Annual Report of the Adults Principal Social Worker 2020-2021

Key Achievements and Developments

The work of the Adults Principal Social Worker (PSW) Andrew Errington for Coventry City Council during 2020-2021. A year spent working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is a PSW?

Care Act 2014 states a PSW should:

  • visible across the organisation
  • support and develop effective conditions for practice
  • oversee quality and improvement of practice
  • have direct contact with the Adults Director and front-line practice

The PSW for Adults, Andrew Errington commenced in post in July 2016 and is the Head of Safeguarding and Practice Development. Andrew reports to the Director of Adult Services Pete Fahy.

Meeting Standards

  • Supporting the relaunch and embedding of the Post Qualifying Standards for SW Practice Supervisors across the WM region
  • Supporting team leaders and supervisors to develop peer/group supervision. PSW also started peer and group supervision with Team Leaders/supervisors
  • Purchased reflective, theory and self-cards practice for every supervisor to use
  • Prepared practitioners for the first renewal with their Social Work Regulator ‘Social Work England’ via team briefings and workshops (Priority for 2020-2021)
  • Produced a Performance Management and Quality Improvement Framework for Adult Social Care

Practice Quality

  • Practice Quality Assurance Framework with new simplified audit system. Includes observation of practice, practice and supervision audits. Allows organisational view on practice issues (Priority for 2020-2021)
  • 291 audits undertaken in 20/21
  • ‘enables more in depth and reflective case discussions with the practitioner’
  • Supported practitioners to respond to the first national Social Work Health Check, our response showing more favourable than regional and national averages

Safeguarding Adults

  • Supporting the work of the Safeguarding Board through chairing the Workforce Development and Policy subgroups. Board multi-agency learning events on hot topics, re framed as virtual events including those on MCA and MSP
  • 160 people attended the MSP event
  • ‘Best MSP training ever - it was powerful in every sense’
  • Shielding Lead for Coventry City Council overseeing the support to 28k people over 3 waves of ‘shielding’ those identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

Workforce Development

  • Updated the Learning and Development portfolio for Adult Services in response to COVID-19, ensuring access to a range of relevant and current virtual training opportunities
  • 92 training events relevant to Social Work attended by 1091 staff
  • Hosted a 4th ‘virtual’ annual practice week with the Children’s PSW providing access to a week of practice focused events
  • New training opportunity identified for unqualified staff via an apprenticeship to support professional development commencing in 2021/22
  • Training lead for Liberty Protection Safeguards, preparing learning and development activities in advance of implementation

Strength Based Approaches

  • Strength-based Practice Framework and Toolkit published and undertook an initial evaluation of our approach (priority for 2020-2021)
  • Co-produced with practitioners a new direct work resource with a range of tools to support communication and engagement
  • Documentation redesigned to be less prescriptive and bureaucratic with SW practitioners self-authorising or closing their own assessments to promote professional responsibility and autonomy.
  • Continued to host Risk Enablement Panel discussions virtually
  • Leading on reviewing diversity of people accessing Adult Social Care and exploring experiences

Professional Curiosity

  • Ensuring practice informed by evidence and curiosity, raising the profile of our subscription to Research in Practice for Adults, ‘Care Knowledge’, and ‘SW Connect’ helping staff to stay up to date on the latest expert information and legislation to help day to day practice
  • 150 staff are now using Care Knowledge
  • 75 staff now accessing SW Connect
  • 9 in 10 staff said ‘I have access to best practice, research and evidence materials

Engaging and Coproducing

  • Co-chair of the Adult Social Care ‘Stakeholder Group’ working to support coproduction, meeting on a virtual basis
  • Leading on the production of Coventry’s ‘Local Account’, an annual report reflecting on the work of Adult Social Care
  • Established a new ‘real time’ experience survey to seek feedback from people, identify areas for improvement and to ask people if they want to get involved

Social Work Education

  • Embedding and growing links with our local Higher Education Institutions Coventry and Warwick Universities and supporting the West Midlands Social Work Teaching Partnership
  • Practitioners supporting teaching on the Adults Module at Coventry University
  • Continuing to support new routes into Social Work, including the new Degree Level Social Work apprenticeships
  • 3 more members of staff started the new Degree Level SW apprenticeship in 2020, 1 further place planned for 2021

Practice Development Roles

  • SW Practice Development roles are supporting newly qualified Social Workers, promoting Practice Education and providing practice support to front line staff and managers
  • Supported 6 new NQSWs
  • Offered 10 primary placements for Social Workers
  • 6 new SW Practice Educators trained
  • Continued to deliver ‘light bite’ training sessions including SW Standards and via practitioners in relation to Anti-Racist SW Practice

Policy and Best Practice Guidance

  • Chairing the Adult Services Policy Group, making sure policy and public information are accessible to all relevant staff and up to date. Group also ensures adult social care takes account of NICE National Guidelines
  • Reviewed, updated and produced a whole new suite of public information for Adult Social Care

Practice Leadership

  • Adapted to work wholly virtually during 2020/21. Supported staff to embrace digital technology during COVID-19 producing guidance and delivery training on virtual contacts, meetings and reviews
  • Maintained contact with practitioners virtually via ‘SW Cold Calling’
  • Lead role during the enactment of Care Act Easements
  • Elected Co-chair of the West Midlands Adults Principal Social Worker Network until 2023 (chairing network since January 2017)
  • Third annual ‘virtual’ conference planned for May 2021 with a focus on strength-based practice in the West Midlands, to be held jointly with OT network.
  • PSW network linked with WM ADASS Branch and supporting a regional 3 year evaluation of strength-based practice with the University of Birmingham
  • Undertakes regional ‘practice reviews’ prior to Peer Challenges

Celebrating and Connecting with Practice

  • Virtual networks and forums in place for staff engagement continued during the pandemic
  • Celebrating and raising the profile of Social Work by World Social Work Day and by encouraging staff to talk about their roles and the work that they do with an online ‘storyboard’ to capture stories of difference
  • Keeping in touch with staff via the Adult Services E Bulletin and ‘Let’s Talk’ sessions

Priorities for 2021/22

  • To continue to embed strength-based tools and techniques in practice and ensure they are translating into strength-based conversations, recording and positive outcomes for people
  • To embed new ways of working fostered during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring staff are supported and maximize the opportunity for the use of digital technology
  • To prepare practice for the implementation of Liberty Protection Safeguards in April 2022

Is there anything wrong with this page?