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Considering a role within the social work industry, and have come across terms that you just can’t place your finger on? Whether you’re interested in joining an adoption team, EDT or locality team, you can find out all about this and more in our extensive glossary.

Adoption Team

Adoption team social workers are involved with the recruitment and assessment of potential adopters, and the provision of support. Social workers can also help with any Adoption Support Fund Applications to ensure that the correct services are in place to help the family.


An agency-based social worker who works on a temporary basis. Contracts typically begin with an initial three month contract, to ensure that the social worker and their client are a good match.

As we state in our blog, ‘What To Expect When Moving From Permanent To Agency’, agency roles offer many benefits, including flexible working, higher wages and the opportunity to learn from different management styles, and experience different teams.


Approved Mental Health Professional: A social worker who is allowed to make legal decisions and applications under the Mental Health Act 1983, such as:

  • Whether patients should be removed to a place of safety.
  • Whether patients should be offered inpatient hospital care, either on a voluntary or statutory basis.


A team of social workers will complete what are known as ‘Single Assessments’ within 40 days of a new caseload, and determine what the required outcome is – for example, Case closure; Child in Need (CIN); Child Protection (CP).

Care Proceedings

If a local authority decides that they need to get involved with a family to keep a child safe then they may start a court case, known as a ‘’public law’’ or ‘’care proceedings’’. Typically, this happens when the social worker has tried to help, but they feel this has not worked and immediate action is required.


The number of cases (e.g. individual child, children within a family or family) that a social worker is concerned with at any one time.

Children In Care

Another term for LAC (Looked After Children): A child who is ‘looked after’ will have been taken into care of the council through a court order or with the voluntary agreement of their parents. They may be looked after in a children’s home, by foster carers, within their birth families or by other family members.

Child Social Worker

There are various types of child social worker roles available, which include:

  • Duty & Assessment.
  • Looked After Children Team.
  • Emergency Duty.
  • Disabilities.
  • Fostering & Adoption.


Children In Need: Children who are under the age of 18 and:

  • Need a local authority to help achieve a reasonable standard of health and/or development.
  • Need a local authority to prevent harm to their health or well-being.
  • Disabled.

The local team and social worker will help the child with after-school and holiday care, provide advice, guidance and counselling, and assist with round-the-house activities, such as laundry and cleaning.


Community Mental Health Team: Helps those dealing with mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, through the organisation and provision of therapy, support and advocacy. This may extend to better integration into society, through housing, employment and making friends, for example.


Will assist in care proceedings and onward planning for children who aren’t able to return to their family. Court team social workers will provide evidence in care proceedings as an expert witness on behalf of the local authority.


Child Protection: This is where the Initial Child Protection Conference (ICPC) has convened and the child/children have been made subject to Child Protection Plans under one of the following categories: Neglect, Emotional, Physical or Sexual Harm. The social worker will determine whether any court orders are required to protect the child/children.


Children and Young Person Services: All children’s services falls under this category, which includes needs assessment, family support, special needs, disabilities and child protection.


Children and Families.


A DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check, helps employers to make safer recruitment decisions and prevents unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, such as children. The check looks at an individual’s criminal, such as cautions, warnings, reprimands and convictions, as well as whether the applicant is on the barred list for children or adults.


A disability social worker helps people with physical and mental disabilities cope with the challenges in their daily lives. They help with transportation, living arrangements, employment and finding suitable support groups, as well as working with healthcare professionals to ensure their mental and physical well-being.

Duty & Assessment

A children’s social worker in the Duty & Assessment service responds to new referrals from professionals and members of the public. Duties include:

  • Determining whether the call should be investigated and how it should proceed.
  • Signposting children to the right agency, or to undergo an assessment of need.
  • Investigate allegations of neglect and/or abuse so the child is kept safe from future harm.

Education Progress Officer

Ensures that the children they are responsible for have access to all levels of education, in particular high school and college.


Emergency Duty Team: This team of social workers work out of hours – usually from 5pm until 8:30am the next day, covering any emergencies that require a social worker’s presence during the night. For example, they sometimes have to act as an appropriate adult or arrange a placement for a child’s safety at the last minute.


Social workers in fostering teams will supervise foster parents, complete form F assessments and present any special cases at panels. They will also attend LAC reviews and provide ongoing support to the foster carers.


Health and Care Professions Council: An independent regulator of social workers, as well as healthcare professionals such as psychologists, paramedics and chiropodists. Their role is to protect the public by maintaining a register of all those who are registered as (e.g.) social workers, ensuring they follow the standards that allow safe, legal and effective practice. HCPC is also there to protect the social worker.

The HCPC will be replaced by the Social Work England in December 2019.

Hospital Discharge

Responsible for offering support and the provision of resources that patients need in order to help recover from illnesses and injury. After performing an assessment of the patient’s support needs, the social worker will work with the patient’s family, support system and other health service providers to create a bespoke discharge plan for in-home medical equipment, transportation, meal planning, counselling and follow-up treatments, among other resources.


