Working for us as a social worker
“Staff are well supported to ensure that they can work in an environment that is conducive to achieving the best outcomes for families and children.”
— Cafcass staff member
No other organisation does the kind of work we do. Our role in working with children, young people and families in the family justice system is unique.
Court. Schools. Family homes. Our offices. Your own home. Wherever you are working as a social worker, we will ensure you are able to do so in a healthy environment that promotes flexibility, self-care, and a great work-life balance. Plus, with a range of rewards and benefits on offer, you will have all the support you need to maximise your capabilities – and to make lasting, positive differences to the children and families with whom we work.
Our ‘Together with children and families’ relationship-based practice framework sets out the importance to us of working with children and their families. It is based on developing trusting relationships, where listening, understanding, clear reasoning, respect and integrity are prioritised. The framework is intended to help everyone who works for us to do their best work with the children and families who are involved in private or public law court proceedings.
Together is made up of values, how these values work in practice, the tools our staff use to incorporate these values in our work and the impact this will have on the children and families we serve. The following provides an overview of what it is like working for us including information on:
- Health and wellbeing
- Rewards and benefits
- Learning and development
- A healthy working environment
Health and wellbeing
Supporting the wellbeing of our colleagues is embedded within our organisational culture and has helped us successfully manage large increases in demands for our services over recent years.
We are proud of our health and wellbeing offer. But we keep it under regular review and are committed to ensuring it continues to meet the needs of our social workers.
Find out how we support you with your health and wellbeing:
Our specialist award-winning health and wellbeing team is responsible for the strategic planning, development, delivery and evaluation of all the health and wellbeing support we offer. Their holistic model incorporates five key areas of wellbeing: physical, mental/emotional, social, financial and environmental.
Employee Assistance Programme
Our Employee Assistance Programme is a telephone advice line that is available 24 hours per day and 365 days a year where staff can obtain support for a host of health-related issues and conditions. It is resourced by experienced, non-judgmental British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accredited counsellors providing confidential advice, triage and counselling services.
Employee Health Plan
Joining us means you will have access to optical and dental benefits, complimentary therapies such as physiotherapy, orthopaedic care and reflexology, as well as contributions towards diagnostic scans, prescriptions and private consultations.
We have an external provider to provide occupational health services for those with medical conditions or who are absent from work due to a health-related issue. All the Occupational Health Advisors and Occupational Health Physicians are qualified registered practitioners.
All our staff have access to online financial wellbeing guidance to help with money-related matters such as building up savings, finding the right mortgage, managing debt, pension savings, and so much more.
Health and Wellbeing Champions
We have a dedicated network of volunteer Health & Wellbeing Champions. Their role is to help build a supportive work environment that empowers and enables employees to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Staff diversity networks
We have a range of professional networks which provide the opportunity for colleagues to support and network with each other and help shape and inform best practice. They can be an important resource to help staff feel supported and listened to.
The overall aims of our diversity networks are to:
- provide a space for staff to support each other;
- build a sense of community across geographical boundaries;
- give a collective voice on issues;
- be a consultee for people and practice related diversity issues relevant to the network; and
- support our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
Our staff diversity networks are as follows:
The aim of the Pride Network is to promote an inclusive working environment where those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) or anywhere along the spectrums of both sexuality and/or gender identity, feel supported. We aim for this to be reflected in the service we provide to children, young people and families, and that this understanding should underpin all our work.
The network promotes LGBT+ issues within our organisation and raises awareness. The network can also be contacted by staff for support, advice or further signposting towards national or local resources.
The Kaleidoscope Diversity Network is a confidential support group which provides a safe space for African, African Caribbean, Asian and other ethnic minority heritage colleagues to support each other.
They seek to build a sense of community across geographical boundaries whether North, East, West or South; regardless of region and give a collective voice on issues impacting individuals, our organisation and our practice. Members of the network act as consultees for people and practice related diversity issues relevant to the network.
The Kaleidoscope Network seeks to promote the needs of our members across diverse racial origins in order to positively influence practice, staff retention, career progression and recruitment across all levels of the organisation.
