Leeds City Council’s ‘Outstanding’ Children and Families Services recently won two prestigious national Social Worker of the Year awards.
The awards recognise and celebrate great social work in England for adults and children. Leeds was awarded the winning title in the ‘Best Social Work Employer’ and ‘Creative and Innovative Social Work Practice’ categories.
Since embarking on an ambitious improvement journey in 2010, Leeds has prioritised workforce stability by ensuring appropriate support for children’s social care staff and investing in the workforce – including establishing a clear social work career pathway, which offers tailored support and development opportunities at every level.
Workforce investment has resulted in significant recruitment and retention benefits for Children and Families Services in Leeds. The city employs far fewer agency staff (0.5%) compared to regional (8%) and national (15.4%) averages. This has achieved savings for Leeds City Council of over £20m since 2011-12, which have been reinvested into vital services for children.
Leeds is also ranked second best in the country for low social work vacancy rates and is among the top ten local authorities for social worker turnover and caseloads.
Leeds’ Futures Service came top in the Creative and Innovative Social Work Practice category. The Futures Service was established in March 2018 to work holistically, therapeutically and intensively with young parents vulnerable to experiencing the repeated trauma of losing children through care proceedings.
The Children and Families Services were also recently shortlisted for two coveted Children and Young People Now Awards. Leeds’ Child Friendly City Centre project was nominated for the partnership working award, while the Service achieved second place in the Early Years category.
Leeds City Council’s Head of Service for Children’s Social Work, Gail Faulkner was also shortlisted in the ‘Championing Social Work Values’ category for her work adopting restorative approaches within practice around domestic abuse.