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Introducing Laura Carter, Consultant Social Worker

I have worked for Stoke on Trent City Council within the Learning Disability and Enhanced Transition Team since qualifying as a social worker in 2007. Learning disability social work is something I am very passionate about; addressing inequalities and upholding the rights of the individuals we work with.

I have always had a keen interest in practice development, which has led me to train as a Practice Educator and to become a senior social worker. Within my role as a senior social worker I provide supervision to wellbeing assessors and support workers, as well as providing practice guidance and support for the social workers. I also have experience of providing guest teaching at both Staffordshire and Keele university.

I am driven by service improvement and strive to achieve the best possible social work practice. I enjoy supporting others with CPD and critical reflection and my aim is to achieve best practice within contemporary social work which is evidenced based, utilising professional knowledge such as theory, reflection and research to inform decision making. Within my role I enable social workers to utilise their skills and knowledge to achieve relationship-based practice and a strengths based approach with the people we work with, moving adult social work away from a ‘care management’ approach.

When I saw the role of Consultant Social Worker with the WMSWTP I was excited by the opportunity to use my existing experience, skills and knowledge to work with employers and HEIs across the region. I am delighted to have secured this position and I have been assigned to the North Sub-Region. This role is allowing me to further my role as a practice educator and to work on the learning and development of social workers from the point of entry onto social work programmes and throughout their career.

I have been in post since the beginning of July and have settled in well with the programme team who are all so supportive. I am enjoying working with HEI and Local Authority partners to respond to the priorities within the north sub region. I am working with partners on three workstreams; Social Work Admissions, Placement & Curriculum and Practice Education & CPD. I enjoy working on the interconnectivity of these three areas and how this fit into workforce planning and development, working alongside all the organisations in response to challenges within each area to achieve best practice. I have a particular interest in participation of people with lived experience within admissions, academic delivery and CPD and this has been a theme of the North sub region workstreams so far.

A key area of my work so far has been on the impact of Covid 19 on social work placements, ASYE and wider impact across the workforce. I have enjoyed consulting with partners about key priorities with placements, ASYE and CPD, as well as carrying out aspects of data analysis. Over the upcoming months, as a programme team we will be working with partners to develop different models/ solutions to respond to the priorities identified.

Finally, I am so pleased to be working on a specific project alongside BASW and the local authorities to facilitate the embedding of the capability statements for social work with adults with learning disabilities and autistic adults into practice regionally. With the strength of the partnership I hope that the West Midlands will be leading the way within this area of practice.

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