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A recruitment drive is underway to introduce a new level of front line children's social work professional to Devon, in a bid to attract the highest quality candidates from within the county and beyond.
The new Advanced Professional role will give outstanding and experienced social workers the opportunity to manage and mentor a small group of staff, while maintaining a shared workload of complex and specialist cases.
The vacancies are being advertised nationally, although children's social workers currently working for Devon County Council will be interviewed for the posts first.
The Advanced Professional role is the result of a year-long restructure of children's social care, which looked at ways to improve the quality of the service and enable social workers to spend more time working with children and families, and less time doing paperwork.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member for children and young people's health and wellbeing, said: "We have always said that our commitment must be to protect the most vulnerable in our society, and whilst we are having to make many efficiencies across the council's staffing structure, we need to ensure that we continue to attract the highest calibre front line staff to children's social work.
"Because we want our services to deliver excellence, and because we want to achieve the best possible outcomes for children, young people and their families, we are constantly looking at the way we deliver our services, and as part of our restructure we have created these brand new roles.
"The advanced professional role is not a back-office management post - it will require highly experienced social workers who have a leading edge in innovative practice, to take responsibility for the management, teaching and assessment of social work students in Devon, as well as handling complex casework.
"We are seeking the best of the best in these new roles. Through their mentoring and supervisory role we will develop a new generation of highly experienced practitioners within our organisation, and build on our economic stability through providing quality jobs for local people."
There are currently around 170 children's social workers in Devon, and despite national trends*, virtually all are employed directly by Devon County Council.
There are 15 vacancies for the new Advanced Professional role; internal applicants will be interviewed first and any remaining posts being filled by applicants from outside the county.