Our staff are at the heart of our organisation. Children's Service's are made up of a number of services and teams who all pride themselves on the quality of care given to children across our borough. Meet a few of our managers and practitioners to understand #WhyTelfordWrekin is where you should be.
Find out more about our Council Plans and Priorities, and our vision to “protect, care and invest to create a better borough”.
Emma Martin, Service Delivery Manager - Family Connect, Emergency Duty team and Strengthening Families
There are three teams within this service area:
Family Connect is a single point of contact, made up of a multidisciplinary partnership of internal and external agencies providing advice, guidance information and signposting support to assist the access to early help support and children’s social care teams.
Emergency Duty team
Provides out of hours safeguarding, mental health and crisis support for both adults and children and families.
Strengthening Families teams
Are locality based and provide a variety of early help family support interventions, including managing the statutory responsibility of children centres.
Tina Knight, Service Delivery Manager - Assessment and CATE (Children at Risk through Exploitation)
There are three teams who take referrals from Family Connect to carry out child in need social work assessments, strategy discussions and child protection enquiries. These teams hold children’s cases for the duration of the assessment, identifying needs and ensuring children get the right responses. They will accommodate children in emergencies and issue care proceedings on any immediate need for protection.
This is a team that specialises in services for children and young people who are affected by child exploitation. The team works within multi-agency pathways (police, social care, health and education) to enable children and young people to stay safe from this type of abuse.
Paul Grocutt, Service Delivery Manager – Family Safeguarding and Family Support
The Family Safeguarding Model is a strengths-based approach which looks to support parents to make positive changes to family life when they are referred to children’s services. It aims to keep families together, with bespoke and tailored packages of support around domestic violence, mental health and substance misuse. This is achieved through a more collaborative way of working where parents are motivated to identify the changes needed within their own families. The approach helps to achieve better outcomes for children and their families.
The Family Safeguarding Model is a pioneering approach, bringing together children's social care professionals with specialists in adult mental health, domestic abuse and substance misuse we will provide tailored wrap around support for parents.
Better for families
Family Safeguarding focuses on a whole family approach, making it easier for parents to access all the support they need from within one team.
This will help them deal with the complex issues of domestic abuse, mental health and drug or alcohol abuse which may harm their lives and those of their children, if these are not dealt with.
Better for professionals
This new way of working will strengthen information sharing between professionals. It will also free up social workers time enabling them to spend more time working with families and less time on administration.
In other areas of the country that have implemented the Family Safeguarding Model, children's social care practitioners report that this way of working increases their motivation and job satisfaction. Support is offered to families using a technique called Motivational Interviewing. This is designed to empower and engage parents to make the positive changes needed to achieve improved outcomes for their children and their own wellbeing.
Family Safeguarding teams are made up of:
- Children’s Social workers – will work directly with children and families, supporting them to identify and make changes that will improve outcomes for the family.
- Domestic abuse practitioners – will work with those who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse to support them to understand the impact of domestic abuse on themselves and their children.
- Domestic abuse officers – will work together with parents/carers with children, with the aim of breaking the cycle of abusive behaviour.
- Recovery workers – will work with parents where there are issues with drugs, and/or alcohol. These professionals will provide support to make any lifestyle changes that are needed so that parents can carry on caring for their children.
- Mental health practitioners – will work with parents who are experiencing mental health difficulties.
What are the Family Safeguarding teams doing differently?
Our teams are:
- delivering a whole family focus by spending more time with children and families
- delivering swift and tailored responses for parents where there are issues with drug and alcohol use, domestic abuse or mental health needs
- achieving change through the skilled use of motivational interviewing techniques
- using high quality reflective supervision, within a multi-disciplinary forum, to support information sharing and strengthen decision making
- using a range of tools to develop an in depth understanding of family circumstances
- using a new way of recording to streamline, ensuring more time is available to undertake direct work with children and families. The workbook will also provide the multi-agency team with a ‘real time’ assessment of how things are going for the family.
Parenting Assessment team and Contact team
The Contact Assessment team undertakes direct and indirect contact between children and their families to offer family time when children are no longer placed in the care of their parents. These contacts are tailored to the individual needs of the child and their family to ensure the time they spend together is meaningful and of a high quality. Risks are assessed and managed throughout the time the family is within this service.
