Fund to transform children’s services in Dorset


DORSET is one of only three areas in the country to have been awarded a share of a £7million government fund to transform services for children and families.

Dorset county council has been awarded £1.995million from the Department of Education’s social care innovation programme for its reinvigorating social work training and development programme.

The project aims to “get it right for the first time” for children and young people in Dorset by investing in developing social workers so they can focus more on making a difference to children and families early on.

The scheme was successfully piloted with a small group of social workers last year and the funding means the county council will now roll out across its children’s social care workforce over the next two years. Reinvigorating social work is a targeted programme of learning, development and support aimed at empowering social workers.

It promotes a model of social work practice based on building relationships and improving outcomes for children and families. The programme will include: training, coaching and use of research for all social workers and managers; embedding a relationship-based approach to working with children and families; extra resources to free up social workers to take part in the scheme; social work forums for sharing best practice; listening to the views of children and families to improve outcomes and promoting direct work with children and young people.

Sara Tough, director of children’s services for Dorset County Council, said: “It is our vision for social work in Dorset to put making a difference for children, young people and families first.

“The focus of reinvigorating social work is improving outcomes and developing a model we can adopt across children’s services.

“This funding means we can invest in our social workers, who work day in and day out to make a difference for people in Dorset.

“We are committed to making Dorset a place where quality social work can thrive. The programme will help us keep our great social workers and attract others to come and work in Dorset. We will be actively recruiting extra social workers to help deliver this approach.”

Councillor Deborah Croney, the council’s cabinet member for learning, skills and children’s safeguarding, said: “I am delighted that Dorset is one of only three areas in the country to be awarded funding from the government’s innovation fund.

“A great deal of thought and effort went into our bid, which has gone through a robust and rigorous process in order to secure government approval.

“We are committed to working with our partners and communities to improve the outcomes for children, young people and families in Dorset. Our social workers are at the frontline of that and it is great we will now be able to invest in helping them make a difference as early as possible.”

Find out more about social care opportunities in Dorset at To find out more about Dorset’s reinvigorating social work programme, visit