Careers in children's social work

Mixed race family talking to a social workerWhy Wakefield?

Our Children and Young People's Directorate is in the middle of rapid transformation.

We are one of just a handful of local authorities rated inadequate which did not have an Alternative Delivery Model imposed, with senior commitment to the changes and to creating a better place for our practitioners to work recognised by the Commissioner.

We have a clear vision of the service we're creating, and we know how we're going to do it.

The Commissioner highlighted the commitment and expertise of the new senior leadership team, which has worked hard to turn around staff morale and workloads. But don't take our word for it…

"Staff within the service do describe the new leadership as "known, visible and knowledgable". Peter Dwyer CBE, Commissioner for Children's Services in Wakefield

In January 2019, 69 per cent of our children's social care staff said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their job. In November 2018 (the last time we asked them), 71per cent said the quality of their supervision had improved.

Average caseloads have reduced from a high of 34 in the summer of 2018, to just above 19 in January 2019.

Team sizes have reduced, meaning less workload for team managers. The highest number of cases in any team in February 2019 is 176 – from a high of almost 400 in August 2018.

We have also improved our frequency of visiting children, the timeliness of decision-making in our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub, and the frequency of supervision.

Why work for us?

If you're tempted by a role in our teams, we have plenty to offer.

  • Average caseloads of 20 or below – 15 for newly-qualified social workers

  • Team sizes no bigger than eight to keep spans of control manageable for leaders

  • Co-working of complex and high risk cases to reduce stress, ensure everyone is supported, and give opportunities for personal development, supported by an increase in advanced practitioner roles

  • A commitment to personal and professional development, supported by our Learning Academy which has programmes for practitioners at all levels and in all teams and access to a teaching partnership with Leeds and Leeds Beckett Universities

  • 28 days holiday plus 8 bank holidays as a newly-qualified social worker, rising to 30 as an experienced social worker

  • Flexible working arrangements

  • Access to a strong teaching partnership 

  • Membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme, with flexible benefits for you and your family

Our salaries are comparable with similar local authorities in Yorkshire.

  • Newly qualified social workers – from £27,358, rising to £29,909 in your second year after qualifying (subject to meeting competency requirements)

  • Experienced social workers – from £34,106

  • Advanced practitioners – from £38,052

  • Team managers – from £41,846

We also pay a market rate supplement of £1,250 for social worker, advanced practitioner and team manager roles in the Locality teams.

You can see our vision for CYP – created with our practitioners and partners. Or watch our video, which shows what we believe it takes for social workers to thrive.

Learn more about

Why choose to live in Wakefield?

There are lots of great reasons to choose to live and work in Wakefield.

Head reasons

  • Average house prices are £145,702 nearly £40,000 less than nearby Leeds, with rent 2.5 times lower than Leeds too

  • We have prime position - you can reach London, Newcastle and Birmingham in around two hours by train, Manchester in about an hour. Or hop on the M1, A1M or M62 in minutes

  • We are also connected on foot and by bike, with the Trans-Pennine Trail crossing the district, and lots of great walking and cycling opportunities

  • 77% of our schools and 95% of our childcare providers are rated good or outstanding

  • There are seven universities within a 30 mile radius, including the prestigious Russell Group Leeds University

  • Easily jet off on holiday, with four airports within 90 mins drive

Heart reasons

  • We're the cultural heart of Yorkshire, home to award-winning art and sculpture destinations such as The Hepworth and Yorkshire Sculpture Park

  • We are custodians of the remains of two nationally-important castles – Sandal and Pontefract – both of which have played a major part in shaping England's history

  • Home of the world's first nature reserve, you can explore a large number of parks and green spaces. The River Calder and Aire and Calder Canal both run through our district

  • You can ski year-round on one the UK's few indoor real snow ski slopes, bounce at the Gravity trampoline park or while the day away shopping at Trinity Walk

  • Wakefield and all of the towns within the district are renowned for independently-owned bars and restaurants, with Wakefield city centre in particular known for its high-quality independent restaurants

  • Visit our internationally-acclaimed food festivals – The Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb in Wakefield city centre in February, and the Liquorice Festival in Pontefract in July