Boby Paul, Locality Team Manager, has worked at Surrey County Council since 2010. Below is an insight from Boby into working in our Mole Valley Locality Team, based in Dorking.
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What does a Social Worker's typical day involve within the Mole Valley Team?
Every day can be different due to the nature of the work we are doing. The day to day work involves working on allocated cases, being on safeguarding duty, offering support and guidance to less experienced staff, providing supervision, attending training etc. Multi agency working with other professionals is also an essential part of the day to day work.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing?
I think that if you are considering a career as a social worker, it's important to be realistic about what the role entails – it is challenging as it involves working with some of our society’s most vulnerable people and professionals from various other organisations such as NHS, Carers organisations, Community resources etc. As a Social Worker/Senior Social Worker you are also responsible for better utilisation of the resources including the budget and other community resources. The work is however very rewarding.
How do you support social workers in your team when there is a high workload?
There is a great level of support available to staff. The staff are supported by Senior Manager, Team Manager and Assistant Team Managers. I feel that there is always an open door policy for staff to speak to them if there are any concerns. More importantly, the management staff who observe staff practise on a day to day basis are able to give the feedback on reflective practise as well as encourage staff to consider career progression opportunities and further learning.
On a daily basis, we are supported by the team, particularly when managing the challenges and complexities of being a social worker. It is important that there are others around you who can support and encourage you with their words and actions.
Why have you chosen to work in Mole Valley as opposed to a London Borough?
Mole Valley is a great place to work and live. I love the countryside and driving around in the area for day to day work. The experience of natural beauty keeps you refreshed and is pleasant. The work location is easily accessible via public transport (especially trains) or driving, with the provision of a parking permit nearby.
How do Social Workers balance travel with managing their workload?
Distance travelled by our Social Workers can change day to day depending on the nature of the work and place you are travelling to. We also have the flexibility of working from home and other nearby Surrey locations and this reduces travelling time on these days.
Is parking simple and affordable for residential visits?
Parking at work and during the visits does not appears to be a concern for our Social Workers as we have parking for staff on site and if we have to pay for parking during the visits this is reimbursed. Generally parking is fine in Mole Valley Area.
How is progression encouraged within the team?
Promotion opportunities are encouraged and advertised internally. In addition, career progression is reviewed in supervision meetings and appraisals. Managers encourage staff to undertake further learning and challenges including training, complex cases and shadowing.
Are there opportunities to move around between the various teams?
Secondment and promotion opportunities are widely advertised Countywide, offering the opportunity to move around between various teams.
Does Surrey offer a thorough induction package to support new recruits and a buddy system?
Surrey provide a comprehensive and planned induction programme which last about 4 weeks. During this time, you receive an introduction to Surrey County Council and will also have the opportunity to meet the team you will be working in.
Every team works slightly differently to support new team members and we do have a buddy system in place to support the new recruit. We aim to buddy the new employee up with someone who is in a similar role although their supervisor will be someone more senior.
Do Surrey offer a competitive training package?
Surrey offer plenty of in house training and there are opportunities for individual workers to request one off funding for external training. Surrey also support the Assessed and Supported Year Employment for newly qualified social workers. There are also training opportunities for social workers with sufficient experience to apply to become Best Interest Assessors and also consider becoming specialist social workers.
Do Surrey offer a good benefits package?
Surrey offer an excellent benefits package ranging from discounts for holidays, days out, restaurants to cash back cards. There is also a lease car scheme and we have schemes in place to support with paying for childcare. It's really down to the individual to consider which benefits would be beneficial to them although there is no limit on what you can benefit from.