The Parenting Assessment team undertakes bespoke pre-birth and parenting assessments to inform long term plans for children. These assessments focus on all areas of parenting as well as the parents lived experiences. The assessments will also provide teaching and make recommendations for any further teaching that can be undertaken to improve the experiences of children within the service and ensure better outcomes for them. The team are all trained in PAMS (Parenting Assessment Manual Software) which is a bespoke assessment using specific tool to ensure that parents with levels of learning needs have a fair and appropriate assessment and appropriate teaching is provided.
Sara Castro, Service Delivery Manager - Fostering
The Fostering Service comprises three teams with specific linked to the statutory functions for the provision of fostering service provision, the teams are:
- Family Finding and Targeted services
- Fostering - Mainstream
- Assessment and Permanency team (Family and Friends).
The teams provide a generic service to provide and support family placements and provide a significant role in supporting permanency within family placements.
Marie Hatton, Service Delivery Manager - Children in Care, Leaving Care, Children with Disabilities and Family Solutions
Children in Care and Leaving Care Service
The Children in Care Service provides ongoing support and services to all children for whom there is no plan to return home. The Children in Care Service also receives referrals for separate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and provides the planning and support services for those children.
The Children in Care Service provide a 0 to 18 years old service for children and young people who have been looked after. Young people will transfer to the 18+ Leaving Care specialist team when they reach 18 years.
A Leaving Care personal advisor will be allocated alongside the social worker from the age of 16. They will then remain the allocated personal advisor after the young person reaches 18 and beyond. The Children in Care teams and the Leaving Care service will work closely together and form a transition plan for each young person.
The Children in Care service will be responsible for the following for children allocated in the team:
- after a Care Order is granted
- provision of services to children in Section 20 care who have no plan to return home
- formation and implementation of the permanency plans for children
- children placed with their parents where there is a period of stability needed before an application for a discharge of the care order is made.
Children with Disabilities Service
The children with disabilities team provide a specialist service/intervention for children with a disability or complex needs. They undertake assessments and provide support to families to agree a plan that will help the child/family. They work with children with disabilities where there are safeguarding concerns or where they are in the care of the Local Authority.
Case workers support families following assessment where needs have been identified, working with families to devise a support plan. This often results in direct payments and services provided/commissioned in accordance with short break guidance.
Children’s Occupational Therapists undertake assessments in the home where there may be a requirement for equipment for example bathing aids, specialist seating systems, specialist furniture or adaptations to the layout physical layout of the home.
Family Solutions team
Has responsibility for minimising the need for children to become looked after by the Local Authority where it is safe to do so, they also provide support to enable a seamless transition to return children home from the care of the local authority.
Tutsi Selvey, Group Manager: Independent Safeguarding and Advocacy Service
There are two teams within the Independent Safeguarding and Advocacy Service:
Independent Reviewing Officer and Child Protection Conference team
The role of the Independent Reviewing Officer and Child Protection Conference Chair is a dual role. The Child Protection Conferencing service provides independent safeguarding support to children and young people by chairing multi-agency Child Protection Conferences on behalf of Telford & Wrekin Safeguarding Partnership (TWSP). The Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO’s) provide independent oversight of children’s care, ensuring that children in the care of the local authority are safe and well cared for.
In addition, the team provides independent oversight of the quality of our foster carers through annual reviews of internal foster care placements.
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) manages and offers advice and consultation on allegations against people who work in paid employment or who are in voluntary work with children and young people (i.e. who have a ‘position of trust’).
The team provides an advocacy service for children and young people who are in care, subject to child protection processes or children in need. They work with individual children and young people in order to support them in expressing their wishes and feelings, liaising with services to resolve issues and making formal complaints where necessary.
Rights and Representations team
The team also co-ordinates ‘Voice’, our Care Council, which enables children and young people in care to have a say in service planning and delivery and highlight issues which are affecting them.
Laura Moore, Service Delivery Manager - Service Improvement and Efficiency (Children’s Services)
The Service Improvement and Efficiency team works across Children’s Safeguarding and Family Support and Education and Skills, providing strategic improvement and transformation support.
In summary the team are responsible for the following:
- Business Administration Support (Children’s Services)
- Projects team (Children’s Services)
- Volunteering Coordinator and Volunteer Services (Children’s Services)
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer
- Business Systems (Education and Skills)
- Traded Services (Education and Skills).
