Return to practice - Qualified social workers

At Children’s First Northampton we offer a full range of services to children and their families across the county including: Duty & Assessment, MASH, Safeguarding, Court services, services for disabled children, adolescents and children in care and Looked after children.

Our individual teams consist of a mix of dedicated professionals including qualified social workers, team managers, consultant practitioners, business support administrators and family support officers.

We have our own social worker academy who offer a full range of learning and development opportunities and support our staff to develop their careers as well as return to practice.

In the summer of 2020 we will be moving into our own dedicated children’s Trust which makes it an exciting time to be joining children's services in Northamptonshire. The Trust will have its own dedicated Board and funding and will be responsible for making decisions about the services, allowing us to focus on the welfare of the county's children and young people, their families and carers.

We have been on an improvement journey and are making great progress in improving our services and the working environment for our staff. We are committed to achieving stable teams of at least 85% permanent staff and to reducing all caseloads to a manageable level.

Children's services are transforming. We encourage ambitious, experienced professionals to bring their good practice to Northamptonshire and join our Trust.

The Return to Practice programme

We offer a free, fully supported programme of 60 days for those staff returning to practice within 5 years. The programme can be tailored slightly for those returners with less time away from practice. Upon joining us you will be guaranteed a role as a permanent social worker (subject to completing the programme and HCPC registration) but you will initially join us on a family support worker pay scale until your registration is complete (£21,260 - £24,121 depending upon experience) .

At the start of the programme the team in the academy will work closely with you to determine an individual plan of learning with you that identifies strengths and pasts experience as well as gaps and areas for further development.

Your programme timetable will include time for private study and self-learning and the completion of reflective logs which demonstrates how you have embedded learning into practice. You will receive frequent and high quality supervision and case supervision. There will also be one/two observations which are written up and can provide part of the evidence for registration.

We will work with you to identify the most suitable team for you to join and the team will work closely with the academy to agree a transition and identify a learning plan. To start with you will spend two/three days a week with your team shadowing and undertaking assistant duties. When you reach the corresponding point in training, you will be given a case to undertake a single assessment on. The Academy staff will support you with completion of this assessment and accompany you on all statutory visits, in line with CFN policy in relation to non-social work registered staff. You will also have non statutory assistive duties (dependent upon experience) with your team which will be planned around identified needs and skill gaps. There will also be opportunities to visit other teams and agencies to enhance your knowledge and build your confidence.

Review process

Half way through your programme there will be a review of progress so far and what still needs to be achieved. This review is a good opportunity to discuss what is going well and make any adjustments to the learning plan. Your final review takes place at the end of your 60 day programme, this is where your achievements will be reviewed against required standards. The Academy will then support you with completing and submitting your documents.

At the end of the programme

When you are initially accepted onto the programme we offer you a permanent contract as a social worker subject to completing the programme successfully and achieving HCPC registration.

After submission of the registration documents there is a pre-registration period while you wait for official registration. During this time you will be based with your team completing assistive duties and further training and shadowing until your registration is complete.

When HCPC registration is confirmed you will then be able to work as a fully qualified social worker and take on a social work case load. All posts at CFN are subject to a 6 month probation period which begins on the first day of employment in post.

At this point, we know that it might still be early days for you and you may still be building knowledge and confidence so we limit your caseload to a manageable level for your first six months or until you feel ready to carry a full caseload.

From then on you will be supported by your team and offered learning and training opportunities to develop your career.


For further information and to apply for our Return to Practice programme please send your CV to:

Closing date for applications is 01 March 2020 to start in May 2020.