- Mental Health
The Mental Health Network is a safe space for colleagues to discuss Mental Health and find support and advice. The network holds weekly coffee and catch ups, Teams chat for support and sharing resources, formal network meetings and raising awareness of mental health within our organisation.
- Faith Network
The Faith Network is for anyone who is part of, or has an interest in faith, both religious and non-religious. Members do not need to be part of a religious or spiritual faith community to join.
The network holds regular meetings to provide a space for our staff and network members to engage in open non-judgmental conversation about faith related topics. They seek to raise awareness and understanding throughout our organisation of faith and spirituality and to promote sensitive and inclusive practice with children and adults.
The network provides support, guidance and advice to staff and supports our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
- Carers Network
The Carers Network is a group of diverse staff who have a range of caring responsibilities for their family or friends. They are committed to raising awareness of some of the challenges working carers can face and the qualities carers bring to our organisation. They have been involved in developing policy and training to raise awareness and support for our staff.
The network offers mutual support and advice, regular coffee catch ups, formal meetings and campaigns to develop carer friendly practice and policies.
- Ability Matters
Ability Matters is a staff network supporting staff with disabilities and long-term health conditions. It is a safe space for discussion and raises awareness of issues that may affect our staff and the children and families with whom we work. The network highlights potential practice improvements in our work with children and families.
- Neurodiversity network
The Neurodiversity Network is a confidential community that aims to provide a safe space for all colleagues that are either neurodiverse, believe they are neurodiverse or have neurodiverse family members/dependents. They are committed to raising awareness and support for colleagues who are neurodiverse and improve the support and resources we have for our work with neurodiverse children and families.
The network offers a monthly meeting, regular catch ups and actively supports our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.
Dementia Friends – staff who have attended a workshop to understand more about dementia and how to better support those affected.
Cancer Buddies – staff who have attended a workshop with MacMillan to better understand how to support staff who have been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly.
Domestic Abuse Support Colleagues – staff who are trained to recognise, respond and refer colleagues who are experiencing, or who have experienced, domestic abuse.
Our Sustainability Group aims to promote values of environmentally sustainable development and corporate social responsibility to inform, inspire and find solutions to some of the challenges we all face.
Bespoke workshops and training:
We provide comprehensive training and information programmes on important health and wellbeing issues. For example, throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we delivered training on topics relating to the impact of the pandemic and the various lockdowns. This included financial health, successfully managing remote working teams and adjusting to the “new normal”.
We also offer a continual ‘schedule of support’ for staff. This includes a series of workshops, webinars and drop-in sessions to support the wellbeing of our staff. Sessions include guided meditations, seated stretch sessions, keeping mentally well webinars and compassion fatigue workshops.
Online support channels:
To help disseminate health information and provide the means for employees to communicate with the health and wellbeing team, health champions and each other we have created a ‘Healthy Working’ Teams channel to share hints and tips and useful resources.
Working for Cafcass intranet page:
All the health and wellbeing resources we create are available on our easy to navigate intranet page. This is subdivided into relevant categories including:
- physical health (nutrition resources, sleep resources and eLearning; physical activity resources, information on quitting smoking and alcohol cessation):
- mental health (including a stress management guide, stress management toolkit, support for eating disorders, suicide prevention, bereavement and a mindfulness eLearning); and
- health conditions (including cancer, the menopause, dyslexia, dementia and eating disorders).
Cafcass has further underlined its commitment to equality of opportunity by successfully achieving accreditation for the Department of Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident Leader scheme demonstrating our commitment to employ, train, retain and develop the careers of colleagues with disabilities.
As someone who might be considering joining Cafcass, you can take confidence that we are an employer that:
- Actively looks to attract and recruit disabled people.
- Provides a fully inclusive and accessible recruitment process.
- Offers an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the role.
- Is flexible when assessing people so disabled job applicants have the best opportunity to demonstrate that they can do the job.
- Makes reasonable adjustments as required.
- Encourages our suppliers and partner firms to be Disability Confident.
- Ensures employees have sufficient disability equality awareness.
