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Looked-after children report reinforces importance of national social worker training framework

Today’s report into looked-after children reinforces the importance of steps being taken to keep more experienced social workers on the frontline.

The Care Council says the report (National Inspection of Safeguarding and Care Planning of Looked After Children and Care Leavers Who Exhibit Vulnerable or Risky Behaviours) from the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) highlights some of the issues that its £1.8m training programme for social workers is designed to tackle.

Gerry Evans, Care Council Director of Regulation and Professional Standards, said: “The CSSIW’s report is to be welcomed. It confirms our understanding that employers have greater difficulty in recruiting and retaining experienced social workers than newly-qualified staff, especially in children’s services.

“Over the past 10 years, vacancy rates for social workers in local authorities have fallen from 15 per cent to seven per cent. However, certain challenges remain, including supporting newly-qualified workers who work in child protection and developing experienced social work managers.

“We have developed a training framework for social workers’ career progression that will encourage more to stay in frontline practice. It will strengthen the quality of social work practice, build on practitioners’ initial qualification and strengthen their ability to make well-informed, professional judgments.

“In partnership with local authority employers and the Social Services Improvement Agency, we have also developed a training programme specifically for first-line managers of social workers which addresses specific skills needed by those managing frontline practitioners,” he added.