SCIE media statement

Successful pioneers for social work with adults

02 November 2011

Social Work Practice Pioneer Projects

Ten organisations are celebrating after being selected to be 'pioneers' in social work practice. It is hoped that the new projects will support people to make the changes they need in their lives. Crucially, some projects provide social work to people who may have been unable to access it before.

Successful applications come from a mix of organisations, including social enterprises, user-led organisations, small, independent partnerships and councils and from across England. The projects will all work with a wide range of individuals and groups, including older and disabled people, people with mental health problems, people whose circumstances are such that they need safeguarding, adult survivors of child sexual abuse, user-led organisations, people who are victims of human trafficking and people who don’t meet eligibility criteria or who have to fund their own care. They were offered funding and support to help them to get going and will evaluate their work.

SCIE’s Workforce Director, Stephen Goulder, says:

We had far more responses to our invitation than we had expected. We wanted proposals for pioneering social work projects that demonstrate they have the potential to realise benefits for people using services. All of our partners have worked extremely hard together to select these pioneers and are keen to support them together in their new ventures.

Clare Wilson, from Clarifi Consulting, which is based in Ipswich, says:

This is fantastic news. I know that this project is going to improve the lives of many adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse who have fallen between the cracks of social care for too long.

SCIE’s Social Work Practices Project Manager, Cathie Williams says:

The Social Work Practice Pioneer Projects were selected by a challenging panel including people from The College of Social Work, the British Association of Social Workers, an academic, an expert by experience who has used mental health services, the Local Government Association and the Department of Health. We were delighted with the response and with the many excellent ideas.  The pioneer projects are taking a number of pathways that we hope will open up the potential for social work with adults in a range of new contexts.

Peter Dolby, from the Counter Human Trafficking Bureau says:

We are delighted with the news which will enable us to support the UK Strategy and the European Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings.  We hope that our proposals for specialist social work will be of great assistance to local authorities and their other partners in being able to effectively identify and protect those at risk of exploitation or harm.


The Department of Health issued an invitation to Local Authority Directors of Adults Social Services in England to put forward proposals for Social Work Practices (SWP) pilots at the end of November 2010. There are now seven pilot sites setting up SWPs.

The programme is being managed through SCIE and supported by a Project Support Group involving the Department of Health, the Association of Directors of Social Services, the British Association of Social Workers, the Local Government Group and The College of Social Work.

The invitation to become Social Work Practice Pioneers went out after SCIE became aware that a number of people/organisations had spoken to us about their interest in developing pioneering Social Work practices but were either unable to submit proposals in time for the SWP pilots or didn’t feel that the model was broad enough to include what they wanted to do.

Project Name Location Comments
Birmingham City Council  Birmingham Social work to develop capacity, skills and confidence in user-led organisations
Central Bedfordshire Council  Central Bedfordshire Range of additional or substitute social work responses to safeguarding circumstances
Clarifi Consulting Ipswich Specialist service for adult survivors of child sexual abuse
Counter Human Trafficking Bureau (CHTB) London National SW team to work with victims of human trafficking - linked to local authority safeguarding functions
Daybreak Family Group Conference Greenwich Restorative approaches to safeguarding circumstances
IBK initiatives and Lives Unlimited York User/family led organisations will employ social workers
Medway Council Medway Focus on delivering better settled accommodation for 40 people with mental health needs
Safe and Settled Ltd Walsall, Staffs Information, advice and advocacy; assessment and support planning - especially for people funding own care (working in partnership with Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Adult Services)
The Carers’ Resource Skipton Support Planning with people who fund own services
The Independent Social Work Partnership Cheshire Information and Advice Service for Adults and Older People who may not meet Local Authority Eligibility Criteria for Services and for those who fund their own care

Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: