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17 September 2023

King's in partnership to address workforce challenges in child and family social work

Dr Mary Baginsky will work with Research in Practice and Essex County Council

children on the floor with adults overseeing them

Mary Baginsky, Reader in Social Care at King’s, is a partner in a new project which will support planned Department for Education reforms aimed at addressing recruitment and retention problems in the child and family social work workforce. Dr Baginsky will be working with Research in Practice (leading on the contract) and in partnership with Essex County Council, who will enable a focus on the testing and implementation of ideas generated by the initiative.

Key components will be:

  • National Workload Action Group (NWAG) – Research in Practice will act as secretariat and independent facilitator for the NWAG, aiming to translate ideas from the group and seeking to reduce those unnecessary facets of work that take social workers away from direct time with children and families.
  • Social worker retention – The project will develop, test and produce tools and resources to support employers to adhere to the social work employer standards. By supporting local authorities to meet these standards and by developing effective workforce strategies that enable positive working conditions and organisational culture, the aim is to support the retention of social workers.
  • Agency social workers – The project will develop, test and produce tools and resources to support local authorities to engage agency social workers effectively, collaboratively and in line with the proposed national rules (following the expected publication in September 2023 of the Government’s response to the consultation conducted earlier this year).

The work will involve careful consideration of a wide range of stakeholder views. The model includes working with a network of local authorities, coordinated by Essex County Council, who will review, test, and implement ideas. Their expertise, together with the views of people accessing social work support, will ensure that solutions are practical and focused on people accessing services.

Dr Baginsky, who became Reader in Social Care at King’s earlier this year, leads the Children’s Research Programme at the NIHR Health & Social Care Workforce Research Unit. She is Associate Director of the NIHR School for Social Care Research and leads on the Unit’s contribution to the School’s work.

Header image: stock photo

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Mary Baginsky

Reader in Social Care