Louise Spragg, Principal Social Worker
The Principal Social Worker is responsible for:
- leading, developing and overseeing excellent social work practice, modelling what outstanding looks like and in partnership with colleagues coach and mentor newly qualified workers.
- Responsibility for student placements.
- Devise the workforce development plan in line with staff consultation, audit activity and national themes of learning.
- Identifying along with the Senior Management team, key areas for improvement in order to offer a consistent outstanding service to our children.
- Have a key role in developing and delivering the practice methodology that underpins direct work with children and families.
- Actively engage the voice of social work, children and their families in service planning.
- Support the development of social work career pathways, continuing professional development opportunities whilst delivering on recruitment and retention ambitions.
- Contribute to service design and delivery.
- Continuously engaging with national learning and research to inform practice improvement at a local level.
- Formulate the training and development plan based on the needs of practitioners and families.
- Support Quality assurance activity.
- Represent the Local Authority during region and national networks.
- Influence strategic decision making within the service and across the wider children’s services community and ensure that the service is fulfilling all of its statutory functions.
- Staff consultations.
Helen Smith, Quality Assurance and Improvement Manager
This service area leads on Quality Assurance which includes the overarching audit activity across Children’s Services, producing and updating the Quality Assurance Framework and QA Annual Report and leading on the co-ordination of deep dive audit activity for identified performance issues. The service produces the annual Self Evaluation and leads on Ofsted planning. There is also a strong focus on improvement across Children’s Services, and covers data quality and training and development of the children’s case recording system.
Sean, team Manager, Family Safeguarding
I first came Telford and Wrekin in November 2013 for my final social work placement. Since that time I have been afforded many opportunities to progress both my practice development and career.
After completing my degree, I started working in Telford and Wrekin’s Children in Care team, where I was supported to complete my ASYE year. After two years in this role, I was encouraged to broaden my experience and so applied for a position in the Child Protection and Family Support (CPFS) team. I discovered that I was extremely passionate about this area of practice and have remained there to date.
I then became a Senior Social Worker in March 2017 and then achieved my goal of being appointed as team Manager in 2018, where I remain. I am grateful for all the support and encouragement that managers and colleagues have offered me throughout my employment.
I have been offered a broad array of training opportunities, including Specialised Supervision Training with the Centre for Systemic Practice and the Practice Supervisor Development Programme. I have also completed the Practice Educator Award and have been able to support final year students to develop their practice and knowledge, a role I had been keen to undertake since completing my own ASYE.
I think it would be fair to say that my experience certainly demonstrates that Telford and Wrekin are keen to encourage their Social Workers to develop their practice and career. It is a Local Authority which likes to grow its own.
Helen, team leader, Strengthening Families
My role is team leader in Strengthening Families. I joined Telford & Wrekin Council in my first management post in 2010 having worked across many local authorities in the West Midlands in both front line and supervisory roles.
Over the last eleven years, Telford & Wrekin Council has invested in me as both a leader and manager to support and develop my skills. I have had the opportunity to complete an accredited leadership qualification working with other aspiring leaders from across the West Midlands and beyond.
Most recently I was selected to take part in Telford & Wrekin Council’s leadership programme “Future Leaders“. This has given me a unique opportunity to work closely with senior managers and further reflect on my skills and abilities as a leader and a manager.>/p>
These opportunities have enabled me to support and develop the team I lead more effectively. The satisfaction that I get from leading a highly skilled team working in the community to support vulnerable children and families to reach their full potential is highly motivating and professionally satisfying.
Sandra, Social Worker, Children with Disabilities team
I had always had the passion to do everything within my means to enhance human wellbeing and help meet the basic human needs of people within my community especially, its most vulnerable members. Hence, my reason for going into Social Work.
After completing my training from the university as a Social Worker, I started on the ASYE programme and progressed to being a Social Work practitioner. What attracted me to work for Telford & Wrekin Council and has kept me with the Local Authority is; Telford, geographically is a relatively small place so you can get to know the area well and it helps for working around with my cases.
The work of a Social Worker can be challenging; however, in Telford and Wrekin, there is a strong supportive culture, an open managerial structure, and excellent training and development opportunities.
I work in the Children with Disabilities team where we see the child’s journey through from 0 – 25 years. It is rewarding for me and the families we work with as you get to know families well and there is consistency for them. The added advantage is that as a worker, you become more rounded as you experience the whole process.
