The Firstline programme is based on extensive research into what constitutes excellent first line leadership in a children's social work setting. The programme has been specifically designed to help first line managers develop the skills they need to create change at a personal, relational and cultural level.
The design of the programme has been informed by extensive research that explored:
- What 'great' first line leadership looks like in children's social work
- What helps or hinders first line leaders in the local authority context
- What organisations can do to improve effective first line leadership
This led to the development of the Firstline curriculum, which is predicated on the insight that enhancing self-awareness is crucial for effective leadership and for creating and sustaining change. The curriculum covers elements such as:
- Creating a personal vision for leadership
- Understanding the internal and external barriers to change
- Influencing others and navigating complex systems
Firstline Leaders on the Firstline programme will take part in a range of activities that have been designed to achieve maximum impact while not taking managers away from their day-to-day work for extended periods. The programme caters for to a range of different learning styles and includes three two-day residential modules, individual leadership development sessions with dedicated Learning Development Advisors, facilitated action learning sets, seminars and online forums.
The research has led to the creation of a diagnostic tool - Praxis - that is designed to better understand the environment that managers work within. Its’ purpose is to help local authorities create the best working environment to support Firstline Leaders on the programme, as well as enabling excellent social work practice leadership more broadly.
The tool will allow Firstline to make an assessment of the organisational context at the local authority - specifically their trajectory and commitment towards creating an ideal working environment - before deciding whether to put individuals from that authority onto the Firstline programme.
Who Can Apply?
Firstline is specifically designed for professionals who manage children’s social workers spanning the full range of children’s services. This could include Consultant Social Workers, Team Managers or Assistant Team Managers.
During the prototype phase, Firstline is working with 40 social work managers within selected partner local authorities.
Firstline Leaders taking part in the prototype were initially identified by their local authority as having strong management skills. They have taken part in a number of exercises to assess their suitability for the programme. Individuals who were not selected were offered feedback on their performance to allow them to re-apply in the future, should the programme be extended.
If you are interested in taking part in future programmes please get in touch.
The Firstline programme is run by The Frontline Organisation, a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. Charity number 1163194: Company number 09605966 (England & Wales). Registered address: 65 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6TD.
Regions We Work With
London is a multicultural and vibrant city with a population of over 9 million people. However, the city faces complex challenges in improving the lives of vulnerable children.
Greater Manchester is the second most heavily populated area in the UK, it spans 493 square miles and has a population of over 2.68 million.
Newcastle is the most populous city in the North East - a region with a population of over 2.5 million, and the highest child poverty rates in the UK.