Return to Practice - Working for Essex

Following the success of our 2023 Return to Social Care Programme, Essex County Council (ECC) are proud to launch the Return to Practice programme for 2024. Our Return to Practice programme has been designed specifically for qualified Social Workers and Occupational Therapists who may be looking to return to practice within Adult Social Care (ASC) or Children and Families (C&F).

The key feature of our Return to Practice Programme is our investment in you, the ‘Returnee’. Whether you’ve been out of practice or your registration has lapsed, this programme could be ideal for you.

We’re committed to supporting your return to this fulfilling and rewarding profession by offering flexible roles based at a range of office locations across Essex. This programme will enable you to re-educate yourself with legislation and systematic practices whilst regaining experience and knowledge, so you can confidently return to practice, making a positive difference in the lives of Essex residents.

Our Return to Practice programme has two different pathways dependant on your profession; Return to Social Work or Return to Occupational Therapy. For each programmeyou’ll work alongside skilled and dedicated colleagues who share your determination to support people to achieve and maintain maximum choice and control over their lives.


“There has never been a better time to return to a role in social work here in Essex. Social Work and Occupational Therapy are at the forefront of our systemic, strength-based and person-centred practice – come join us and make the difference every day!

I would welcome you to consider that now is the right time for you to return to practice. You can make the difference every day alongside our residents whilst we support you to return to a dynamic and rewarding role in a supported way.

Thank you for your interest in joining us, myself and the leadership team look forward to receiving your application and welcoming you into our teams.”

Alison Ansell, Director of Adult Social Care

“We know that social work is a demanding, complex but fulfilling role. We understand the importance of equipping you with the tools to build meaningful relationships and make lasting changes to those we work with and who need us most which is why Essex Children’s Services are excited to support the Return to Practice Programme.”

Helen Lincoln, Executive Director of Children and Families Social Care

Return to Social Work

Get back to doing what you love as a Social Worker in our award-winning Adults or Children and Families functions.

Return to Occupational Therapy

Step back into the world of Occupational Therapy and reignite your passion within our Adult Social Care function.

A look into our roles

With us you can:

  • Choose a role in various locations across Essex to suit you, whether you are looking for full-time or part-time.
  • Undertake a 6-month training and coaching programme, offered by our award-winning Essex Social Care Academy (ESCA) to gain your re-registration evidence.
  • Receive the support you need from work buddies, mentors and Practice Educators during the training period.
  • Be guaranteed a qualified role within ECC upon successful completion of the training programme and probationary period.
  • Return to work without any upfront costs as ECC will pay your restoration and registration fees with Social Work England or Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
  • Access to our bespoke wellbeing service specifically designed for those working in Social Care.
  • Be in paid employment and enrolled into the Essex Pension scheme from your first day.

How we will support you

During the 6-month re-training period, you’ll be given operational work placements, comprehensive coaching and mentoring and the support to build the skills you need to get back to work and to re-register.  There are three ways in which you can update your skills knowledge and experience:

  • Supervised Practice

    Any out-of-date skills or knowledge will be overcome with the help of supervision with a supportive and experienced Practice Educator. You’ll be providing support or information to residents of Essex who draw on care and support services, shadowing or taking part in assessment and support planning conversations and attending your own training.

  • Formal Study

    Specific training and coaching will be provided by Essex Social Care Academy (ESCA) covering topics such as (but not limited to) the legal framework for practice, strengths based approaches and systemically informed practice.

  • Private Study

    Private Study will include any activity which is self-directed and keeps your skills and knowledge up to date.  This might include reading journal articles or books, viewing or attending webinars or other online or in person talks and lectures, attending training sessions and any informal work shadowing.

    You will also have access to training and support on digital upskilling, work/life balance, imposter syndrome, resilience and confidence in the workplace.

What we can offer you

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for either the Return to Social Work or the Return to Occupational Therapy Programme, you must:

  • Be qualified and previously registered as a Social Worker, either with Social Work England or their predecessor, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
  • Or alternatively, be qualified and previously registered as an Occupational Therapist, either with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) or their predecessor Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM).
  • Be an experienced Social Worker or Occupational Therapist and have completed your Assessed and Support Year in Employment (ASYE).
  • Not have been removed from the register due to one of the offences listed in SWE’s Registration Rules.
  • Not have been subject to a removal order within the last five years.
  • If you were removed from the register more than five years ago, you must not have made an unsuccessful attempt to re-register in the past 12 months.

For further information

The Recruitment Consultant for this programme is Hayley Bincalar. Hayley ran our 2023 Return to Social Care Programme and will help guide you through the recruitment process and answer any questions you may have. You can email Hayley at:

ECC are a Disability Confident Leader: we are committed to interview all disabled applicants who choose to apply under our Job Interview Scheme if they meet the minimum requirements of the job. Please speak to Hayley if you require any reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process.