Choose Children's Services at Bedford Borough

Now is an exciting time to join Bedford Borough Children's Services. Children and families are at the heart of everything we do and we are passionate about supporting our staff to feel confident and able to build meaningful relationships in order to support change.
We are committed to our model of systemic practice and ensuring that relationships are at the centre of our interventions.
We are focused on enabling and supporting change for families openly and collaboratively. We are committed to ensuring that you are supported to work effectively with families using creative and exceptional practice.
We welcome different skillsets and embrace individuality.
Are you passionate about working with children, young people and families? Are you creative, dedicated and committed to creating change? We want you to help us transform the lives and futures of the families we work with.
Come and join Bedford Borough, a place where success is celebrated and learning is embraced. Martin Purbrick, DCS

How we support our social work team

Wellbeing of our staff

We take the wellbeing of our staff seriously. We believe that to have meaningful and purposeful relationships with the children, families and professionals we work with, we need to look after our emotional and psychological health.

Our front line staff are critical to the organisation. Frontline staff in Bedford Borough will have access to:

  • monthly personal supervision where well-being is central to your supervision.
  • monthly well-being sessions run by the Bedfordshire Well Being Service.
  • access to independent external Clinical Supervision should you require it. This is available to all our front line staff.

Systemic practice

In Bedford Borough Children’s Services, we have chosen to develop and implement a model of systemic practice as a framework for delivering our work with families. Systemic approaches are flexible and evidence-based, enabling us to think about relationships within families and how these impact on the child. They also allow us to reflect on the relationships that we build with families and each other as professionals and our professional systems. A core principle is that the relationship between the worker and the child and family are the key in co-creating change.

Our systemic practice model utilises training, individual and group opportunities to facilitate continuous development of practitioners and to help create a flexible organisation that enables growth, wellbeing and development of its staff.

 In Bedford Borough we utilise various methods to deliver this training to all front line staff:

  • Monthly training session on systemic ideas, approaches, theories and methods open to all staff.
  • A ‘Systemic Dilemma Group’ is held on the last Friday of each month.
  • Monthly training on practice knowledge.
  • Sessions to look at local and national Learning Reviews.
  • Practitioners have access to Research in Practice and Community Care.
  • Group case supervision delivered by systemic family therapists from CAMHS.
  • Access to pan-Bedfordshire training and events.

Development of our staff

In Bedford Borough we want our staff to develop and progress their career and stay with us. We have four pathways that you can use to develop your career in Bedford Borough. These are Systemic Practice, Practice Education, Management and Leadership and Career Progression.

Systemic Practice

In Bedford Borough we encourage all staff to be systemically trained. We have partnered with the Centre for Systemic Social Work to provide training to our staff. The Systemic Career Pathway allows practitioners to progress to become systemic practitioners (Year 2).  The term 'systemic practitioner' refers to a person who has completed training in Family and Systemic Psychotherapy to intermediate level.

Practice Education

Every year Bedford Borough provides the opportunity for social workers to undertake the Practice Educator’s course.  As a social worker you can complete level one or two of the course.

We also offer staff the opportunity to undertake modules in Practice Education for their MA in Applied Social Work Practice. This is through the University of Bedfordshire.

Management and Leadership

 For staff who want to progress in management and leadership roles we offer a variety of opportunities to encourage this progression.

We offer staff the opportunity to undertake modules in Leadership and Management for their MA in Applied Social Work Practice. This is through the University of Bedfordshire. We support staff to undertake supervision and management courses through the Centre for Systemic Social Work. We also offer staff the opportunity to complete the Practice Supervision Development Program (PSPD).

Career Progression

There is a clear pathway for career progression in Bedford Borough. The Council acknowledges the importance of recognizing the increased capability of social workers as they develop and learn. The Career Progression Framework is linked closely to the Social Work Professional Capabilities Framework and introduces clear levels of performance and achievement in social work that are directly linked to levels of pay. The Framework supports the career development for Social Workers at Grade 10, to experienced Social Workers at Grade 11, through to Advanced Social Work Practitioner level at Grade 12. 

Learn about our teams

Integrated Front Door

Our Integrated Front Door (IFD) works closely with partners to ensure that we provide a proportionate, timely and coordinated approach to children in need or at risk. The team is comprised of social care and early help practitioners working side by side to ensure that the right support is identified for each family.

Assessment

Our assessment team ensures that families receive timely intervention when a referral is received. We use a systemic approach to work alongside families, building relationships in order to understand the lived experience of children and place their needs at the heart of our intervention. We work closely with families and our partners in order to create meaningful and holistic assessments with clear effective plans which enable positive outcomes.

Family Support

We have three family support teams who provide the majority of support for families under Child in Need and Child Protection Plans. This includes families who are being supported via the PLO process and Care Proceedings. Practitioners build enduring relationships with children, their parents and wider family members, helping each with their identified needs in order to enable better outcomes for children. The teams also work closely with partners to ensure that the families receive tailored support to meet their needs.

Permanency

The Permanency Team support and monitor the well being of the children/young people aged 0-16 who are in care of the local authority. We try to achieve permanence of the children/young people in care by matching them with the permanent families for example friends and family, foster carers, SGO and Adoption. In some cases where it is safe we rehabilitate children back in the care of their birth family.  We regularly visit the children/young people in care listen to their views and wishes and prepare a care plan for each child. The care plan included their physical and emotional health, their safety, education, independent skills and family time with the friends and family. 

Leaving and After Care

The Leaving and After Care Team employs both Social Workers and Personal Advisors as we work with both Children Looked After aged 16-18 years as well as Care Leavers up to the age of 25 years. This includes working with Unaccompanied and Separated Young People. As well as meeting all the statutory duties to Children Looked After and Care Leavers a central focus of work is preparing Young People for their transition to adulthood from a young age and supporting and guiding them post 18 years in a variety of accommodation settings depending on their assessed need. Care Planning and Pathway Planning enables this work to progress with young people, their families and/or carers to ensure they achieve their aspirations in all aspects of their lives.

Children with Disabilities

The Children with Disabilities Team provides high quality, timely support to children and families when a child in the family has a disability. The team supports children, carers and siblings if required. We work with families so that they can access the resources they need to become independent. The team also undertakes safeguarding work should this be necessary. We are a relationship based service and we always strive to achieve the best outcomes for the children that we work with. The team is well supported by a Team Leader and two Advanced Practitioners. The team has a range of support that is available to staff so that you can develop your practice in this specialist team. This includes reflective group supervision, training and development opportunities.

NQSW Academy

Ofsted reported in 2022 that ‘The social work academy has been an asset in developing high-quality social workers. Staff who have benefited from this scheme spoke positively about the support they have been offered.’ The Academy supports newly qualified social workers in their first year of practice. You will have a reduced caseload that supports you in your learning. You will have regular supervision that includes not only case supervision, but supervision that is aimed at developing you as a practitioner. We hold regular reflective group supervision, training events and provide development opportunities. If there is a specialist area of children’s social work that you want to work in, we will support you to get you there. We know that your first year in social work is critical and we want you to develop professionally and enjoy your time in the academy.

Youth Offending

Bedfordshire Youth Offending Service is a shared service who works with Children aged 10 up to their 18th birthday who are at the cusp of offending or through offending find themselves in the criminal justice setting. The service undertakes assessment and interventions for these children and visit are held with children in custody and community settings.

Conference and Review and Safeguarding Service

The area within Children’s Services for Safeguarding and Quality Assurance incudes: The Conference and Review Service which has the independent Reviewing Officers (IROs), Child Protection and Young Person’s Plan Conference Chairs; LADO; Fostering IRO;

Also the Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children’s Board Business Manager/Unit; The  SPOC for Child Exploitation and the QA work for both Children’s Social Care and SEND. The service area also has the lead for MAPPA; Reg 44  of two Children’s homes; CDOP and key role in Partnership work both in Bedford and Pan Beds including policy development and audit

Fostering

The work of the fostering team is to recruit and assess fostering applicants and to support approved foster carers and connected carers. We also undertake private fostering assessments. We work closely with professional support teams around the child / children.

We provide a comprehensive package of support and training for foster carers. 

We carry out annual foster carer reviews to review their last 12 months of practice.

The fostering team identifies placements for looked after children and young people. 

The fostering team undertakes Family Finding for children requiring permanent foster placements.  We undertake Nominated carer assessments of members of the foster carers network. We undertake Initial Viability assessments, Special Guardianship assessments and post SGO support plans.

Adoption

The Adoption Team in Bedford Borough recruit, assess and support prospective adopters to be matched with children who have a plan for adoption.  We also support our colleagues in other teams to find the right adopters for children and support adoptive families through matching and early placement.  We support adoptive families post placement and also work with adopted adults living in the area who are trying to find out more about their adoption. As well as adoption, the team is also responsible for supporting special guardians after an order is granted.

We are active member of the Adopt East Regional Adoption Agency and feel that being part of this alliance has helped us find matches for Bedford children needing adoptive families and has developed the support and training both for the team and for our adopters.

Hear from our staff

Don't just take our word for it - learn about our staff and hear why they chose a career with Bedford Borough Children’s Services [link to page with video testimonies and PDFs]