Join a network to influence social work practice conditions and workload

Published: 12/01/2024

Author: Research in Practice

Local authorities are invited to join a network for the National Workload Action Group (NWAG) and Valuing Social Work Project.  

Research in Practice, in partnership with Essex County Council and King’s College London, is working with the National Workload Action Group (NWAG) and other partners to develop resources to support recruitment, retention, and workforce development, and to provide recommendations to the Department of Education (DfE) about reducing social worker workload. The work will help enhance safe and effective practice and promote the value and diversity of the social work role.  

Local authorities are invited to be involved in the Review Testing and Implementation Network (RTIN) to test and develop resources and scrutinise ideas and recommendations. Social workers, managers of social workers, workforce development leads and other professionals working in social care, along with the views of people with lived experience of children’s social care, will ensure that the resources and ideas developed are relevant and necessary.

RTIN members will help to test resources in several ways: 

  • By providing feedback in a single structured online focus group session. 

  • By providing online feedback after reviewing a resource online (once or several times). 

  • Participating in several sessions to co-produce a practice tool or guidance.


Developing, Testing and Quality Assurance (QA)

Each local authority will need to fill out an expression of interest form by the 26 January

  • Research in Practice will review and identify 15 local authorities using a range of criteria to check resources are relevant to a wide range of local areas.   

  • If selected, you will need to nominate a single point of contact in your organisation.  

  • Each local authority will enter into a written agreement with Research in Practice about their involvement in the project and will receive financial remuneration of £7,000 to cover administration costs. 

Between January 2024 and March 2025.

Essex County Council will contact organisations for nominated people to be involved in developing, testing, or commenting on learning resources, or to contribute to discussions about social worker workload. 

  • All activities will be arranged several weeks in advance and participation will be voluntary.   

  • All activities will take place online to minimise the impact on professional practice.   

  • Participant time commitments will range from a two-hour focus group to a series of online meetings over several months to develop resources.   

  • Time commitments will be specified in any request, and participants will be asked to ensure that they have an agreement to participate. 

Participants will have opportunities to:  

  • Access a diverse peer network at the forefront of developments in shaping thinking and solutions to pressing workforce challenges. 

  • Enhance capabilities and skills as part of continuing professional development.   

  • Support innovation and learning amongst other local authorities and partners. 

  • Connect with a wider social care ‘eco-system’ at a regional and national level. 

Final learning outputs and NWAG project recommendations will be disseminated nationally and published on the website. 

There are other ways your organisation (and the people working in your organisation) can contribute to this work. To receive more information about these opportunities join the mailing list by emailing