"Delivering Positive & Effective Social Care for children and young people in St.Helens"

Sarah O'Brien, Strategic Director of People's Services

Professional Support

We know that an effective induction programme is a key component in providing excellent social work practice and development. It is important that you understand relevant policies and procedures.


An induction is also about allowing our new team members to feel valued and welcomed and to clearly understand their role within the organisation.

St.Helens Council is committed to improving its services to children/young people and their families. An important part of achieving this is through developing the skills, knowledge and competencies of our social work staff.


A comprehensive 4-week induction to Children’s Social Care is offered to all new staff including experienced social workers.

The induction offers guidance on the principles and values of Children’s Social Care and both the expectations of you as an employee, and our responsibilities towards you.

There is information about the structure of the Department, partner agencies and local and national resources.

The induction provides an opportunity for new staff to shadow experienced social workers and attend key meetings.

The Induction pack contains excellent examples of various social work reports, assessments and plans to assist in you understanding both your role and the standard of work expected.

We have a clear and robust Supervision Policy in place.  All staff, full and part time, permanent,  temporary and agency will all receive regular, high quality supervision from their line manager.  The frequency of supervision is outlined in the Policy but does reflect the need for newly qualified social workers to receive more frequent supervision sessions.

Reflective supervision is an essential component to the supervision process. In order to provide high quality reflective supervision, Team Managers and Advanced Practitioners receive regular training in this area.


Full appraisals are held on an annual basis with reviews being held at the 6 month point.  The purpose of appraisals is to assess achievements against the organisation’s values, principles, objectives and plans, and to agree future actions both for you personally and the organisation.

Appraisals also provide an opportunity for you to discuss your career aspirations, training needs and future professional development.

A 12 month programme of Practice Workshops has been developed for social workers undertaking their Assessed and Supported year in Employment (ASYE) - the workshops can also be accessed by non ASYE staff.

The workshops include;

  • Parenting Assessments
  • Chairing Meetings effectively
  • Safeguarding Policies and Procedures
  • Court Skills training
  • The Voice of the Child


The Training and Development Section offer a comprehensive range of learning and development opportunities. The programme includes training courses, workshops, access to E Learning  and Webinars.  There are clear induction and training standards in place, and there are opportunities for more experienced staff to contribute and deliver workshops to newly qualified social workers.

St Helens Council is committed to developing the careers of its social workers through various learning and development opportunities.  We want each person to develop to their full potential.

There is a clear social work career pathway with  criteria in place,  enabling progression from newly qualified social worker to senior social worker, There are also opportunities for progression to Advanced Practitioner and Team Manager for those who have the right skills, knowledge and experience. There are also opportunities to become a Practice Educator for students on placement, or act as a Mentor for newly qualified social workers.

Children’s Social Care has a dedicated ASYE Co-ordinator to provide advice and support to all ASYE candidates.

All ASYE candidates are provided with regular supervision and access to a mentor.  There is a comprehensive induction programme and a full training and development plan including training courses and workshops.

Children’s Social Care has a clear Progression Policy.  Progression to SCP 35 is available after 3 years service provided social workers meet the requirements of the Progression Policy. 

Opportunities to undertake the Practice Educator Course, or provide work based supervision to students, is actively supported as part of the development of social workers to the position of senior social worker.

Senior social workers with the right knowledge, skills and experience will have the opportunity to apply for both Advanced Practitioner and Team Managers posts.

You will be actively supported through supervision and appraisal to access relevant training and development opportunities to prepare you to apply for these roles.