The contribution of social care, the knowledge and skills is recognised, well established and embedded in our multidisciplinary and interagency working and is guided by national policy, governance and legal frameworks. The Trust recognises that social care staff have a distinctive set of skills, knowledge and values to enable them to work with children, families, adults and their communities, and with professionals across a range of sectors. Social Care in the Trust works with complexity, uncertainty, risk and conflict within a complex legal framework using sound professional judgement in balancing needs, risks and resources to achieve the right outcome in order to promote the principle of wellbeing and individual resilience. Our social care interventions are aimed at being preventative and empowering to help service users cope and self manage conditions, developing structures and interventions that promote autonomy, resilience and healthy life choices that support wellbeing. Social care is key to integrated approaches and collaboration in delivering Perfect Care.

Social Care Staff

Our social care staff need to be equipped with the right skills, training, tools and resources to provide the best care. Education, training and development are vital components in keeping our social care staff current and up-to-date within this fast moving sector. The trust actively supports its social care staff to be the best they can be supporting our service users by recognising that staff training increases morale, confidence, capability and competence. 

Staff training and development enables career progression which has been embraced by the trust in striving to ‘grow our own’ initiatives such as our extensive investment in numerous apprenticeship programmes for our social care staff. For example the apprenticeship programme in social work has provided a progressive pathway to train and study while on the job to gain a degree level qualification accredited by one of our well respected local universities. The Trust supports Assessed and Supported Year In Employment Programme for our newly qualified social workers. 

The Trust provide quality social work student placements for BA, MA and more recently students that are completing an integrated Masters in Nursing and Social Work qualification across a range of services and teams, supported by our own Practice Educators. The trust constantly seeks to provide new learning opportunities for our social care staff by working in partnership with numerous educational and training providers including the Cheshire and Wirral Social Work Teaching Partnership.

Social workers speak - Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

The Social Care leadership within the Trust acts as professional leads across all services, supporting and advising on quality and practice issues and governance related to Social Care policy and legislation and professional Social Work. The leadership team supports the Social Care workforce to maintain social work professional standards and contributes to the development of Trust practice, procedures and policy, ensuring social care is considered within organisational developments and the maintenance of quality standards. Social Care staff within the Trust work across a diverse range of clinical settings and roles.

The social care workforce spans across many service areas ranging from Community Mental Health Teams and Assessment Services, including Crisis Service, Criminal Justice and Forensic Services, Addictions Service, Brain Injury Service, Psychiatric Liaison, Asperger’s Service, Homelessness Outreach, Specialist Learning Disability, Liverpool and Sefton out of Hospital services – community and ward based, undertaking statutory functions in many areas as Trusted Assessors on behalf of some Local Authorities Adult Social Care. 

Social care within Local Division services provides an integral strand across these services, working with service users in a variety of posts, including care co-ordination and those roles that have a trusted assessor status and are able to assess and agree packages of care under the Care Act’s statutory framework on behalf of Local Authority colleagues. 

The Trust is committed to providing support to Local Authority colleagues, with a number of social workers within the Divisions qualified as Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHP’s), who provide support to neighbouring Local Authorities as part of their AMHP rota, as well as attending AMHP forums and training offered by the Local Authorities, specific to this role.

Social Work Services provides Forensic Mental Health and Specialist Learning Disabilities Services across Merseyside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, North England & Wales. Our services are diverse and range from High, Medium and Low Secure Inpatient Services, Prison and Community Rehabilitation Services. The service user population served routinely have complex needs associated with a learning disability and/or a severe and enduring mental illness or a diagnosis of personality disorder, and who also present a risk of offending or have challenging behavioural needs which may be associated with significant risk.

Service users cared for within our inpatient services require their care to be delivered within conditions of security and are most commonly detained under the Mental Health Act. Forensic social work is a specialist area of mental health social work. It involves working with offenders with mental health problems in both secure hospitals, prisons and the community. The key purpose of forensic social work is to hold in balance the protection of the public and the promotion of the quality of life of service users and by working in partnership with others to identify, assess and manage risk; identify and challenge discriminatory structures and practices and identify, develop and implement care planning strategies.

Our Community Division Social Care service is part of the ICRAS (Integrated Community Reablement and Assessment Service) pathway with Social Workers and Community Care Assessors acting as ‘Trusted Assessors’, undertaking assessment of need from point of referral to discharge. 

Social Care promotes the concept of strengths and asset based care and appropriate administration of services and resources and responds to challenges and opportunities to focus on integration, statutory duties, partnership agreements, performance and promoting evidenced based care.