New social work partnership to better meet the needs of people in Northamptonshire launches at university

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Organisers say it is not a ‘flash in the pan’ initiative and that they have ‘an eye on the future’

A new county-wide social work teaching partnership between authorities and a university to better meet needs has been launched in Northamptonshire.

Launched last week, members of the University of Northampton’s (UON) Faculty of Health, Education and Society, council leaders and senior social service personnel gathered at the Waterside campus to introduce the Northamptonshire Social Work Teaching Partnership.

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The new working arrangement will enhance existing work between the partners, spearhead the delivery of a co-developed curriculum for UON’s Social Work programmes and also mean social workers will have direct input into UON-delivered social work training programmes.

Signatories attended the event to mark the launch of the parternship.Signatories attended the event to mark the launch of the parternship.
Signatories attended the event to mark the launch of the parternship.

The partnership will also see the development of collaborative research opportunities between the university and social service teams, to increase understanding and development of the profession.

Steve Wood associate dean at the University of Northampton said: “Working closely, collaboratively, and constructively to make the social work students of today the social work professionals of the future to fully meet the needs of people in the community, is always front and centre of the university’s vision for social work.

“It’s something we share with our town and county partners, so joining forces with them for this new Social Work Teaching Partnership will help make sure these existing bonds are closer than before.

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“This is not just a ‘flash in the pan’ initiative because we have an eye on the future and developing a lasting legacy. The partnership will create the space for new and very compelling workstreams – such as carrying out research to help us delve deeper into social work, where it is and how it can be developed. This is very much the beginning of what we trust will be a very interesting, new period for the profession.”

Steve Wood signing the 'big document' of partnersnip aims.Steve Wood signing the 'big document' of partnersnip aims.
Steve Wood signing the 'big document' of partnersnip aims.

Colin Foster chief executive of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust added: “The Social Work Teaching Partnership is a fantastic opportunity, and I am delighted that Northamptonshire Children’s Trust is part of such an important initiative.

“The teaching partnership is pivotal to supporting our vision to put children, young people and families at the heart of all we do.

“For me, the key thing is that this is a local partnership, benefitting local employees, employers, students and in turn the wider community. Social work students benefit from training and development, our own qualified social workers can share their practice with students, and we all benefit from the local research that the partnership undertakes.”

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Social Work Teaching Partnerships are Department of Education-led initiatives, and further benefits the Northamptonshire Partnership will create include:

Support statutory partner recruitment, retention and career development of social work qualified and non-social work qualified staff to enhance skills and knowledge requirements to develop them in their roles. Enhance existing practices between the University and statutory authorities to develop support for service users across the county. Partners will work closer together to further develop existing practices, such as placements for social work students.

The Social Work Teaching Partnership was ‘officially signed’ at Waterside by representatives of the University of Northampton, The Northamptonshire Children’s Trust and North and West Northamptonshire Councils.