The importance of recording CPD

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Recording CPD

At Paradigm, we are champions of adults and children, and the public sector professionals who support them. We know how important it is to encourage self-reflection and ongoing development.

For social workers, professional development is not just an administrative necessity but a cornerstone of social work practice. By including mandatory CPD and peer reviews in their registration process, Social Work England recognises that quality learning is good for critical thinking, boosting self-esteem, and fostering collective progress.

However, for many social workers, there is real value in the opportunity to pause from the daily grind and truly contemplate work rather than just deliver.

Diverse CPD opportunities

Social workers have access to an array of CPD opportunities. These range from formal seminars, courses, and conferences—many of which have transitioned online during the Covid period—to less structured forms of learning. Acknowledging that learning is not confined to a classroom, Social Work England welcomes examples such as productive meetings, insightful videos, or reflections on handling workplace situations.

“On the Social Work England online account I tend to use the unstructured form, as I prefer to have a free text box. However, I do use the questions and sections from the structured forms as prompts, to support my thinking and to help me organise my reflections.” – Carmen Colomina Perez-Herrera

Beyond bureaucracy

We understand the idea of filling in another form and managing another web account might not be a popular one, but, this is about the continual nature of professional development. While you will need to document your learning, viewing it as a process integral to good practice will help consolidate the rich advantages of CPD.

Tip: Allocate time for CPD throughout the year and document it while it’s fresh.

Navigating the Process

Not all social workers may find recording CPD straightforward on the Social Work England website. In response, the regulator provides an online account guide and website support designed to assist in overcoming technical challenges. There is also guidance on documenting your learning available in the ‘how to record CPD’ section of the Social Work England website. Social Work England is committed to continually improving on-screen advice and site functionality to minimise errors and enhance user experience.

Guidance for a seamless experience

Feeling nervous about recording CPD? Here’s some practical advice:

  • Allocate time for CPD throughout the year and document it while it’s still fresh.
  • Summarise your CPD in a document such as Word and save it regularly to safeguard your work.
  • Access your Social Work England account via Google Chrome for ease and reliability.
  • Answer all questions when starting your online record; incomplete answers may hinder submission.
  • Stick to prescribed word limits to avoid potential loss of work.
  • Ensure anonymisation of all CPD records, refraining from including identifying information about others.
  • Don’t forget to submit your record; select ‘Submit CPD’ at the end of the form to complete the process.

The deadline for registration renewal is in November each year, but it’s always advisable to activate your online account promptly. Should you need assistance, your dedicated consultant at Paradigm is ready to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Up to £8,000 relocation allowance for social workers

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Up to £8,000 relocation allowance for social workers

Many local authorities are now offering relocation allowances for social workers moving into the area. These do vary, and policies may change over time, and are focused on areas where there is a high demand for social workers’ skills and expertise.

Paradigm is currently working with a number of local authorities where relocation allowances for social workers can reach up to £8,000 in many cases.

Paradigm is working with local authorities in the home counties. They are interested in hearing from qualified children’s social workers with a wide range of interest and experience.

There are relocation allowances available for eligible social workers of up to £8,000.

Mood tracking – it’s a game changer for mental health and wellbeing

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Mood tracking – it’s a game changer for mental health and wellbeing

At Paradigm, we know that self-awareness and emotional balance plays an important role in all our lives. However you spend your working day, taking a moment to reflect on your emotions can be a game-changer for mental well-being.

Have you tried mood tracking? It’s accessible to everyone, and easy to fit into even the busiest of working days.

Express Yourself and Take Control

Writing a diary, journal, or using a mood tracker can help you make sense of the world. Expressing anxiety and working through issues without fear of judgment can be liberating, offering clarity and control, especially during times of stress, depression, or anxiety.

Why Track Your Mood?

Recording your feelings can be beneficial in numerous ways. It helps identify triggers for negative moods, create strategies for managing negativity, and monitor what works for you. It can also unlock the power of creativity, providing a positive and relaxing outlet.

Incorporating mood tracking into your routine

In a society known for its stiff upper lip, embracing self-expression through mood tracking can be a positive action. Set aside a few minutes each day to record your thoughts, whether on paper or through apps like the 5 Minute Journal App or Day One. There’s no wrong answer—express your thoughts freely and consider it a communication tool that you can share on your own terms.

Additional benefits of mood tracking

In a sector closely tied to health and social care, we find incorporating mood tracking into your routine offers unique advantages:

  • Self-Awareness: Mood tracking serves as a compass for self-awareness, empowering you to notice patterns and understand emotional triggers.
  • Identifying Patterns: Recognise recurrent patterns tied to specific situations, people, or times of the day, allowing you to navigate challenges and maximise positive experiences.
  • Building Resilience: Reflect on past entries as a reminder of your strength in overcoming obstacles, finding resilience in the face of life’s ups and downs.
  • Personalised Well-being Strategies: Tailor self-care strategies based on identified triggers and patterns, taking a proactive approach to mental health.
  • Communication and Connection: Sharing mood tracking insights fosters open communication, helping others understand how to support you and breaking down stigmas surrounding mental health.
  • Goal Setting and Progress Monitoring: Use mood tracking as a tool for setting achievable mental health goals and celebrating progress along the way.

