Leadership in Social Work

Teaching Partnerships are a Government funded initiative  to improve the quality of teaching for social workers and to improve the standards of qualified practitioners. The Teaching Partnership we were contracted with  consists of a partnership between three Local Authority and a University.    In October 2016, the Partnership commissioned us to design and delivery 4 separate CPD leadership programmes to social workers, social work managers and senior managers across the three London Local Authority Areas.

Leadership programme requirements:

The bespoke programmes were required to meet the 70/20/10 model for learning and development, provide participants with an ILM qualification as well as other non-accredited content, both of which were to be matched to identified professional and national standards and competency frameworks for social work professionals.  They were also to provide progression routes to further qualifications as necessary, and for content to be mapped against national and professional competencies and standards for social work leaders.


The contract was for a duration of 18 months and to provide training and support to up to 120 social work professionals over the contract period.  Cohorts range in size of between 12 and 24 participants, with two of the programmes for aspiring leaders and experienced leaders (equivalent to ILM Level 5) to run twice during the contract period.  Programmes for Senior Leaders (ILM Level 7) and ‘Subject Matter Experts’ (ILM level 5) would run once during the contract period.

Programme design

We adopted a process of co-design with the partnership to ensure that the content met all stakeholders requirements and timescale objectives.  To ensure the programmes met the requirements of the 70/20/10 model, action learning methodologies and principles were used to ensure that taught input was being applied in practice.  We worked closely with other Teaching Partnership contractors and providers to ensure there is seamless learning experience for participants and that identified skills gaps amongst the training cohorts was used to inform the programme content.


The previously agreed timescales for the preparation of course content and start date for programmes changed after the contract was assigned.  We therefore had to accelerate how we designed and developed the programmes to ensure that the programmes were advertised and promoted with sufficient notice across the Partnership and most importantly started on time.


  • Effective close working relationships with large number of stakeholders involved in the four lead Partnership organisations.
  • Meeting very tight unexpected timescales to ensure programmes ran to time
  • Feedback from participants was very positive as was an evaluation of our programme context and delivery. The use of action learning methodology was often cited as of greatest value in supporting individual learning and application of leadership theory and input from taught modules into everyday working practice.
  • Mapping of all content against national and professional standards and competencies for social work has brought the taught leadership content to life for participants and enabled them to prepare for future role out of national accreditation and assessment process for social workers.  Also enabled participants to more effectively use these competencies to develop own leadership capabilities and the performance of their teams.
  • Flexibility in the delivery of workshop content to ensure continues to meet the needs of all participants.
  • Production of a varied and engaging sets of resources and tools to accompany and support each taught module (handbook, workbook and textbook), the coaching conversation (Coaching Handbook) and action learning sets (Participant’s Handbook)