Research reviews and practice resources

Members of the social work research and teaching team in the Department for Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield have developed a short series of research reviews and practice resources based on their recent research and practice interests. Children’s social care staff at Rotherham Council also assisted in the development of these resources in two focus groups held in 2015. The resources aim to provide an accessible summary of key issues and developments about several topics within children’s social care accompanied by practitioner orientation activities, thinking points and messages. For more information please see. They include

  • Sen, R (2017) Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE): Awareness, identification, support and prevention. Download hereCSE Practice Resource Sen June 2017
  • Leigh, J (2017) Supporting practitioners in Children’s and Adults’ Social Care. Download hereLeigh 2017 Support practitioners in social care FINAL
  • Churchill, H (2018 Forthcoming) Whole family support.
  • Churchill, H and Laing, J (2018 Forthcoming) Parental, Child and Family Engagement in Family Support and Child Protection.


The South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership (SYTP) have worked collaboratively to develop a number of initiatives aimed at supporting progression and career pathways for our social workers – through their initial training, to their ASYE and beyond. For example:

  • Purest statutory placements have been provided to 99% of students for a second year running
  • Placement 1 has been extended to 100 days to enhance student skills and experience
  • We have developed a series of workshops for students to increase knowledge around current social work frontline practice and employability skills
  • Employability rates have increased, with more students obtaining jobs within SYTP LAs following graduation
  • We work closely with Children’s Social Work Matters to advertise jobs to students and NQSWs
  • We have developed a robust, shared ASYE programme for children and adults services
  • We have developed an Advanced Practitioner Framework to provide accredited CPD opportunities linked to clear career pathways.

For further information, please see Case study – Progression

Management and Leadership

The South Yorkshire Teaching Partnership has developed a clear CPD pathway to support the development of our managers and leaders. This pathway forms part of our Advanced Practitioner Framework for practitioners in children’s and adults services, and includes:

  • A 30 credit module ‘Introduction to Leadership and Mentoring
  • A Post-Graduate Certificate in Leadership and Management, which is delivered by the University of Sheffield’s School of Management
  • The Assessed and Supported Year for New and Aspiring Managers (ASYAM) – a pilot programme to support new and aspiring managers through their journey into frontline operational management which will be delivered from March 2018, and will combine bespoke, targeted CPD provision along with work-based mentoring and support, in order to develop a clear, well-supported career pathway into management for our social workers.

For full details of the ASYAM programme, please see

To find out more about our CPD opportunities and our Advanced Practitioner Framework, please see

Our management and leadership programmes are mapped to the Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) for Practice Supervisor and Leader. To find out more about the KSS, please see


Chris Erskine, Associate Lead Professional for Lincolnshire County Council Adult Care

What is your role, describe a typical day?

I am the Associate Lead Professional for Lincolnshire County Council Adult Care and I’m proud to say I’m a Social Worker having qualified in 2010. My role now is very much about providing a link between front line Adult Care practice and organisational development. On a day to day basis I promote a culture of continuous improvement in the quality of Social Work practice. This can include working with practitioners and colleagues to develop Policy and procedures that shape the way we work.

Why did you choose to do the leadership and mentoring module?

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen as a Social Worker is the Care Act, which I believe is a real opportunity for Social Work to be more than just about assessing needs but supporting people to lead good lives by realising their own strengths/assets and connect with their communities. To achieve this shift I wanted to develop my leadership skills and understand more about organisational culture and how to influence change. I’m passionate about making a difference and to do this I need to be able to influence others both practitioners and senior managers in the organisation. The leadership and mentoring module covered all of the things to help me to achieve this.

Did it give you what you were looking for and if not what was missing? How has the leadership and mentoring module impacted on how you work.  Please give examples.

Yes absolutely, you don’t often get ‘Eureka’ moments where the way you think really shifts, but that happened for me. I understand much more about the culture within the organisation and how to manage and influence change at all levels. Some of the key things I’ve applied in my work are; the need to be clear about the values that underpin changes so that people can see the benefits of change, develop a sense of purpose and showing how the new ways of working are making a positive difference.

The learning and assignments on the module gave me the opportunity to question how and why we do things the way we were and to start a project to develop a ‘lean’ thinking culture within the Adult Care. Ultimately, the hope is that this will free practitioners up to spend more time doing direct work with citizens.

Do you think it will help you if you want to progress in the service?

Yes the module enabled me to reflect on what I did well already in my role and what I needed to do differently moving forward. I’ve developed my leadership style and I am flexible in the approach that I take to help people reach their potential. I’m already seeing benefits through the feedback from my colleagues and managers. Now that I have completed the module the knowledge and skills I have acquired mean that I can apply for more senior management roles developing practice or in organisational development….I’m just waiting for the right role to come along!


Social Work Education Panel: Experts by Experience

Fiona Addison, the SYTP lead for Service User and Carer Engagement, talks about how SWEP’s ‘experts by experience’ are currently involved in Teaching Partnership activities:

With a record number of trained ‘experts’ including foster carers, adult carers, care leavers and young carers we are at the beginning of our busiest and most demanding time of year. Both universities have started their recruitment/assessment sessions for social work students and we represent the voice of children, young people and their carers at every event.  At the University of Sheffield we provide speed interviews and service user representatives on the interview panels; and at Hallam we participate in group observations alongside academics and practitioners and then score the students’ written insights on how they performed in the group activity.

In addition we provide workshops for students on placement, titled ‘It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it’ the workshop focuses on messages for social workers from children and young people in care, and uses the award winning film from our children in care council.  Foster carers facilitate the small group discussions throughout the workshop, and to date feedback has been excellent.  We participate in the annual ‘Living Library’ events at UoS, with 5 or 6 carers routinely joining 50+ students to share their ‘expertise’.   We also contribute on an ad hoc basis to individual lectures/seminars as and when invited by the academic lead.

Recruitment/assessment in numbers:

  • 14 trained foster carers
  • 1 trained parent/carer (from Rotherham)
  • 12 trained young people including care leavers, young carers and birth children in foster families (from Sheffield and Doncaster)
  • 19 selection events (7 completed)
  • Over 400 students predicted to be interviewed/observed

We’re looking forward to:

  • Attending lectures to get a feel for the social work curriculum and it’s delivery
  • More structured participation in social work education but with a clear focus on co-production
  • Becoming an ‘Experts by Experience’ resource linked in with individual academics’ areas of knowledge and specialism so we can contribute to the design and delivery of course content

Queries, questions, comments welcome to

Comments from service users and carers who have been involved in SWEP activities:

“Our work improves the jobs of the new social workers coming through, because we can pass on all our experiences, good and not so good, and what we think makes a good SW, and what children and YP expect, that makes them glad they have a good SW. Also what we or /yp/ think is a bad SW!”

 “I feel that the gap between social workers and foster carers is narrowing, both sides giving our own perspectives of the service, the pros and cons, and giving both sides a better understanding of the jobs we have and hold dear.”

Comments from students participating in ‘Service Users are People Too’ workshop, December 2016:

what a fantastic class, I really felt involved and respected”

“very good to hear the perspective of the people who support children for the large periods we are not there. How they deal with the repercussions of our actions/decisions”

“Really puts into perspective how important it is to explain what is happening to service users”



World Social Work Day 2018!

World Social Work Day will be on the 20th March 2018. It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to celebrate the achievements of the profession and take the theme message into their communities, workplaces and to their governments to raise awareness of the social work contributions and need for further action.

For further information, please see