Tracking your mood isn’t just about recording emotions; it’s a powerful method for understanding, managing, and enhancing your mental well-being. By incorporating this simple practice into your daily routine, you embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment—one that can lead to a healthier, more balanced, and resilient you.

Blessing or burden? Living with the pros and cons of remote working

woman drinking coffee and working

Blessing or burden? Living with the pros and cons of remote working

There’s no mystery as to why remote working is popular with employees: more flexibility, reduced travel time (and cost), increased productivity and a greater sense of control.

It doesn’t work for everyone, though, and a number of employers have rowed back their flexible working policies in order to get together to share knowledge and skills, develop relationships and offer mutual support.

What do social workers think?

A hugely experienced locum, Sam Roberts has a wide-ranging knowledge of children’s social care garnered in local authorities in the south east of England.

Previously, he says, it was enough to have a contract as and when he needed it. These days he’s choosing work based on the career progression opportunities it offers.

Sam has worked with his Paradigm consultant for several years. Understanding his motivation and career objectives means that we are perfectly placed to consider all suitable vacancies. Recently, we suggested a project role at a new local authority.

This would certainly take Sam out of his comfort zone. It meant travelling to a new location and extra responsibility, but his consultant thought he would be perfect.

Sam’s new role is home-based. He has caring responsibilities, and being able to manage meetings and home visits gives him the flexibility he needs.

Better still, Sam is 100% sure he has the support of his line manager:

“There’s a strong sense of flexibility and trust. As long as the work is completed, it doesn’t matter where or when it’s done. We all know that life happens, and to work in an environment that works for everyone.”

What about those new to social work?

Malu Akao has just finished a social work degree. “I’m so relieved to have completed my degree,” she says. “It was so challenging at times.” Malu had no alternative but to set up her work station in her bedroom. “I felt really unprofessional sometimes, and I was worried that would affect the way people see and relate to me.”

The enclosed space was not the only lack of privacy was not the only drawback: “I’d shut down at the end of the day, but it was hard to decompress and get some distance between my personal life and what had been going on during the day.”

Remote working means that Malu spent limited time with her more experienced colleagues. Her practice educator had already said that she was too busy to take a student on and the absence of ‘water cooler’ conversations meant that she didn’t have the opportunity to chat things through with other team members. “I was gutted when my tutor said, ‘I’m sorry, I just can’t give you the time you need,’” Malu remembers. “I probably saw her five or six times in the 100 day assignment.”

Social workers are unlikely to go back full-time

In spite of the mixed reception, it’s unlikely that social workers will return to their offices full time. Now the technology is in place, and the precedent has been set, Paradigm’s candidates expect an element of flexibility in the roles they’re considering. There will always be the need for face to face supervision and home visits, but there are lots of tasks that are actually better done at home.

Remote working has been liberating in so many ways. We’re confident that if it’s approached flexibly, it could be a really powerful element within a local authority’s recruitment and retention strategy.

How a recruitment agency can help with your job search

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How a recruitment agency can help with your job search

Navigating your career

Embarking on a job search can be an exhaustive process, filled with challenges such as unanswered applications, minimal feedback on rejections, and the struggle to pinpoint your ideal role through traditional job boards. Amidst these hurdles, Paradigm steps in as your ally. Let’s explore how our recruitment agency can be instrumental in helping you discover and secure your dream job.

Excellent tailored search

When you engage with Paradigm, you can expect a personalised experience. A dedicated consultant will be assigned to understand your unique preferences, including location, pay rates, and ideal role. This tailored approach ensures that your CV is presented for roles that align precisely with your key criteria.

Support and guidance

Different roles demand distinct specifications, and sending a generic CV may not suffice. Your Paradigm consultant will help you tailor your CV to match each job description.

Our consultants offer valuable insights to prepare you for interviews. They will suggest potential questions and help you craft the perfect response. Their knowledge of the job market and client expectations will mean you’re presented in the best possible light.

Streamlined job search

Sending applications to numerous companies can result in a flood of responses and interviews. Juggling multiple interviews can be overwhelming. Let your Paradigm consultant do the heavy lifting  by sending your CV to targeted clients. They will coordinate your interviews and offer ongoing mentoring and coaching. This strategic approach ensures that you can focus your efforts and increase your chances of securing your dream role.

Building an ongoing relationship

The partnership with Paradigm extends beyond a one-off transaction. If you establish a positive rapport and build a lasting relationship, you can leverage our services for future opportunities.

