Welcome to Lewisham – a vibrant and culturally diverse borough that is bursting with fantastic things to see and do. As a truly international borough with over 170 languages spoken in our homes and businesses, a thriving cultural scene, and a treasure trove of indie shops, bustling markets and more, it’s a great place to start and build a career.
And while we’re not on the Tube – at least, not yet! –we have excellent national rail links with fast trains to London Bridge, central London and beyond.
People here benefit from attractive residential neighbourhoods, great local schools and a huge number of parks and green spaces. It is an exciting place to live, work and learn. We currently have exciting developments taking place in our town centres and neighbourhoods, bringing new housing, new schools, and new leisure facilities. The council is working with the community and their partners to make Lewisham the best place in London to live, work and learn. Lewisham is a borough that backs its young people – ensuring there are quality learning and development opportunities so that young people can fulfil their potential.
Lewisham was the Mayor’s London Borough of Culture in 2022 and in 2021 Lewisham Council was the first council to be formally recognised for its pioneering work in making Lewisham a Borough of Sanctuary. Lewisham has a proud history of standing up for equality and celebrates its Lewisham Legends. The desire to welcome families to the area and make change happen means Lewisham today is a successful and cosmopolitan part of London occupied by energetic, creative, and diverse local communities.
Whether you already live in Lewisham or are thinking about moving here, there truly is something for everyone – and a warm welcome for everyone – with wonderful places and spaces to inspire a career in children’s social work.
Lewisham’s community is diverse, with over 49% of its population representing BAME communities. The population is young, with the median average age being 35 and 20% of our population being under 18 years old.
A 15 minute train journey south of London Bridge, we are based in two offices in Catford SE6. There are two mainline train stations 5-10 minutes’ walk from both offices and numerous bus routes that stop outside the offices.
Social work in Lewisham is changing and we have set out our vision and values for how we practice. In Lewisham Children’s Social Care (CSC), we know what good social work looks like and we are passionate about creating the right conditions and culture for good practice to thrive.
Families are respected and supported to stay together, whenever there is safety.
Families will tell us they understand why we are involved.
Children will tell us their social worker has made a difference to their lives.
Children who are in our care know we care, and we won’t give up on them.
Young people who have been in our care feel confident about their future.
We are focusing on the quality of our relationships with families and children to help and support them to change. We have taken a whole system approach to improving our services to children and young people in our borough using ‘Signs of Safety’ as our practice model. We have a dedicated practice framework lead, who is focussed on developing the workforce’s understanding and confidence using Signs of Safety with the families we work with. All staff are offered ongoing Signs of Safety training, including the opportunity to become a Signs of Safety practice leader.
We value our staff and recognise the great work they do. Staff are regularly appreciated through our ‘Sparkly Moments’ in our monthly newsletter. Our annual staff awards ceremony takes place on World Social Work Day and is an event honouring staff members who have displayed exceptional performance in their respective roles.
The emotional wellbeing of our workforce is important to us. We have a dedicated children’s social care staff wellbeing lead, reflecting Lewisham’s commitment towards providing a healthy, positive, and learning environment within the workplace. The wellbeing lead works closely with staff at all levels to develop and maintain an organisational culture which promotes psychological safety and emotional wellbeing in the workforce. An evidence-based framework ensures that services, supervision, and management approaches support wellbeing. The following services are also provided as part of this role:
Weekly mindfulness sessions
Ongoing meetings with various teams across CSC
Regular staff feedback forums
Debriefing sessions in instances when staff have experienced significant distressing incidents
Lewisham is on an improvement journey. During a recent visit, Ofsted recognised the progress we have made.
"Staff talk positively about their manageable caseloads, regular supervision, team meetings and access to a range of training, including the social work model of practice""Senior leaders demonstrate a clear focus on hearing the voices of children to develop and improve services.""Leaders know the service well. They have a clear understanding of areas for development that are being appropriately addressed."Ofsted
"Staff talk positively about their manageable caseloads, regular supervision, team meetings and access to a range of training, including the social work model of practice"
"Senior leaders demonstrate a clear focus on hearing the voices of children to develop and improve services."
"Leaders know the service well. They have a clear understanding of areas for development that are being appropriately addressed."
At Lewisham staff are supported to progress their career through our comprehensive learning and development offer and career progression pathway. The Workforce Development Service led by the Principal Social Worker is responsible for the professional development offer to our workforce as well as managing our thriving ASYE academy.