Furthermore, should you join us you will be part of an organisation that:
- Promotes a culture of being Disability Confident.
- Supports employees to manage their disabilities or health conditions.
- Ensures there are no barriers to the development and progression of disabled staff.
- Ensures managers are aware of how they can support staff who are sick or absent from work.
- Values and listens to feedback from disabled staff.
- Regularly reviews its Disability Confident Leader self-assessment.
We have also become a member of the Employer’s Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA).
The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) is a network of companies and public sector organisations which have one mission in common: to tackle domestic abuse by raising awareness, supporting those affected, and providing support and education to help perpetrators to stop.
As part of the network, Cafcass representatives attend quarterly meetings at the House of Commons to exchange information on best practice and to encourage, promote and develop action to help staff who are either victims or perpetrators. We are proud to be part of such a wide initiative of making domestic abuse everyone’s business.
As part of being a good employer, Cafcass is committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of all staff. Cafcass has signed the Charter for Employers who are Positive about Mental Health.
As an employer we recognise that:
- People who have mental health issues may have experienced discrimination in recruitment and selection procedures. This may discourage them from seeking employment.
- Whilst some people will acknowledge their experience of mental health issues in a frank and open way, others fear that stigma will jeopardise their chances of getting a job.
- Given appropriate support, the vast majority of people who have experienced mental ill health continue to work successfully, as do many with ongoing issues.
As an employer we aim to:
- Show a positive and enabling attitude to employees and job applicants with mental health issues. This will include positive statements in local recruitment literature.
- Ensure that all staff involved in recruitment and selection are briefed on mental health issues and The Equality Act 2010 and given appropriate interview skills.
- Make it clear in any recruitment or occupational health check that people who have experienced mental health issues will not be discriminated against and that disclosure of a mental health problem will enable both employee and employer to assess and provide the right level of support or adjustment.
- Not make assumptions that a person with a mental health issue will be more vulnerable to workplace stress or take more time off than any other employee or job applicant.
- Provide non-judgemental and proactive support to individual staff who experience mental health issues.
- Ensure all line managers have information and training about managing mental health in the workplace.
As part of our commitment to an inclusive and supportive work culture, we are proud to have achieved Level 2 of the Carer Confident benchmarking scheme. This spotlights our dedication to supporting working carers and our commitment to young carers.
The Carer Confident benchmarking scheme is co-ordinated by Carers UK - the leading charity for unpaid carers. They support, advocate for, champion and connect carers across the UK. They work with a range of organisations to support and guide them with their policies, procedures and initiatives.
We were commended by Carers UK for the following aspects of our support:
- Staff Carers Network
- dedicated carers policy
- our awareness and support of current and potential carers
- carers buddy groups
- carers commitment
- flexible working arrangements.
We are currently working towards Level 3 of the Carer Confident benchmarking scheme which we hope to achieve during 2024.
Rewards and benefits
We know if you join us you want to be rewarded in a variety of ways. You want time away from work to spend time with those important to you, manage your financial present and future and be trusted to manage your work/life balance.
Therefore, in addition to our unique, holistic approach to supporting your health and wellbeing we also have a comprehensive benefits package to supplement your salary which includes a London weighting allowance where applicable.
Find out more about the range of excellent benefits below
In addition to Bank Holidays, staff are entitled to 28 days annual leave per year (our annual leave year runs from 1 April to 31 March) of which three days are reserved for the period between Christmas and New Year. Once you have five years’ continuous service, your annual leave entitlement increases to 33 days per year.
We encourage everyone to make full use of their annual leave. It is important that you have time away from work as we know this has important benefits for health and wellbeing and helps ensure you feel more focussed and productive at work.
Employees with a contract of three months or more are contractually enrolled into the West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF) which is part of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). Employee contribution rates vary from 5.5% to 12.5% of salary depending on your earnings. In addition to your pension contribution, Cafcass makes an employer contribution to WYPF which is currently the equivalent of 19.1% of pensionable pay.
Cafcass employees who are LGPS members are also able to make additional voluntary contributions to increase their pension income through a tax efficient salary sacrifice arrangement which offers significant advantages over a traditional AVC arrangement.
