PRINCIPAL SOCIAL WORKER - JUSTINE
I took up post as principal social worker in Sutton in June 2016. I wasn’t really seeking new employment but happened to see the advert for the post and my eye was caught by the fact that Sutton was a People Directorate and the role spanned across both children's and adult social workers. I have been highlighting the benefits of joining up social work practice across service areas for some time and this caused me to reflect on my career pathway at the time resulting in me making my application.
My initial reflections are that this has been a very positive move. Although I live some 37 miles away and I get to see a rather busy M25 most days the welcome I received upon my arrival was very impressive. My line manager, the Head of Quality Assurance, made time to take me to lunch on day one and was keen to know more about me, my experiences and my thoughts about what I might bring to Sutton were welcomed. I was really impressed with Sutton's understanding of the Principal Social Worker role and the organisation's openness to having a critical friend to challenge and support good practice and enhance the value placed on social work.
The Social Workers, Assistant Team Managers and Team Managers across both children's and adult services have spoken about the work they do with passion and commitment. Although they understandably speak about the pressures and
the usual national issues affecting social work practice I found that there was a genuine 'can do' approach. The ideas I have proposed about supporting excellent practice in Sutton have been embraced and staff have worked alongside me to set up some new forums and workshops to support them in their daily work.
There is a real sense that Sutton senior management have a good understanding of the needs to support the workforce. Various teams such as Human resources and Recruitment work together with social care managers in developing strategies and plans to ensure the foundations are in place to support the workforce. There is an understanding of the organisational weaknesses and a recognition of what needs to happen to strengthen these areas, which I believe is a real strength in itself.
Sutton has proven itself to be friendly and welcoming environment to work in. Social work is valued and social workers are listened to and supported to work as effectively as possible whether that be through working flexibly or by offering extra support. There is a career development pathway, starting with a strong ASYE programme through to management qualifications . In Sutton we believe that investing in good quality staff is important , cost effective and promotes resilience and well-being for staff.
I'm pleased I responded to the advert i saw on that day some months ago. I feel valued and respected and look forward to coming into work with such great staff and managers.
If you are an enthusiastic and passionate social worker thinking about a move in your career I would strongly recommend you consider Sutton. We would certainly welcome you as I have been welcomed.