excellent practice and positive measurable outcomes.

We will work with you to ensure your staff are equipped to be effective practitioners and managers who achieve the best outcomes for
children and families.

Gain new staff who are practice ready

Access a diverse pool of talented, practice-ready new staff with high potential. Our selection process is rigorous and we take an innovative
approach to teaching on the Frontline programme, combining evidence-based methodologies with learning on the job. This means social workers are more prepared for the demands of statutory social work.

You will gain master’s qualified social workers, who will join your service with a heightened level of awareness and theoretical knowledge. The master’s is achieved through action research which requires social workers to develop advanced practice expertise, ensuring they
bring real value to your organisation.


  • Cardiff Evaluation – An independent evaluation of the Frontline programme by Cardiff University found evidence of the impressive practice skill of Frontline participants, and recognised their ability to develop strong collaborative relationships. Read the report.
Upskill and retain your workforce

Benefit from our high-quality training for your existing team. Our Frontline and Firstline programmes provide excellent training opportunities to develop experienced practitioners’ skills and ensure they are engaged and motivated. The programmes offer learning opportunities and career progression, as your staff use their skills to develop the professional expertise of new and existing members of your workforce.


  • Consultant social workers – On the Frontline programme, each unit of up to five trainee social workers is led by a consultant social worker (CSW). We’ll work with you to identify key members of staff who are suitable to train as a CSW. This role gives your strongest practitioners the chance to remain in a practice-based role, while giving them the opportunity to lead and manage a unit. All CSWs are offered a 21 day CSW development training programme, and have the opportunity to work towards professional qualifications, including the Practice Educator Professional Standards at stage two, and Postgraduate Certificate in Systemic Practice. 
  • Social work managers –  The Firstline programme develops good social work managers into high performing, considered and influential leaders. Strengthening the leadership of this important group has a profound effect on the practice systems within which they work, improving the quality of social work supervision and the management of social workers.
  • Centre for Child and Family Research (CCfR, Loughborough University) – An evaluation of the Firstline programme found it had significant impact on social work leadership. Those undertaking the programme were “overwhelmingly positive”, with many considering it “the best training and professional development they’ve received as managers and leaders.” Their teams also reported improvements in a number of key areas such as their ability to learn and develop others, hold people to account and exercise resilience and self-reflexivity. There are also tangible links to retention of managers; a number who completed the programme, and had been planning to leave their posts, decided to stay, while others had secured or were considering applying for more senior positions. Read the report.
Access knowledge and learning across the profession

Our programmes provide opportunities to share knowledge, develop skills and attend training across the country, keeping your staff
motivated and connected to developments across the profession.

Both leadership seminars and regional research and practice forums enable staff across your service to hear from leading thinkers and system influencers.

On completion of our programmes, your staff will join the Fellowship — a movement of outstanding individuals working to address social disadvantage. Members benefit from being part of a network of skilled individuals, enabling them to consult peers and attend practice related events, which further energises them in their work. Most importantly, they will be supported to develop their skills and keep learning new ways to bring about positive change for children and families.

Save on operational costs

Save time and money as you gain up to five new practice-ready social workers. We cover all costs relating to the attraction, selection and
recruitment of participants for our programmes. For the Frontline programme, this includes all references, health and DBS checks.

Develop and grow a culture of leadership

As your new recruits from the Frontline programme grow under the guidance of consultant social workers, they will use their
personal leadership to bring about lasting change within families.

Managers will be developed to even more effectively support and empower their social workers. They will work in their teams to bring
about positive change within your organisation. Working together, those trained by Frontline will be empowered to develop strong, influential
relationships with their peers and partners from other organisations, to improve their practice systems.

  • Case study
    Doing the Frontline programme has given me a passion I didn’t know I had and has opened up a world of opportunities.
  • Case study
    The consultant social worker role was an exciting opportunity to do something different but continue working in a way which I am really passionate about.
  • Case study
    Firstline has helped me look at how I manage my staff. It’s helped me identify that whilst I’m good at managing performance I’m not great at interacting with extreme levels of emotions.
  • Firstline leader
    The Firstline programme has really improved the motivation of participants who now have the confidence to try different approaches to difficult situations.
  • Case study
    Frontline has provided a varied, dynamic and challenging model of practice with families, which has impacted positively on the development of the students, managers and practitioners within the teams.

How our programmes work

The Firstline programme is an intensive 10 month leadership development programme designed specifically for social work, to develop good managers into high performing, considered and influential leaders. We equip them with the tools and techniques to more effectively support and improve their teams to deliver better outcomes for children and families.

Through the Frontline programme we attract, select, train and place career changers and graduates directly within children’s services teams. Our intensive, practice-focused training provides a high quality learning experience and produces newly qualified social workers, ready to work with children and families.

We also develop your experienced social workers through our consultant social worker role and development programme.

Where we work


Frontline partners with over one third of local authorities across England. We work with partners in the North East, Yorkshire, North West, Midlands, London, South East, South West, East Anglia and East of England.

We are working with around 70 local authorities throughout England.

Want to know more?

You can find out more about how partnering with us works in our partnerships brochure. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our programme teams directly using the contact form below. 

Download our partnerships brochure

Get in touch

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