Integrated Front Door: Another port of call for those:

  • Concerned about a child or young person who may be at risk of harm.
  • Who would like to speak to a social worker in the First Response Team.
  • Who would like to speak to a social worker about an open case.
  • Who would like to make an enquiry relating to adoption and fostering services.

Initial Response

When there are serious child protection concerns, a same day response will be provided by the local initial response service, providing children and their families with the help they desperately need.


Independent Reviewing Officer: Works for the local authority, but has an independent view of the care plan they have suggested for the child or young adult.
Duties Include:

  • Challenging the local authority if they believe the plan is not in the best interests of the child.
  • Ensure that children’s views are heard and recorded.
  • Ensure that children don’t stay in care longer than they need to.


The Integrated Service for Children with Additional Needs: Offers treatment and support to young people with additional needs and/or complex needs, by working with families and other healthcare professionals.


Looked After Children: If a decision is made that a child will remain in foster care due to court orders, then the case will transfer to a LAC team. They will work alongside other professionals to ensure the child receives suitable care, education and health services.


Learning Disabilities: Helps children and adults who have difficulty learning because they are autistic, have aspergers or physical conditions that make learning difficult, such as cerebral palsy. The social worker will help to set educational goals for the client, outline services that their community can provide and list the modifications the community could make to help them to progress.


Locality teams work with children aged 0-18 who are considered to be in need or at risk of harm. They’ll bring together a range of agencies to assist and support the child, and have close links with local schools and services, for example.


The Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub: Provides a single point of access to a range of services that keep children safe, such as mental health services, social care, health services and victim support. They will screen all calls, and decide the most suitable course of action.

Neighbourhood Team

Local teams consisting of health and social care professionals that work with people with long-term conditions, and the elderly. The social worker’s aim is to support people to remain in their own homes and live as independently as possible, for as long as possible.


A permanent social worker has an ongoing contract with one authority, and is therefore considered a member of their staff. Benefits include sick pay, annual leave and maternity/paternity cover.

QSW – Level 1/NQSW

Qualified Social Worker – Level 1: A newly-qualified social worker who has recently completed their university degree.

QSW – Level 2

Qualified Social Worker – Level 2: A social worker who has a degree (and perhaps also a Masters in Social Work), and has at least 12 months experience with a suitable role.

QSW – Level 3

Qualified Social Worker – Level 3: A social worker who has 2+ years post-qualifying experience within the industry.

QSW – Advanced

Qualified Social Worker – Advanced: A social worker who has 2+ years qualifying experience within the industry, and also:

  • Assists in the recruitment, induction and supervision of new social workers.
  • Provides guidance, leadership and professional expertise to a team of social workers.
  • Ensure that your team always complies with the policies and procedures relating to health and safety within your department.

QSW – Experienced

Qualified Social Worker – Experienced: A social worker who has 2+ years qualifying experience within the industry, and also:

  • Demonstrates expertise and effective practice in complex situations, assessing and managing higher levels of risk.
  • Manage complex caseloads and offer expert opinions on the right course of action.
  • Chair a range of meetings, offering support at case conferences.


An area of social work concerned with the care and protection and adults who have care and support needs, and who may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

Senior Practitioner

A social worker with a high level of expertise and experience, with duties including:

  • Working with children, young people and their families dealing with complex problems which require advanced practice.
  • Speak with schools and local services on behalf of children and their families to ensure that views are heard, recorded and dealt with.
  • Supervise and undertake observations of social work students and newly qualified social workers.

Service Manager

A service manager has a range of responsibilities, including:

  • The provision of operational and managerial support to staff within their team.
  • Ensuring that appropriate services are delivered through joint partnerships with necessary agencies and service providers.
  • Drive service improvements, for optimal effectiveness.

Social Work

The global definition, as defined by the IFSW General Meeting and the IASSW General Assembly in July 2014 is as follows:

“Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledges, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.

The above definition may be amplified at national and/or regional levels”.

Social Work Assistant

Working under the supervision of a licensed social worker, they help to improve the client’s lives. Duties include:

  • Contributing to a treatment plan and advising clients about resources and programs.
  • Ensuring that services are being utilised, and that they benefit the client.

Team Manager

Social Work Team Managers guide, motivate, nurture and manage a team of social workers that may include a range of experienced staff and newly qualified workers. They will:

  • Ensure the service their team is providing is effective and results in positive outcomes.
  • Manages performance of all team members, resources and budgets with other key agencies and stakeholders.


Helps young people who will be moving into Adult Services, by assessing their needs and developing care plans to meet them.


We hope you’ve found this glossary helpful. For more information on any of the terms, teams and roles mentioned within, please give us a call today on 0161 327 0936 to discuss these further. We also have a great range of jobs available for you to check out too.

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