As a provider of specialist NHS mental health and learning disability services, we recognise the important role that social workers play in supporting the local communities we serve. We currently have 120 social workers within Sussex Partnership, working across all services, from children and young people to adults and older people services, and we are committed to keep this number growing.
Social workers work alongside clinical and educational colleagues, supporting the people under the care of our services, as well as their families and carers, as they recover from their mental health illness.
If you are a registered social worker, we can offer you a range of opportunities in terms of career progression and continuing professional development.
What a career in social work has to offer
Social workers are professionals who protect and support vulnerable adults, children, families and communities to improve their lives. Their work involves determining how best to help those who are disadvantaged deal with the challenges they face. Central to the role is promoting and protecting human rights and wellbeing.
A career in social work can be challenging but it is also hugely rewarding. You can have a meaningful, positive impact on people’s lives.
There are opportunities to develop specialisms in a range of different areas – from mental capacity to safeguarding and across the whole range of services and life stages, from perinatal through to older people.
Why choose to work in social work at Sussex Partnership
Historically, social workers have tended to be based within statutory services, and have not been prominent within the NHS or mental health Trusts. At Sussex Partnership, we are at the forefront of changing this, as we recognise the valuable contribution that social workers make to our services.
We already have 120 social workers embedded within our teams. We are excited about this, and there is a strong focus on continuing to raise both the number and profile of social workers at our Trust. This is being driven by our Social Work Board, which meets every quarter and brings together lead social workers from across Sussex Partnership and principle social workers from local authorities. This kind of cross-sector collaboration is unique and we are very proud of it. As well as supporting and developing social work practice in the Trust, the Board is a place to share local, regional and national best practice.
We are really championing social workers and their right to be valued in the work that they do within the NHS. We recognise the importance of working within the balanced ‘bio-psycho-social’ model of mental health – which recognises that interactions between a person’s genetic make-up (biology), mental health and personality (psychology) and sociocultural environment (social world) contribute to their experience of health or illness. Social workers have a vital role to play in this model.
We also understand the importance of the social determinants of health, the role they play in health inequalities and how that can impact on people’s mental wellbeing. We know that social workers are well placed to recognise and help to address the relevant factors.
We know that social workers have so much to offer, and in return we can promise you excellent opportunities in terms of your career and continuing professional development. Our social workers have access to bi-monthly social forums, professional supervision and an annual conference. We also hold a bi-monthly journal club, where members present and discuss relevant recent articles about mental health social work, including identifying any implications for our teams going forward. This helps the profession stay up to date and at the forefront of best practice.
The range of teams that social workers can work in across Sussex Partnership means that there are lots of opportunities for growth and development in a broad spectrum of skills. There are excellent prospects for career progression as a social worker within our Trust. Of our 120 registered social workers, many are in positions at Band 7 or above, such as team and service managers.
How we work and what it's like to work with us
Social workers perform very varied roles, working as part of a collaborative team with a variety of other health professionals to support vulnerable adults or children. If you’re in the dementia services you will be doing things like memory assessments, but if you work within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), you may be seeing children in a primary care assessment clinic.
What is common across all social workers within our Trust is face-to-face engagement with the people under the care of our services, using a mix of social work skills to engage with that person. This engagement involves supporting them, looking into what their best interests are and helping to decide the best way to meet their needs.
Wherever you are within the Trust, the core of social work is truly person-centred practice. At all levels, we are all thinking about the needs of the individual and their family – they are core to what we do. All our social workers take time to work with the people we support to try and find solutions to the challenges they face, recognising that our role can only be to help guide them.
We recognise the importance of the social work Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and it guides our practice at all levels. The social work profession, training and spirit are an excellent fit for Sussex Partnership.
"We are really committed to supporting our social workers and the vital role they can play in the lives of people who use our services. As a social worker in mental health your perspective is very holistic, looking at the whole person: their story and the circumstances in which they find themselves. The work that we do can help people to manage the social factors in their lives - like relationships, money and housing and thereby empower individuals to lead fulfilling, independent lives within their community."Bryan Lynch | Director of Social Work
"I had been a Social Worker working in a local authority for 15 years and making the move was a difficult decision, however I am pleased I did. I have never looked back since joining Sussex Partnership. I had thought that it might be a hard transition, but I soon realised I had so many transferable skills. My multiagency working and experience of using a strengths based model was really appreciated. It’s a pleasure to be working for the NHS and SPFT. It’s such a nurturing environment, I wish I had made the move sooner."Ruth Nathan | Social Worker, Community Mental Health Practitioner
"My interest in working for Sussex Partnership began during my university placement, the support my practice educator provided was spectacular and I decided this was the ethos I wanted to work in. I went on to work in a community mental health team in the Trust during my ASYE, which was such a positive experience and I found the training offered to be vast and extremely beneficial for my professional development. The Trust offer a huge variety of CPD opportunities to further your knowledge and gain post qualifying qualifications. Overall I have found the experience of being an NHS employed social worker to be a positive step in my career."Jess Alexander | Forensic Social Worker
Latest social work vacancies
To apply to join our social work team and find out about current opportunities, go to our jobs feed.