REGISTRATION AND TRAINING
Andrea Goddard is a social worker in Kent County Council's children, families and education department. She qualified in July 2008.
Tell us a bit about your post-registration training and learning (PRTL)
When I joined Kent County Council I took part in a week-long induction course on council services and jargon busting. Meeting members of specific council teams in person and other newly qualified social workers from different departments was great for peer support. I felt like the luckiest social worker in Kent when I started, because the authority was participating in a one-year Children's Workforce Development Council (CWDC) pilot scheme to support newly qualified social workers. This provided me with a brilliant training structure.
How have you found juggling work and PRTL?
Two of the most important skills a social worker needs are time management and the ability to prioritise. I only do training once every two months to make sure I don't go over and beyond my day-to-day caseload. I don't take on more than I can handle, because the families I work with would suffer.
What is the most influential training you have had?
I had two days of practical training on how to give evidence in court, which involved role plays and being cross-examined by Kent County Council solicitors. I found this incredibly helpful.
What support have you had?
We have team meetings every fortnight where we all talk about the training and learning we've done. Each social worker takes it in turn to chair these meetings. My manager provides a good balance of support and autonomy, and trusts me to work on my own.
What other PRTL have you done?
I'm accredited by the NSPCC's Training for Trainers in Child Protection programme so I can now take on social work in the community, by going into schools and working with midwives. I'm trained to deliver the Common Assessment Framework to other agencies, and I'm also creating a child protection pack specifically for African and Caribbean families.
What advice would you give to newly-qualified social workers in terms of PRTL?
Think outside the box when it comes to your training and consider how multi-disciplinary training can further your role and career.
In a profession where upholding public confidence is vital, social workers are required to declare any issues that might create conflicts of interest and that could undermine their professional judgment. In accordance with the social care code of practice, social workers must be open, honest and trustworthy, and any failure to declare a potential conflict of interest could result in a charge of misconduct, and could bring the profession into disrepute.
In October 2010, a senior social worker was removed from the register after being found guilty of not notifying his employers that he had taken on a case involving a family member, at the request of her family, and had also behaved inappropriately towards the family member.
"It's essential that social workers are open with their employer about any issue they feel may create a possible conflict of interest," said Michael Andrews, director of regulatory operations at the General Social Care Council. "Conflicts of interest can cloud professional judgment and mean that social workers do not discharge their duties in an appropriate way."