Return to Social Care - Working for Essex

Essex County Council (ECC) are proud to launch the Return to Social Care Programme which has been designed specifically for qualified Social Workers and Occupational Therapists looking to return to practice within Adult Social Care (ASC).

The key feature of the Return to Social Care programme is our investment in you, the ‘Returnee’. 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. We’re offering a programme that’s been designed to help you regain confidence, experience and knowledge so you can return to enabling positive difference in the lives of Essex residents.

As part of the Return to Social Care Programme, you’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. We’re proud of our Return to Social Care Programme that puts your individual requirements at the forefront of your career.

A welcome from our Director

“There has never been a better time to return to a role in Adult Social Care 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 really 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 Adult Social Care, the Adult Leadership team and I look forward to receiving your application and welcoming you into our teams”

Alison Ansell, Director of Adult Social Care

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.
  • 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.

Click here to get in touch

Hear from our previous Returnees

Deborah returned to Social Care as an Occupational Therapist in 2020, her experience is a testament to our flexible working options and support as an employer.

Meet Ziggy: After having a career break due to caring responsibilities, Ziggy returned to Social Care in 2021 as a Social Worker and has since been promoted to Senior Practitioner.

A word from our Principal Social Worker

“If you’re thinking of a return to social work, then do take a look at what we have to offer here in Essex Adult Social Care.

Warm and welcoming teams with clear leadership and supportive managers, a fabulous professional development offer that will help you to develop your skills and build your career and most importantly, a deep shared commitment to supporting citizens of Essex to have maximum choice and control over their lives.”

Dr Tanya Moore, Principal Social Worker

A word from our Principal Occupational Therapist

“I’d like to encourage occupational therapists from all practice areas and backgrounds to come forward and apply to join our Return to Social Care programme.

We value all the experiences you bring with you, in your personal and professional life, and we will wrap the support and learning opportunities around you, so that you can refresh and regain your therapy skills, and help Essex residents achieve meaningful occupations and better lives.”

Alex Laidler, Principal Occupational Therapist

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

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.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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).
  • 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.

Click here to get in touch


1st June – 9th JulyApplication window opensYou can submit your application along with your CV by clicking here, or if you’d like more information, please send an email to

Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in contact to discuss your requirements and answer any questions you may have.
3rd & 5th JulyVirtual interview technique workshopTo help those of you who may be feeling a little nervous at the thought of going through an interview process again, we’ll be hosting two virtual workshops, to provide you with some guidance for successful interviewing.
3rd July – virtual via Microsoft Teams from 10:00am – 11:30am
5th July – virtual via Microsoft Teams from 1:30pm – 3:00pm
10th – 14th JulyInterviewsInterviews will be scheduled for week commencing 10th July, and will be held in person at your chosen office base:

County Hall, Chelmsford
Ely House, Basildon
Goodman House, Harlow
Rowan House, Colchester
Magnet House, Clacton
17th – 21st JulyInterview OutcomeDuring this week, you’ll be notified of the outcome of your interview and offers will be made to successful individuals. Should you not be successful, you’ll be provided with comprehensive feedback on your interview to aid you for future applications.
24th JulyComplianceOnce you have accepted your conditional offer of employment, your file will be moved over to our Employment Vetting Team to process pre-employment checks. You’ll be assigned an Employment Vetting Officer who will be your single point of contact throughout this process.
11th – 15th SeptemberIn person coffee morningAhead of you starting your role within Essex County Council, you’ll be invited to a personal coffee and catch up with your Line Manager at your office base.

You’ll be given a tour of the office and be able to meet some of your new colleagues. This will be an informal event with the aim of making your return to work as simple as possible.
2nd OctoberProgramme StartOur launch event will be held at our head office, County Hall, Chelmsford on Monday 2nd October from 10:30am to 1:30pm. You’ll be provided with your ECC laptop as well as a detailed training schedule.

Joining the event will be the ASC Leadership Team and other ECC employees who have been involved in the programme journey. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

Click here to apply

An overview of Adult Social Care (ASC)

As ‘Social Care Employer of the Year’ in 2022, our commitment will focus on equality, diversity, and inclusion, continuing professional development (CPD), and your wellbeing, by offering a range of approaches to flexibility and working patterns.

We want everyone to know that they belong. Employee forum and Workforce Ambassadors all reinforce how important it is to have inclusion and allyship at the centre of what we are as individuals and a service.

Your CPD is as important to us, as it is to you. We’re proud to be supported by the award winning and nationally renowned Essex Social Care Academy (ESCA). Whether it is getting up to date with essential training, a refresher on previous learning or a more specialist opportunity there’s CPD to suit all needs and preferences. We also hold regular reflective practice events, have numerous journal subscriptions to keep you up-to-date and online CPD opportunities that are underpinned by our focus on systemic practice.

Your wellbeing will also be supported by systemic supervision, a weekly wellbeing hour plus lots of on-line opportunities and information. Further support is also available from the Employee assistance programme and the ‘Here For You’ service if you need it.

In Adult Social Care you also have a choice of work patterns and the flexibility to be a community-based worker, operating in a hybrid way. This can be on a part-time or full-time basis and you can choose working hours that suit your needs and work-life balance. This is also part of a wider package of opportunities that includes weekly reward options and discounts plus some great pension options.

We have lots of different teams in Essex and offer a range of opportunities to support our residents in either local quadrant-based ways or via countywide approaches and teams.

We also have a range of specialist teams in all geographies:

  • Learning Disability and Autism
  • Physical and Sensory Impairment
  • Older Adult Mental Health
  • Discharge to Assess

Plus, we have neighbourhood teams in all quadrants. There really is something to suit everyone as you consider how best to return to practice.

If you would like to see the ASC Business Plan 2021-25, you can view it below:

Our Quests

In Adult Social Care we want to be as diverse as the communities we serve and have an inclusive culture where everyone has the chance to thrive. We have developed a Quest programme which enables colleagues to leave the ‘day job’ for a 6-week period so that they can explore what it is like to work in ASC from an equality, inclusion, and diversity perspective against a protected characteristic.

At the end of each Quest, our colleagues (Questors) share their findings and recommendations with our senior leaders so that we can make service developments and improvements. This is very much led by our workforce and supported by our leaders. We have held Quests on Race, Disability, LGBTQIA+ and Age and have a future Quest planned to consider mental health. We have received insightful feedback from the Quests, and they are integral to promoting ED&I within Adult Social Care.

To find out more information, please email

For further information

The Recruitment Consultant for this programme is Hayley Bincalar. Hayley has worked in various roles at ECC since 2017 and will help guide you through the recruitment process and be happy to 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.