Inaugurated in October 2011, the Birmingham Social Work Academy (BSWA) is a nationally groundbreaking partnership between Birmingham City Council’s Children, Young People and Families Directorate and the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham. It is designed to radically change and improve the learning and development opportunities for students, for new entrants into the social work profession and for experienced social work practitioners and managers.
The development of the academy reflects the work developed nationally by the social work reform board and the recent Munro review into child protection. The progress report on implementation of the Munro recommendations (Progress report: Moving towards a child centred system) highlights the BSWA as an example of the strengthening of the relationship between universities and employers in order ‘to embed a learning culture in social work academies’.
The aim is to increase the level of professional expertise within the city by raising standards and improving recruitment and retention of experienced staff.
Professor David Stephenson, Head of the School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham
"Birmingham City Council has always had a significant influence on our programmes and we have had longstanding partnership arrangements with Birmingham Social Services over many years. Having entered into a Strategic Partnership with the Adults and Communities Directorate last year it is a very appropriate next step that the founding partnership of the BSWA is between the Children, Young People and Families Directorate and the School of Social Policy at the University of Birmingham.
The Birmingham Social Work Academy will provide the platform for the School of Social Policy to implement the Social Work Reform Boards' recommendations for effective partnership working between HEI's and employers throughout the midlands region. We will be inviting all social work agencies to join us in this exciting new initiative."
The University has been providing social work education since 1908 and the School of Social Policy has developed a reputation for delivering high quality teaching and learning. The BSWA is the first of a range of initiatives to strengthen the relationship between the University of Birmingham and employers in the region to embed a learning culture in social work agencies.
Follow the link below to a report in Community Care on the BSWA, where you can hear the views of service director Mark Gurrey, Professor Sue White, and May Porter, a senior social worker in Birmingham:communitycare.co.uk/static-pages/articles/Birmingham-Social-work-academy
Staff involved in the development and delivery of the BSWA:
Professor David Stephenson
David Stephenson is Head of the School of Social Policy and Head of the Institute of Applied Social Studies.
Professor Sue White
Sue is Professor of Social Work for Children and Families in the School of Social Policy, Institute of Applied Social Studies. She is also an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences
Mark is Director of Post Qualifying Programmes in the Institute of Applied Social Studies and leads the PQ children and families programme.
Alison Paris is Director of Professional Practice Development in the Institute of Applied Social Studies. She is also Head of Student Development and Support for the School of Social Policy and is a Welfare Tutor within the Institute.
BSWA / PSA Seminar Series 2012/13
Leadership and Management Seminars – Leading Social Work Practice
Ethical Leadership for Social Work Practice
11 June 2013, 4.00pm - 6.30pm
Speaker: John Lawler, Senior Lecturer, Public Sector Management Centre for International Development, University of Bradford
Supervising and Managing Professionals – Reframing Professional Practice to Deliver Meaningful Outcomes
October 30th 2012
Speaker: Sharon Lambley, Author: Proactive Management in Social Work Practice
Comments from seminar participants:
' The seminar provided me with much 'food for thought' as how the task of supervising and managing professional staff needs to be completed in a way that evidenceswhat is required more effectively. '
This was a useful and stimulating seminar, and I intend to incorporate the knowledge into my supervision.‘
‘I very much enjoyed the seminar and in my position as manager within an IFA I am able to implement some of the strategies that Sharon suggested such as reflective supervision.’
Why Social Work managers need to think like designers, and how to do it!
March 12th 2013
Speaker: David Wastell, Professor of Information Systems, Nottingham University Business School
The need for managers in social care to adopt a design mentality is underscored in Munro's final report: "Leadership is much more than the authority of key figureheads. It is essential that local leaders fundamentally consider if their service is configured optimally to meet the needs of children and families".
The failure of leaders to engage in systems design can have drastic effects, exemplified by the vicissitudes of the Integrated Children's System. The "design attitude" involves mangers getting to closer to practice, and requires a critical reconsideration of the meaning of “being strategic”. Without a firm grounding in the operational world, strategy is as “blind as theory without practice”. The design attitude also enjoins a different relationship with technology, namely its potential to achieve radical improvements in service performance and efficacy.
In this seminar, David Wastell argued the case for the design attitude, providing an overview of his own design methodology (SPRINT) which has been explicitly developed for public managers.