What is a unit?

A social work unit is made up of a small group of professionals including a consultant social worker, social workers, a specialist clinician and a unit co-ordinator. All members of the unit will share responsibility for the support that is provided to families.

  • The consultant social worker is responsible for leading and managing the social work unit and working directly with children and their families.
  • The social worker - there will be two social workers in each unit who will work closely with families, with the leadership of the consultant social worker.
  • Specialist clinician - the specialist clinician (for example a psychologist or therapist) will work with families to explore the different relationships which exist, their impact and ways to support positive change.
  • Unit co-ordinator will co-ordinate the activity of the social work unit by managing diaries and meetings. They will very often be your first point of contact with the unit. 

Why do we use the Unit Model?

The model offers three fundamental advantages:

  • It places the function of social work at the core of the organisational structure. It is about enabling the social work task to be completed in the most efficient and effective way and recognises that the job of social work is both complex and demanding.
  • It is about enabling families to change and giving them the best possible chance to find strategies that they can use to help them become more effective in managing their vulnerability and risk.
  • It demands that senior manages support the frontline task and that fundamentally their job is about making sure that the job of the frontline worker is as easy as possible.

The model allows practitioners to implement evidence-based interventions, spend more time working directly with children and their families and provides extensive training and clinical supervision which supports staff to carry out their work. The unit means that risk can be managed through reflective dialogue and debate across the whole unit instead of with individual workers.

How do I find out more about social work units?

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