Since April 2011 adult social work in NEL has been operating as a Social Work Practice pilot, one of seven established nationally through the Department of Health. We are now ready, enthusiastic and excited about taking the next step and establishing a free standing social enterprise. It enables us the opportunity to radically change the way we do things, making use of the flexibilities which operating outside the public sector affords us in order to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable people in North East Lincolnshire. We are keen to embed our social work practice in communities and neighbourhoods and take forward the development of preventative interventions.
Being close to and involved in our local communities will be at the heart of what we do. We are working to change the focus of social work away from 1:1 client work to that of ‘community broker’, enabling people to take control themselves, to make full use of the community assets available and to develop new community capacity. This requires flexibility, innovation, fleetness of foot, an entrepreneurial culture and the fostering of partnerships and alliances.
Empowering and supporting our staff will be critical to our success. We have a well established staff team that have played a major role in the journey we have been on over the last three years. With a flatter management structure and devolved roles and responsibilities our aim is to ensure that staff feel an integral part of the new organisation able to influence and be involved in decision making.
The organisation has approximately 150 staff with an operating budget of c£4m and have joint responsibility with the NELCCG (in full) for care and support budgets of c£28m. A Board of Governors with an independent chair; employee, community, user and carer representation as well as representatives from the NEL CCG and local Council will oversee the social enterprise which will be established as a Community Interest Company. All employees are eligible and encouraged to become members of the organisation and membership constituencies for the community and service users and carers are to be established.
This is a fantastic opportunity to establish and drive forwards a brand new organisation based on social work values.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: What is a Social Enterprise?