We are hugely excited to announce that Frontline and Birmingham City Council will be partnering as part of plans to expand the Frontline programme into the West Midlands in 2017. For Frontline, this marks the launch into our fourth region and is an excellent opportunity to bring more outstanding individuals into social work. For the council, this is a chance to improve the quality of social work and provide a new route into the profession in the city.
Social work is one of the country’s most important professions, because it’s social workers who are vital in transforming lives for some of the most disadvantaged, marginalised and vulnerable children. At its best, social work is about intervening at the right time with skill to keep children safe and help them achieve a stable home life. The art is balancing the need to build a great relationship with holding and working with risk. It’s about demonstrating grit, determination, empathy and leadership. The new partnership between Frontline and local authorities across the West Midlands is all about promoting this type of social work.
This all matters because the latest data shows that the West Midlands region has nearly 100,000 children identified as being ‘in need’, which is well above the national average. Frontline itself was set up as a charity in 2013 with a focus on bringing new talent into social work to help address this kind of social disadvantage which is faced by too many children in England.
Yet Frontline will be just one of a number of initiatives taking place in Birmingham City Council as part of efforts to improve support for children.
Peter Hay, Director of People has said: “Working through the council’s improvement plan, Birmingham are investing in children’s services allowing us to improve staffing, reduce workloads and strengthen supervision. All of this is accompanied by our focus upon delivering great social work, and a strong voice for social work is embedded in our Chief Social Worker.”
“Such initiatives are already beginning to result in real improvements, with the average caseload per social worker having been reduced from 30 to an average of 15-20 over the past year. Staff turnover has also been reduced from 20.5% to 16.8%, and the percentage of agency staff has also been reduced from 30% to 23.5% over the same period.”
“Of course, there is still more work to be done. There remains a huge amount to do to reach a point where Birmingham is seeing consistently good outcomes for all its children. Yet we are excited by the arrival of Frontline as a partner in that journey and with our shared commitment to developing skilled and ambitious social workers what will underpin the success of our city.”
Later this summer Frontline will be open for applications for the 2017 cohort. Frontline offers graduates and career changers the opportunity to develop leadership skills, achieve a Master’s degree and address a major social need all as part of a Times Top 100 graduate programme.
Those applying for the programme will be able to indicate a preference for working in the West Midlands. If you are interested in applying to the two year leadership development programme you can register for updates here.
Frontline, Birmingham City Council and other local authorities in the region are looking forward to working together in the coming years to bring more great people into social work, improve the quality of support offered to families and ultimately to address social disadvantage.
Child in Need figures for 2014-15- https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2014-to-2015