Career Path

What does the Career path in Children’s Services in Suffolk look like?

All Social Workers in Suffolk have protected caseloads and regular supervision – both one to one and in groups. We have invested heavily in the Signs of Safety Practice Framework and are committed to it for the long term. It has been enthusiastically embraced by our staff and our partners and, most importantly, by children and families. We believe Social workers are professionals and need to be given the professional autonomy to work creatively and effectively with children and their families to produce the best outcomes.

We believe Social Workers should have the opportunity to develop a rounded career therefore we encourage people to move teams, to shadow and to undertake secondments to enhance their experience and develop their interests.

Suffolk is a very diverse place and so we can offer Social Workers the opportunity to work in a variety of settings from dense urban to rural sparsity - each offers its own rewards and challenges.

At every stage of your career in Suffolk you will be given support and challenge – we want every Social Worker who joins Suffolk to enjoy a long and varied career here.

Suffolk has a proud record in supporting NQSWS – we want you to get the best experience possible from your AYSE (The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment). We believe it is important for NQSWs to be out in real teams working with and learning from more experienced Social Workers. This crucial first year is about providing you with the support and experience you need to develop - you will have a personal development plan with protected time, a protected caseload and reflective supervision.

Once you have completed your AYSE (The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment) you will become a fully-fledged Social Worker. Through in-service training, and with supervision, you will have the opportunity to challenge yourself and work with complex situations and families. Signs of Safety is our chosen Practice Framework and in keeping with that model – which you will have learnt all about on your AYSE – you will be given professional autonomy to do creative and fulfilling work with children and families to improve their outcomes and life chances. As well as support from your manager and colleagues you will get support from the Signs of Safety Practice leads. Suffolk has more SoS Practice Leads than any other LA in England.

As you develop more experience there will be opportunity for you to become an Experienced Social Worker or a Consultant Social Worker

As an Experienced Social Worker you will hold more complex cases – developing and enhancing your skills and abilities to work with the most complex families. This role particularly suits those who want to remain directly in practice.  You will almost definitely be a Signs of Safety Practice lead and involved in supporting colleagues. 

As a Consultant Social Worker you do not hold a case load but provide consultative advice, support and supervision to Social Workers in their teams. Delegated responsibility allows you, with the support of your manager, to allocate cases, make threshold decisions and support and scrutinise performance and standards within the team. Like the Experienced Social Worker you will almost definitely be a Signs of Safety Practice lead. This post is an excellent stepping stone for those interested in becoming managers in the future.

The Practice Manager is responsible for motivating, developing and managing a team, ensuring the maintenance of standards and the quality of service provided. They do this by managing performance, compliance, resources and budgets and collaborating with colleagues and multi-agency partners.

This key management role is accountable for the practice of the Social Workers within their team and has the duty to ensure all children referred receive a timely and proportionate service.

The Service Manager is responsible for leadership, direction and guidance for the service in their locality. This is achieved through supporting the Practice Managers, Consultant Social Workers and Social Workers in their teams to ensure they can provide the best possible level of service and ensure children are safeguarded.  They have the overall responsibility for budgets, recruitment, performance and strategic responsibilities within the service.

What our Social Workers have to say...

Social Worker Jade McMurray
Jade McMurray

“There’s nothing better than when you’ve been able to make those changes and support a family along their journey and to have such a positive outcome, when you’re able to step back and let them do it for themselves.”

Social Worker Tunde Oyeniyi
Tunde Oyeniyi

“I have been at Suffolk County Council almost 7 years and been ABE trained, completed a post qualifying specialist award in children and families with the University of East Anglia and have my Practice Educator award.”

Social Worker Victoria Morphew
Victoria Morphew

“Working in Suffolk County Council you cross paths with lots of other professionals; everyone is really friendly and all want to build really good working relationships. You have a great network of contacts and support here.”

Social Worker Leon Gillings
Leon Gillings

“I chose social work because I liked the idea how helping people whilst also being accredited as a professional. I wanted a career that was meaningful, full of challenge and diversity and that I could be proud to be a part of.”

Social Worker Charnine De'ath
Charnine De'ath

“Our role is about getting people to see that there is something better out there for them and their children and that they are able to make the positive changes for themselves with the support of us and their family & friends - We empower families and give them the confidence to make changes”

Social Worker Cheryl Robinson
Cheryl Robinson

"I am proud to be a Social Worker in Suffolk, making a real difference to Children and their families lives."