Diversity and inclusion on the Frontline programme
We are proud of our commitment to increasing the diversity of our Frontline programme cohorts and supporting applicants from underrepresented backgrounds.
Diversity is essential
Frontline is committed to diversity and inclusion in all our work. We know we cannot achieve our mission without including a wide variety of voices, experiences and backgrounds.
The Frontline programme, including elements like our practice hub model, draws its strength from diversity and difference. We are looking for people who can bring different perspectives and experiences to the programme and are committed to advocating for the diverse communities that social workers serve.
Almost a third of the children who social workers support identify as being from a racialised ethnic minority group and over half identify as male. Despite this, only 22% of children’s social workers identify as from racialised ethnic minority groups and a mere 14% identify as male.
To achieve the greatest possible impact for disadvantaged children, we need to address this imbalance and bring more people into the profession from underrepresented groups.
Our aim is to increase the percentage of Frontline programme participants from underrepresented groups, with a focus on racialised ethnic minority groups, lower socio-economic groups and men. Over the past five years, we have increased the percentage of racialised ethnic minority participants on the cohort from 15% to 26%. We will continue to implement a clear diversity strategy and set targets for the percentage of offers made to people from underrepresented backgrounds.
How we are achieving them
To achieve our objectives, we have embraced diversity and inclusion in all of our recruitment efforts.
We work with focus groups of professionals to ensure that our application process adequately supports applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds, including racialised minority groups.
We have expanded our eligibility criteria for the 2024 cohort to widen participation among underrepresented and disadvantaged groups.
We offer contextual recruitment for applicants in underrepresented groups to allow equitable opportunities in the selection process.
We offer additional support to applicants from underrepresented groups during each stage of the application process, including 1:1 coaching and exclusive online webinars.
We employ a diverse team of assessors to ensure different voices and perspectives are considered when assessing an applicant.
How we support participants
Here are some examples of the specific support that we offer participants from underrepresented backgrounds.
People with disabilities
At Frontline, we believe that people with disabilities have an important contribution to make, with unique experiences that benefit the children and families we serve.
Many previous Frontline programme participants with disabilities have completed our training successfully and gone on to practice safely and effectively with or without adjustments to support them. We ensure that our screening, assessment and decision-making processes complement these beliefs, while also considering whether you will be likely to meet our suitability requirements and the professional standards set by Social Work England.
As part of Frontline’s Racial Diversity and Inclusion action plan we are committed to anti-racism and promoting and valuing racial diversity and inclusion. Frontline is committed to a diverse participant community and all the benefits and value such diversity brings.
In addition to our formal policies, processes, and support offer, we have also introduced several additional elements to promote racial diversity and inclusivity and counter exclusion. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and we are open to feedback about how we can further and better support participants from racialised minority backgrounds.
Frontline offers confidential one-to-one coaching sessions for participants from racialised minority backgrounds who may have experienced trauma associated with racism and other types of discrimination, targeting those who are at risk of drop out or withdrawal.
We also deem it important that participants find a sense of belonging on the programme; Frontline facilitates community spaces for participants from racialised minority backgrounds, so they are able to access and develop strong networks of support, a sense of belonging and find support to deal with racism or discrimination in placements or on the programme.
Participants are able to join affinity groups, where people in similar situations can get together to share their ideas, experience, and advice on any elements of the programme or balancing it with your home life. Affinity groups are optional and participant-led with no staff involvement and run throughout the programme.
In order to reflect the diverse communities which social workers serve, Frontline is committed to ensuring that candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds are encouraged to apply to the Frontline programme and supported while practicing social work. Children who enter the care system are more likely to be from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and graduates from lower socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to gain employment in a professional career such as social work, compared to their higher socio-economic peers.
To achieve our aims, Frontline provides coaching calls to candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds, providing application information and assessment centre advice. Our recruitment team monitors our application process to ensure that candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds are not disadvantaged and have adjusted our admissions policies to remove barriers which have disproportionately affected applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
So that candidates can make informed choices before joining the Frontline programme, you can find detailed information about the bursary and finance on our website and read our policy. We do not administer exit fees for those who leave our programme early. Frontline also monitors the experience of candidates while on the Frontline programme based on socio-economic background.
On the Frontline programme, we want our cohorts to reflect the diverse communities that we serve and therefore we aim to increase the representation of marginalised groups within the social work profession. We strive to create an inclusive and supportive environment for everyone and have a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination or prejudice.
LGBTQ+ participants are able to join affinity groups, where people in similar situations can get together to share their ideas, experience, and advice on any elements of the programme or balancing it with your home life. Affinity groups are optional and participant-led with no staff involvement and run throughout the programme.
Frontline has also introduced inclusion passports which is a working document that records and details the support you need, and agreements made with your consultant social worker around how these supports will be achieved to enable you to meet the requirements of your role. This may be helpful for those who require adjustments to the working or learning environment to meet any gender needs.
Find out more
We run regular events that give underrepresented groups an insight into the opportunities and challenges they may face in the social work sector.