Hackney first local authority to receive accreditation for in-house PGDIP Systemic training in Children’s social care

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Cabinet Member for Children's Services
Child protection and safeguarding are some of the most important things we do as a local authority, and this course is about enabling our staff to work effectively with our most vulnerable children, young people and their families in our diverse borough.
Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Cabinet Member for Children's Services

Hackney Council has become the first local authority in the country, to receive accreditation for its postgraduate training in Systemic Theory and Practice within Children’s Social Care (Year 1).

The Council’s in-house postgraduate course has been accredited by the Association of Family Therapy and Systemic Practice (AFT), in a major milestone for the Council’s innovative work in embedding systemic practice across its Children and Families Service.

Systemic social work practice aims to support families and young people to build their capacity to address their own problems more effectively, using collaborative approach. This involves working with key relationships in a child or young person’s life and building on these to ensure that they are supportive, helpful and safe.

Systemic approaches are also about seeing and understanding children in the context of their families and in the context of their broader systems, for example schools, peer-groups, wider community, contact with professional agencies and social factors that impact on them, such as poverty, migration, violence and crime. This approach has proven to be effective in improving safeguarding outcomes for children and young people*. A recent government evaluation of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme recommended that national policy should support systemic social work.**

The course aims to support staff to develop a high standard of Systemic Social Work practice, with a specific focus on power, inequality and socio-cultural differences in work with families. Trainees are equipped with extensive skills in the application of Systemic Theory into day-to-day practice and learn how to use these when working with some of the most vulnerable children, young people and their families.

Shaba Dachi, is one of the first group of graduates to have received their certificates in a special ceremony at Hackney Town Hall.

He said: “Being able to participate in the training at Hackney Council was an excellent opportunity for development. I have been able to build on my existing knowledge of some concepts, as the course examines the origin, theory and detail of systemic theory and practice. The course tutors also enabled to understand how I can to apply this in my day to day practice. It has really changed the way I think about social work practice in the context of the families I work with.

“As practitioners we are encouraged and challenged to think about the power dynamics of our role in certain situations. Working to a strengths based model changes the way we work through difficulties in each case. I am really pleased to have achieved this.” 

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Deputy Mayor of Hackney and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, who presented the certificates, said:

“Hackney has a proud tradition of leading the way when it comes to innovation in social care, so we’re delighted to be the first local authority nationally to receive official accreditation for this important raining for children’s social workers. I am really pleased to have presented the certificates to our first cohort of graduates."


* There is evidence to suggest that systemic approaches to social work practice dramatically improves outcomes for children (Forrester et al. 2000 and Munro et al. 2010).

**The Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme (Final Evaluation Report) for DfE, made several recommendations for policy and practice in children’s social care. One of the national policy recommendations included support for systemic social work in the professional standards, training frameworks and inspection criteria. In recommendations for practice, it was recommended that children’s services providers should look at using a systemic, family-focused, strengths-based approach that supports families and young people to take more responsibility for their own lives.