Lewisham CSC is committed to anti-racist practice and this work is led by the Anti-Racist Network Group which was established after the murder of George Floyd. The group is open to all and values everyone’s voices. Our anti-racist statement identifies six pledges to eradicate racism in Lewisham CSC. These pledges include strategies to challenge and dismantle institutional, structural, and systemic racism, embedding anti-racism within the service culture, providing staff development opportunities, engaging with partners and stakeholders, and promoting critical thinking within the community. Our anti-racist action plan focuses on children and families, the workforce, and partnerships. The CSC senior management team has completed anti-racist training, with plans to provide training to the wider workforce and set up a safer space group for BAME staff.
Our social workers benefit from working in small, supportive teams with caseloads on average between 15-20 children. Our ‘Signs of Safety’ practice framework means we are committed to working in a relationship-based way with children and families, focussing on strengths in the family network to effect change. A positive learning culture which promotes opportunities for reflection and relationship-based practice is important to us. We are committed to developing our practice using reflective practice spaces such as case mapping, thinking spaces and group supervision.
Our permanent and stable senior management team are visible and approachable. Our dedicated PSW and workforce team supports professional development across the service so that you will;
be supported through our comprehensive learning and development offer, which includes subscriptions to ‘Research in Practice’ and ‘Making Research Count’.
receive regular supervision and appraisal.
have 1-1 practice development coaching as a case holding practitioner, and professional development coaching as a manager.
have access to regular ‘Signs of Safety’ training and the opportunity to become a practice leader through attending our bespoke practice leader course.
have access to external leadership development opportunities such as Pathways and the Black and Asian Leadership Initiative (BALI).
have a clearly defined career progression pathway with opportunities for professional development at all levels.
We have a strong working relationship with Goldsmiths, University of London as part of the South East London Teaching Partnership so our practitioners have the opportunity to teach on social work courses as teaching consultants. We host ‘Step Up’, ‘Frontline’ and traditional route students and social workers have the opportunity to become practice educators.
Core CSC Staff Benefits include:
We have been awarded the Mayor of London’s Good Work Standard – a benchmark for high employment standards. We are also one of the first London Councils to be accredited a London Living Wage employer and are a Disability Confident employer as well as a Timewise accredited Flex positive employer. We offer a 35-hour working week, and:
The opportunity to work in a thriving, diverse and developing inner London borough with a stable management team, manageable caseloads and a workforce group committed to promoting your development and emotional wellbeing
Generous salary for social workers at all levels
Generous holiday entitlement - starting at 27 days a year (plus public holidays) rising to 32 and 35 days after 5- and 10-years’ continued service.
Oyster card access for travelling in and around London for work and we are exploring initiatives, including Zip cars
Flexible working policies and a variety of hybrid, and flexible working options – we know how important this is to you
Smarter Working with new modern technology and training to support this
Career average pension scheme
Family friendly policies including maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and special leave for emergencies.
Variety of support schemes including key worker housing, tax-free childcare scheme, access to Civil Service Sports Club which offers financial discounts and savings on days out and entertainment. KAARP activities and entertainment discounts. We offer a shop local discount scheme, volunteering leave, long service awards, membership of the Crownsavers Credit Union and access to Payroll Giving.
Health and Wellbeing support includes a staff support hub and 24/7 employee assistance programme which incorporates mental health support, counselling services and access to the PAM Assist health and wellbeing app.
We have signed the Menopause Pledge and offer gender specific and gender-neutral health and wellbeing support with access to financial advice. We offer discounted gym and leisure centre membership including free lunch time swimming; interest free loans for season tickets, nursery childcare, and bikes, a “try before you buy” bike scheme and cycle training, smoking cessation, free eye tests and money towards glasses.
Active Employee Groups including the Black and Multicultural Forum, Anti-racist Network Group, LGBTQ+ Forum, Disabled Staff Forum, Climate Emergency Staff Forum, Trade Union Memberships, and a staff-led Change Network
Staff tell us they feel valued and enjoy working in Lewisham and are well supported by their managers with regular reflective supervision and good access to training.
“Lewisham has so much to offer any social worker. I feel supported, respected and valued every step of the way” Lewisham Social Worker
“Lewisham has so much to offer any social worker. I feel supported, respected and valued every step of the way”
Lewisham Social Worker
We are delighted that you are interested in working at Lewisham Children’s Social Care.
For more information and detail about working in Lewisham please email Lewisham Workforce Development Group at email@example.com
If you have any questions about applying for roles within children's social care at Lewisham, or if you are interested in having an informal discussion about working with us, please contact our Recruitment and Retention Manager, Angela Main at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sara Taylor, our Principal Social Worker: email@example.com
© London Social Work for Children 2024