Role of an Adult Social Worker

What is an Adult Social Worker role involve?

Social Work Services in Adult and Community Services (ACS) works with adults over the age of 18 providing professional Social Work and Occupational Therapy advice and carries out assessments and reviews based on a person-centred approach, involving the customer, their family and wider network. 

Adult Social work is a challenging profession, and you will often need to use your professional judgement to make difficult decisions. You will need to be demonstrate effective communication skills, build trust with service users and colleagues, and be able to manage your personal stress levels well. Nevertheless, social work is a highly rewarding and valued career, which will enable you to support vulnerable people and bring about positive change in their lives. Here are a few of the many reasons that Adult social work in Suffolk could be a good career for you:

Because of the wide range of work we cover, we have a number of different teams to choose from: Our busy Neighbourhood Clusters which cover the local population for each patch; our Hospital Clusters working with people who have been admitted into Hospital (and based in the Hospitals); our specialist Dementia and Learning Disability Clusters who work with people with dementia or a learning disability (also covering those people transitioning from childhood into adulthood); and our new Review Cluster. Depending on your interests and wishes around your professional development, we offer flexibility and actively encourage staff to move from one Cluster to another, so that they can gain experience, or specialise in an area which interests them and develop their careers.

We know that your social work qualification is only the start of your professional learning and development. As a social work professional you will be expected to undertake ongoing professional development throughout your career, to make sure that you keep your knowledge and skills up to date and that you provide the highest standard of practice for the people with whom you work. Our close connections with Suffolk University Campus and the University of East Anglia allow our Social Workers to keep up to date with the latest research and theories in social work practice. 

We promote good practice and we provide the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment programme to newly qualified social workers that join our Social Work teams. Within this year we also offer a limited caseload with increased supervision and assessment at work; we view the first year in employment as a place of continued learning in a work environment, offering shadowing opportunities and helping Social Workers to build up their networks and experience.


In Suffolk, our teams promote practitioner support through formal and informal supervision, management and peer support. Our Learning Sessions and Practice Meeting forums help staff to embed and discuss practice challenges within a multidisciplinary and community approach. 

We prioritise regular formal 1:1s with staff and offer informal supervision as and when it is needed. Senior Practitioners, Cluster Managers and Area Managers provide cover when absent and so support is always available, should you need it. In addition, our teams benefit from a culture of stability; teams are well established and staff are experienced. Anyone joining the team will benefit from the strong sense of knowledge and support around them.

A recent snapshot conducted by our Data team showed that 93% of staff had caseloads of fewer than 30 people. We believe in supporting staff (through regular supervision) to manage their caseloads well.

We believe that our Social Workers should lead the way as a key Professional, qualified members of the ACS team. We ask our Social Workers to act as role models to less experienced staff or unqualified members of the team, offering supervision and shadowing/ mentoring opportunities.

We ask Social Workers to contribute to our change programmes across ACS and the council as a whole, involving them and enlisting their help to shape our future service. We believe that this is key to making transformation successful, changing Social Work in Suffolk for the better.

Once you join one of our teams, there are plenty of opportunities for you to progress. We have established Career Development Pathways for the 3 main areas of our service which show how roles can naturally progress (for more information on these please see Career Pathway pages).

There are also opportunities to progress into the wider ACS and SCC working environment, eg into Transformation, Commissioning & Professional Advisor roles.

We work closely with key partner colleagues, the Voluntary sector and customer voice organisations, in order to transform our service. We are working with a wide range of partners as part of Health & Social Care integration which is underway in Suffolk.

What our Social Workers have to say...

Social Worker Leanne Clarke
Leanne Clarke

“The people I work with are generally facing a crisis in their life, a life changing event, a devastating diagnosis, loss of independence. If I can make things less stressful for them, support them through the processes, advocate for them where needed to help them to get the help they need, then I feel I am making a difference.”

Social Worker Julia Rodwell
Julia Rodwell

“As a manager I give staff the opportunity to have their own career path, help them to develop, encourage them to take part in training and to also ensure that they have all the tools they need to do their job properly. It’s about a personalised approach to managing and supporting staff here.”

Social Worker Steph Weese
Steph Weese

“For me, every one of these customers and their families matters in their own right; there’s no small problem or big problem they are all important.”

Social Worker Phil Stamper
Phil Stamper

“Being a Social Worker is part of me. I enjoy working with people and am proud to be a Social Worker. It is a privilege to be involved in people’s lives and be welcomed to work alongside them.”

Social Worker Victoria Rudkin
Victoria Rudkin

“There are lots of opportunities in Suffolk County Council and you are able to have a very diverse career and there are great promotion opportunities; there are a lot of pathways to take your career at Suffolk.”

Social Worker Seb Smith
Seb Smith

“Social Work is important because it gives people who are disenfranchised or marginalised more opportunity. Some people face greater challenge's than others when trying to live a rewarding and independent life, but social work can support them to achieve their goals.''