BASW Cymru is really pleased to announce that we will be piloting the Social Workers Working Conditions and Wellbeing Toolkit in the Swansea Council Child and Family Services. Discussions are already underway to extend the pilot to include their adult services workforce too.
The invitation to introduce the Wellbeing Toolkit to senior management teams in Swansea, arose from a conversation with Dave Howes - Director of Social Services, at the 2019 National Social Care Conference - an annual event which brings together key stakeholders from all 22 local authorities in Wales.
Dave Howes was interested in the concept of a Wellbeing Toolkit which was being developed from empirical, social work specific research and how the tool could enhance and support Swansea’s own wellbeing strategy. The invitation is a testimony to the commitment of Swansea local authority to the wellbeing and resilience of its workforce and its willingness to collaborate with the Association, is warmly welcomed.
Several very positive meetings took place between BASW Cymru and wellbeing leads in Swansea, most notably Teresa Mylan-Rees - Principal Officer, and Paige Curtis Business Development Officer. Our best hope was to begin the pilot earlier in the year and then the Covid-19 pandemic overtook events. We did however, continue to stay in touch and these meetings culminated in a remote presentation this week, to the senior management team in Swansea, including Julie Thomas – Head of Children’s Services, where final agreement and sign off was given to launch the pilot.
The pilot will consist of integrating the toolkit into Swansea’s Child and Family wellbeing strategy, beginning with a series of facilitated, strength-based sessions with agreed cohorts of staff. Following this, BASW Cymru will work with Swansea in developing an action plan to integrate the toolkit which will be reviewed at 3, 6 and 12 months. A final report on the efficacy of the Wellbeing Toolkit in supporting the wellbeing of the workforce, will be written, and presented to David Howes and the senior management team.
As part of this collaboration, we will also be partnering with Nick Andrews, BASW member from Wales School of Social Care Research who is leading on the Welsh Government funded ‘Developing Evidence Enriched Practice’ programme across Wales, and Sian Jones - PhD student and BASW member, from Swansea University who is researching vicarious trauma in social workers.
This is a very exciting and truly collaborative project and we extend our sincerest thanks to Dave Howes for that important first conversation, for your curiosity, welcome and commitment to the wellbeing of your workforce, we look forward to working with you!
ADSS Cymru Leadership Group member and Director Social Services for Swansea, Dave Howes said:
"Never has it been more obvious than now, that if we are to deliver on our ambition to be the best that we can be for the children and families of Swansea, then we have to look after ourselves and one another. The child and family services well-being strategy is an absolutely crucial part of making sure we do just that.
I am delighted that BASW Cymru have worked with us to strengthen the strategy through integrating the Social Workers Working Conditions and Wellbeing Toolkit. I am extremely grateful to Allison and colleagues from BASW Cymru for turning a conversation at the ADSS conference into a tangible project that I have no doubt will prove to have positive and beneficial impact. I fully expect that the conversations between BASW Cymru and colleagues in adult services will lead to an equally exciting collaboration.
I look forward to hearing about the learning from the project. Thank you to all those within the Directorate, BASW Cymru, the Wales School of Social Care Research and Swansea University for all of your continued hard work.
Finally, thank you to colleagues in children services for continuing to be the best that you can be each and every time you knock on someone’s door. Stay safe and well.”
ADSS Cymru AWHOCS member and Head of Child and Family Services for Swansea, Julie Thomas said:
“We are at really exciting times in Swansea Child and Family Services in terms of our new staff Well-being and Engagement Strategy. We are delighted with the next phase to be joining BASW in the launch of their new working conditions and wellbeing tool kit and for us to be the first Local Authority to pilot, expanding our supporting offer to staff. We thank BASW for the great opportunity”.