Excerpted from Rachel Schraer:
“A group of social workers has requested to split off from their council and form a mutually-led social work practice, in order to put more focus on early intervention.
The Calderdale social workers, many of whom were newly qualified, asked to be allowed to set up a practice outside of the local authority so they could have more freedom to innovate.
Their aim is to reduce the number of people going through formal community care assessments by providing less formal help at an earlier stage. Social workers will be based in a “shop front” office in the centre of Halifax.
Social workers put in a request to break away from the council after visiting a similar practice in Shropshire. The Shropshire social workers explained how they had been able to improve community care assessments in a matter of days when it would have taken months in a traditional local authority setting.
Director of social services for Calderdale council, Bev Maybury, said social workers felt local authorities were bureaucratic organisations which couldn’t adapt and innovate quickly.
She said: “It’s about delegating trust and responsibility to the people who are actually delivering the service.
“Normally in a local authority, if you come up with an idea it has to go through several layers of agreement and be checked corporately. This just feels like a way to be much more pro-active and responsive,” she said.
The mutual, which is due to launch in the early summer, will run as a pilot for 12 months with staff seconded from the council. After a year the council will decide whether to run it as a legal entity that employs social workers in its own right.”