And, if you ever need help finding the best candidates to join your own team, Paradigm is here to help. If you have vacancies that need filling, let us know and we’ll help you find the perfect person for the job.

Constructive Feedback for Continuous Improvement

Facing rejection without understanding the reasons behind it can be disheartening. Your consultant will pass on constructive feedback. You’ll be able to focus on areas for improvement and accelerate your path to securing your dream job.

At Paradigm, under the Pertemps Professional Recruitment umbrella, our exceptional consultants specialise in connecting high-calibre professionals with opportunities in the public sector. Reach out to us for a confidential discussion about your next career move, and let us take the reins in guiding you toward success.

Working from home is here to stay, but does it work for everyone?

man typing on laptop

Working from home is here to stay, but does it work for everyone?

Prior to March 2020 around only 5.7% of us worked exclusively from home. In 2023 around half of the UK’s working population has some sort of hybrid existence.

Such a seismic shift isn’t easy, some employers are now rowing back against the tide. With a distinct lack of irony, Zoom, the communications company whose video app took flight during the pandemic, is insisting its staff return to the office. People living within 50 miles (80km) of an office must be there in person at least twice a week.

Elon Musk has weighed in, too. “I think that the whole notion of work from home is … not just a productivity thing. it’s morally wrong.”. This criticism is based on double standards: front line and service industry employees don’t have much choice but to travel to their workplace, while many others are able to pocket their train fare and stay at home in front of their laptops.

‘WFH’ has also had a hand in the economic performance of our cities, house prices and employee wellbeing: it has been one of the biggest changes to working patterns in recent history.

Can social workers be successful at home?

Many social workers enjoy the freedom to structure their own schedule. It simply works for lots of people – the fact they’re trusted to work remotely is also hugely gratifying. And of course, it’s easier to fit family and other responsibilities in.

However, the issue of personal space and maintaining boundaries is very real for social workers. Will, a newly qualified social worker still lives with his parents. The only place he can set up his workspace is his bedroom. For Will, it can be “weirdly disturbing” to have his colleagues and clients ‘inside’ his own private space when on video calls. For Will, the best of both worlds is having the flexibility to choose whether he goes into the office or stays at home to catch up with paperwork. And of course, on the front line, nothing can beat face to face and home visits.

More organised and efficient

“I am far more organised and efficient when I’m working from home,” says Aimee, a social worker in an adult assessment team. “I can fit in more meetings when I’m working remotely, and that means I can see more people per day.” Aimee also likes the fact that she saves money on fuel, and reduces her carbon footprint by staying at home.

Technology is also a winner, says Aimee: “When I use Microsoft Teams for my meetings, I can type up my notes in real time. It’s great because data gets into the system so much quicker.”

Make hybrid work for you

  1. Set a schedule to stick to

Taking control makes everything feel more manageable and reduces the chances of being overwhelmed by your workload.  It can help mental health as well. Aiming for a good sleep pattern, eating breakfast at the same time each day and dressing in day clothes rather than pyjamas will all help you to get into a working mindset.

If you can, set aside a work area. A dedicated workspace will reduce distractions, and working at a desk (with an ‘office’ chair) rather than on the sofa is so much better for your posture and musculature.

Most importantly, set an alarm, and make sure you stop at the end of the working day. Overworking can reduce the quality of your sleep and unnecessary stress will eat away at your mental health.

  1. Use communication tools

These will show people when you are on and offline. They’re a handy way to let your colleagues know when you’re available.

  1. Take breaks

Get your blood pumping! Taking a walk in the fresh air introducing some physical activity can help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease and strengthen bones and muscles. Sitting less and doing any amount of physical activity is beneficial all round.

Packing more joy into WFH

  • A comfy chair is a must, especially when you are sitting for most of the day. Splash out on one that helps your posture to avoid any back pain that could come from slouching on a sofa or dining chair.
  • If you have space on your desk for a second monitor, it may be a good idea. Being able to space out your tabs and see multiple documents open at once can help keep all your tasks in order.
  • A mouse and mouse mat are always a good shout, especially when working at a laptop all day. The built-in trackpad can become tiresome after a while, so give your hands a break – a full-size mouse can be a lifesaver.
  • Block out distractions and avoid irritation with some good quality over-ear noise cancelling headphones. Make sure that they’re the right size, and simply sit back and bask in the superior sound quality.
  • Enhance your visual world! A ring light with a tripod will add a certain something to Teams meetings. Everyone looks better in good lighting, and it might just give you the boost you didn’t know you needed.
  • Match your mood, and improve focus, energy and memory with an essential oil diffuser. Lavender can help you relax, eucalyptus will help you stay centred, and frankincense can get your creative juices flowing. Oils set the tone for your room and a diffuser puts moisture back into the air to help keep your skin healthy.