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Practice development manager

Manage the development of social work teams to promote and support evidence-based best practice
Other names
Practice development consultant, practice development officer, practice development leader, practice and learning manager

What you'll do

As a practice development manager you’ll:

  • identify knowledge gaps and assess the development needs of social work teams 
  • develop, lead and manage practice development projects 
  • collect and evaluate data to assess the effectiveness of practice models 
  • analyse data to track the performance of new policies to ensure better outcomes for children and families 
  • report on the progress and outcome of development projects to senior managers 
  • manage budgets for development projects and track expenses 
  • support social workers to ensure children and families are receiving high-quality service 
  • work with policymakers to develop public awareness campaigns and provide training for other professionals 

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • decision-making and problem-solving skills to understand complex development needs
  • leadership and management skills to lead practice development projects
  • organisational skills to plan, organise and manage complex projects from start to finish
  • analytical skills to interpret data and trends and make evidence-based recommendations
  • communication and interpersonal skills to influence external partners and policymakers 
  • knowledge of relevant legislation and policies to inform new practice models
  • the ability to adapt to changes in the funding and policy landscape and translate those into practice

How to become one

To become a practice development manager you must:

  • have completed a degree, apprenticeship or graduate training scheme in social work 
  • be registered with Social Work England
  • ideally have at least 5 years' experience as a qualified child and family social worker
  • demonstrate experience of practice development work

Some employers may prefer candidates who have a post-graduate qualification in a relevant area, such as social work research, leadership or management.

If you’re an experienced practitioner, the Pathway 2: middle managers programme can help prepare you to progress to a practice development manager role.

Career paths and progression

With experience you could:

  • progress into an advanced leadership role such as service manager or head of service
  • move into a training and consultancy role and deliver training programmes to social workers
  • specialise in quality assurance and compliance, ensuring standards and regulatory requirements are met

The Pathway 3: heads of service programme can help prepare you to progress to a service manager or head of service role.

Current opportunities

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.