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Hillingdon is London's second largest borough, based to the west of the city. It is diverse in area as well as population, with farms and countryside in the north and a more urban south, with Heathrow airport in its borders. Heathrow offers its own unique set of issues for social workers at the local authority, with unaccompanied children coming into the care of the council, some of which are at risk of trafficking and abuse. 

We speak with Maya Unnikrishnan, team manager with 18 years’ social work experience, to find out more.

What attracted you to work for Hillingdon?

I wanted to work in a borough near to home and someone who had previously worked for the council recommended it to me. When I came for my interview and was offered the job, I was impressed by the efficiency and how accommodating they were. It immediately sold something positive to me about working for Hillingdon.  It was also clear that the council prides itself in putting children first and focusing resources where they're needed the most.  And it's a bonus that there are staff car parks!

What support is there within the team?

I like the child focused approach. Senior management is excellent and give you the support you need to put children's needs first. What happens to the child and their future is important to everyone. They give you a clear understanding through communication and transparency. People are welcoming and acknowledge a job well-done.
There is an extremely positive work attitude here and everyone pulls together to deliver our service. Colleagues are always interested in hearing your views and how we can bring about new ways of working.

How are caseloads managed at Hillingdon?

Our caseloads are very manageable and the council is committed to keeping them at London levels. Hillingdon has achieved and maintained average caseloads of 16 cases per qualified social worker, below the average number suggested.  

Our system of working in small teams with a range of workers of varying abilities gives us protected time each week to discuss issues, share best practice and support each other. The administrative help is an extremely useful resource, meaning social workers can be as effective as possible.

Is there opportunity for professional development?

There are good training opportunities and a brilliant induction programme for new workers. The induction programme provides an overview of the borough to ensure that they feel connected with the wider organisation. They also get to meet other new starters from across the directorate. This enables them to form relationships that benefit them straight away as well as later on, once they are working in their teams. 

In addition they meet with the director, assistant directors and principal social worker to become familiar with the structure, vision, practices and priorities of the directorate.

There are plenty of ongoing opportunities for professional development. I have recently been promoted and am looking forward to receiving management training.

Apply Today

Visit for a list of current vacancies.

What can you expect if you join the team?

  • Competitive salary
  • Retention allowance for hard-to-fill frontline roles. £1,000 in first salary payment and £1,000 on successful completion of probationary period 
  • Relocation scheme for hard-to-fill roles with financial support up to £8,000
  • 28-36 days annual leave, plus bank holidays
  • Flexible working including core hours and lieu time schemes, and mobile and home working access
  • Career support and training including reimbursement of professional fees
  • Local Government Pension Scheme with career-average-based payments
  • Free staff car parking four out of five days at the Civic Centre
  • Wellness programme includes Occupational Sick Pay scheme, access to qualified medical advice, occupational health specialists, physiotherapy clinic, cycle scheme and building resilience sessions
  • Employee assistance programme - confidential support for work, personal and financial issues
  • Employee recognition scheme
  • Childcare vouchers scheme

Interested in reading about other local authorities?

The Council Spotlight feature is included within every edition of Sanctuary Social Work News, each time focusing on a different local authority. Over the past twelve months we have shined the spotlight not just on Hillingdon, but Buckinghamshire, the London Borough of Merton, and Peterborough. 
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