close menu changing paper program test scale idea system calendar twitter down-arrow check pin

Explore our
projects & insights


Project start date: December 2014

We were awarded £1.8m to produce a development programme for first-tier line managers in children’s social care (Firstline), to improve staff training. Firstline aimed to reconceive the role of social work managers so that they become the engines for the development of practice excellence.

Project Summary


Numerous government reviews of social work practice have found serious deficiencies in the quality of social work practice. First-line managers have a critical role to play in developing the practice of social workers. Rather than managers focusing on process management, they should focus on leadership, as well as nurturing and developing staff practice.

The leadership development programme consisted of a Kick Off meeting; three two-day residential modules; six two-hour individual meetings with a development adviser; three on-site action learning sets and a wrap up meeting. All of these events were aimed to enable good first line managers to become high-performing and influential leaders in social work and wider society.

With continued need for leadership development programmes, in children and family social work, the Firstline programme is being expanded, with continued evaluation. A further £3.73m has been invested by the Innovation Programme to spread Firstline to over 400 social work managers across the next three years.

Find out more

Project contact details

Mary Jackson, Leadership Development Director


Project evaluators

Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University

Project partners


Upcoming events