Graduate programme to expand into West Midlands to help troubled authority.
Frontline and Birmingham Council have announced a partnership for graduates to train as children’s social workers in the West Midlands.
The Frontline programme is set to expand into Birmingham in a bid to drive up standards in the authority.
Birmingham’s children’s services has been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in its last three inspections and Andrew Christie, former executive director of children’s services in the Tri-Borough, has been appointed as commissioner of the council to turn the council around.
Josh MacAlister, Frontline’s Chief Executive: “Lots of work is underway to improve the support for vulnerable children in the West Midlands and Frontline is looking forward to contributing to this wider effort. Social work has the power to change lives and, alongside existing professionals in the region, we’re looking forward to developing more outstanding social workers to help address deep social disadvantage. For graduates and career changers looking for a job with purpose and a leadership challenge, we will open for applications later in the year”.
There are almost 100,000 children ‘in need’ in the West Midlands and under the new scheme, Frontline will place around 60 graduates and career changers across the region.
Later this summer, applications will open for 300 places for graduates and career changers on Frontline’s leadership development programme. In addition to the West Midlands, those who successfully secure a place will work across the South East, the North West and the North East of England.
An independent evaluation by Cardiff University of Frontline, which was set up in 2013, recently found evidence of ‘impressive’ social work practice amongst the charity’s first recruits.
Alastair Gibbons, Executive Director of Children’s Services in Birmingham: “Birmingham Children’s Services is committed to improving our support for children through an unrelenting focus on social work practice, on direct work with children and families, and a learning culture. Frontline will provide high quality development for aspiring social workers and leaders who want to make a difference to those in need in the city and region.”
Overstretched social workers “struggling to cope and battling constant changes”, were revealed at the council earlier this month after Channel 4’s Dispatches sent an undercover social worker into Birmingham Council’s children’s services.