If you join us direct from a Modifications Order Body (i.e. such as a local authority or other local government body), we will recognise your prior service from that employer and also any relevant qualifying service from other previous employers as long as there is no more than a gap of one working week between you leaving your current employer and starting work with us.
The potential benefits of this include being entitled to 33 days annual leave on commencement as well as enhanced maternity / paternity pay.
We currently reimburse Social Work England registration fee costs for all social work practitioners. This will be paid directly into your first payslip.
Most colleagues are enabled to work in a hybrid way, giving them the benefits of working both from the office and home. We may also accommodate flexible working requests (e.g. 9-day fortnights).
Cafcass employees are able to access preferential rates through our registration with a third-party car leasing provider.
Staff can access a Cycle to Work scheme to save between 32-42% on the cost of a bike and accessories by benefiting from tax savings through salary sacrifice.
Generous discounts are available with a wide range of companies covering leisure, technology, travel, personal finance, fashion, supermarkets and much, much more.
We provide the opportunity to make charitable donations each month directly through your salary. This allows you to benefit from tax savings. You can choose to give any amount as either a one-off payment or a regular debit from your salary. This can be cancelled at any time.
We encourage our employees to advocate for working at Cafcass by encouraging people in their professional and personal networks to think about joining us. In return, if someone they refer joins us as an employee, referrers receive a £500 one-off payment (taxable and subject to statutory deductions) when the person starts in their role.
Learning and development
We encourage and support you to take responsibility for your own professional learning and development and work alongside you to help you achieve your goals. We take an approach which helps you to use your strengths and provides space for you to develop. We enable you to reflect upon, and discuss, your aspirations and support you to learn and achieve more.
All Staff receive a tailored Induction Programme to support you in your role when starting with us in Cafcass, and includes:
- A personalised local-induction plan
- Attend a Cafcass Induction Day
- Core and mandatory training specific to your team / department
- Induction Training for newly appointed managers
At the root of all our development strategies are regular supervision and Performance and Learning Reviews. You help identify your own development needs and we have a range of tools in place to support you to address them.
Our online learning platform provides a range of materials that can be accessed at any time. There are modules on a range of topics from social work practice to management theory and personal development. Our National Improvement Service and HR teams also run a range of workshops and events, allowing all staff to develop core competencies.
You will also have access to our eLearning platform, in-house Library and quarterly briefings (which count towards your Continuing Professional Development requirements).
We have developed a Cafcass Coaching Skills programme which combines eLearning with real-life practice. We recognise that some learning is best done one to one, so we have a network of coaches and mentors that can really support your development.
We run a number of programmes through the year designed to ensure everyone has the necessary learning and development opportunities:
- Our Emerging Talent programme is aimed at employees with the aspiration to move to a higher graded role within a 12-month period.
- Our Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Programme is aimed at employees with the aspiration to move to a management role
- We offer leadership and management development programmes that provide specific development if you are an existing manager or aspire to be one.
- Our Practice Supervisors and Business Services Teams have bespoke development programmes aimed at increasing their professional knowledge and skills.
- We also run Graduate and a range of accredited Apprentice Programmes.
A healthy working environment
We pride ourselves in working flexibly through the use of technology. We work hard to ensure that our staff have the tools to undertake their roles efficiently and effectively.
All our staff have a laptop and a smart phone. This allows a flexible approach to work and means colleagues can work from an office, court or home.
We have video-conferencing facilities in many of our office locations and everyone has access to MS Teams. This reduces the need for travel and means our FCAs can spend more time working with children.
You can request leave, record and submit expenses, view payslips, book onto training courses and much more via our online HR system. This can be used on a computer or smartphone. It provides complete flexibility as to when you complete these tasks.
ChildFirst is our electronic case recording system. You can update your case files wherever you are on a computer or smartphone.
Beyond offering flexible ways of working, we provide interest free season ticket loans for commuter journeys. We also offer a Cycle to Work scheme which significantly reduces the cost of purchasing a bicycle.