Another thing I like about Telford and Wrekin is the career progression opportunities. Within my years of practice, I have seen some of my colleagues who started as ASYE progressing in their career and are now managers.
It has been a great opportunity to join an upbeat service, a chance to develop my practice, build on my experience and have a good work balance.
Claire, Senior Social Worker, Family Safeguarding
My role is to work directly with and support children, young people and families who need support when they are having difficulties. The aim of my role is help the most disadvantaged in society to empower them and bring about positive change in their lives.
I began my journey as a social worker as a student on my 2nd year placement in the child protection team in Telford and Wrekin. During my university years, ASYE and social work carer I have gained a high level of training to develop my skills and knowledge in in social work including relationship-building and conflict resolution. During in my career there have been modifications within the authority in terms of service delivery and although they have at times been difficult, they have made significant positive changes to our roles and the way we work with families. I began my career at Telford and Wrekin as a student in 2015, became a qualified worker and ASYE in September 2016 and a senior social worker in November 2019.
At this stage I do not have any specific career aspirations, I really do love my role! I intend to keep on developing my skills and knowledge to support families in the best way. I am considering doing a PhD in Social Work because I have a couple of areas I would like to research further.
I have had a really positive experience working for Telford and Wrekin, and although I have been frustrated and found things very demanding at times, I have always felt that Telford and Wrekin are really committed to our families and supporting them in the best way possible. What has been a particularly important experience for me at Telford is how easy it is to communicate and work with other people in other areas of children’s social care. Everyone, including senior management, is approachable and passionate about their role, even where there are differences of option at times there is a culture of being acknowledged and heard.
Louise, Principal Social Worker, Childrens Services
I initially joined Telford in 2005 as a social work assistant I was then supported to undertake my social work degree and qualified in 2008 I then went on to progress through social worker, senior social worker, advanced practitioner and then a management role. I then left the LA for a short period. I then returned owing to my commitment and relationship with Telford and the benefits of working within the Local Authority, I commenced this role in 2020.
I love my job and the variety of opportunities it affords me, I love the development opportunities within the region and nationally which then aid me to support practice within the organisation.
Telford is a friendly place to work we are committed to continuously developing our practice in line with the needs of children and families locally as well as ensuring we are ahead of practice developments nationally.
Edward, Senior Social Worker, Family Safeguarding
I work with children and families, supporting them to ensure children are safe within their environment and community. I carry out various assessments around parenting capacity, the child’s needs, strengths and vulnerability factors to determine the best way forward. If a child is considered as being at risk of harm or In need of statutory support, I make decisions in relation to the most appropriate plan for them, including the consideration of family members, where it is not possible for children to remain in their families care I seek to provide support via respite care, living with foster carers and progressing plans for permance for them. I work with lots of agencies, such as: education, health, police, drug and alcohol services, and domestic abuse workers. I endeavour to keep children safe living within their families, and work with parents to overcome any obstacles they may face where ever possible.
I started in the team I am in currently, initially as a student social worker. This was part of a social work placement when I was doing the step up to social work post graduate diploma. Since gaining my social work registration, I have remained in the same team and have moved to being an experienced social worker, and more recently, a senior social worker.
I would like to remain as a senior social worker to ensure I support my colleagues to progress in their own roles, and help out by giving advice and guidance. I may consider moving into other aspects of social work within the Local Authority, such as working alongside care experienced children and fostering.
Telford and Wrekin is a great place to work, in terms of the people I have come across within the many different agencies I work with.
Peter, Independent Reviewing officer/ Child Protection Conference Chair, Independent Safeguarding, Quality and Advocacy Service
The role involves working alongside social workers, professionals, children and their families. I coordinate and chair Child Protection Conferences and review ‘Child in Care’ meetings. The role can be challenging and is fast paced but it is rewarding to see positive change with the families I work with. I will be helping also with the LADO role as I learn and develop within the setting.
I started working for Telford and Wrekin in 2017 as an agency social worker for approximately 9 months in the Children Safeguarding teams. I then became a permanent member of staff in 2017 as a Senior Social Worker in the Duty and Assessment team. In 2021 I was appointed as an IRO / CP chair.
Having recently been appointed as an IRO / CP chair, I’m looking to develop my career within this setting.
Working for Telford and Wrekin Council allows for a good work life balance, so in my spare time I play in a band, can do gigs at weekends and sometimes play in the evening during week days.
Last updated: 22/09/2022 11:09