Staffordshire Safeguarding and Review Service is a combined service consisting of twenty two child protection conference chairs. To ensure consistency for the child, the Chair will follow them from child protection conferences to looked after review, advocating and ensuring that wishes, feelings, needs and foremost the voice of the child is paramount.
The appointment of an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) is a legal requirement under Section 118 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and acts to monitor the local authority’s performance of their functions in relation to the child’s case, ensuring that any ascertained wishes and feelings of the child concerning the case are given due consideration by the appropriate authority.
The Chair is particularly concerned about promoting the voice of the child, the thoroughness of looked after children plans, identifying any gaps in the assessment process or provision of service and making sure the child understands how an advocate could help. The Chair also ensures that care plans have given proper consideration and weight to the child’s wishes and feelings and that, where appropriate, the child fully understands the implications of any changes made to their care plan. The team are overseen by two Business mangers and today Meet the Team came face to face with them;
When a late teenager I always wanted to work in a profession that made a difference, that helped people and contributed to a ‘social’ difference; I wanted to make a difference in ‘my community’. Going on to study at college, I ran for election and succeeded as the student welfare rights worker. My ambition was to help as many people as I could to access education, I’ve always seen education as the door to a ‘better life’, it is a true liberator.
My career with children started off with Derby City, in play work and youth work, running the summer activity schemes for young children and then progressing on to working with older teenagers, in youth clubs. I worked mainly in the inner city of Derby focusing on community cohesion, anti-social behaviour and aspirational planning. These were fantastic times, I still see the ‘children and young people’ that I worked with whilst shopping in the community.
Following my social worker degree with Derby City Council, I went on to work in the safeguarding team in Derby City as a youth worker, I worked with local communities, local places of worship in developing their child protection processes then was seconded over to a hospital social work team, working with children who presented at hospital.
From here I went on to work in Staffordshire with the children with disabilities service, working in that service is incredibly rewarding and following that for Sheffield City Council as a team manager in safeguarding. At the same time I was delivering training on the ‘new’ care planning regulations, and chairing reviews before managing a throughcare team which reminded me of the work I did in youth clubs in my younger days and I loved it! I read and absorbed all of the legislation, regulation and research. I finally moved back to Staffordshire with the East Staffs throughcare teams which was one of the best times of my life, we achieved so much together, I worked with some of the most dedicated, big hearted individuals that I have ever met!
I now work with the Safeguarding and Review Service as a Business Manager in the West of Staffordshire. You will not find a more dedicated bunch of social workers in my view. Soon after I started that we had the Covid lockdown, so we moved from doing face to face meetings overnight to chairing these online.
The service is now charging forward with the restorative practice agenda We have lots of ambition and plans for the future, do read out business plan and speak to the Chairs about the difference they make on a daily basis. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I have always been a person who enjoys meeting and interacting with people, which as a young person took me to a career in the hotel industry, this led eventually to a job as a cook in a children’s residential unit. This role started my interest in working with children in care. I then worked as a casual night worker in residential and for a time worked in a secure unit for children. Following my diploma in social work in 1999 I became a shift leader in residential care where I enjoyed working with children in the residential setting but after two years wanted to have a different experience while still making a positive difference to children and families lives.
I became an area social worker on a care management team in Tamworth. I still recall some of those families I worked with in the early days. After this I held roles of senior practitioner, team co-ordinator, permanency team manager and this then joined the care and court planning team. I have really enjoyed managing and supporting people and sharing my experience and knowledge with them and seeing people achieve and gain confidence was my reward as well as working to achieve the best for children and families together with the social workers on my team.
In 2012 I became an independent child protection conference chair which is a real privilege, being the eyes and ears and advocate for the children and families which at times can be a challenge generally is a very rewarding role.
In 2019 I became a Business Manager for Safeguarding and Review Service and it was a pleasure to support the members of the team while they carried out their role of chair. They are a great team and go that extra mile to ensure children are cared for and have the right care plan. I am very proud of the work we have done. The last 14 months has been challenging and who would have thought of the way of working we have all become adept to with virtual meetings and MS Teams being an everyday working platform for us all.
Finding work life balance is a challenge and as a grandmother of two lovely granddaughters this is important to me. I love having time with my family and relax by making cakes and I am making an effort to become more active as I get older! I am from Wales originally and my heritage is important to me, I visit my family in Wales when I can and love the coast and the sea. Contact Anita email@example.com
What our Social Workers say about the team and service
“You are in a privileged position as you have oversight of the experience of children across the whole plethora of services. Ranging from safeguarding to care experienced and looked after. ”
“The role is complex, complicated, challenging, multi-faceted, but foremost It is enjoyable”
“Unlike other teams you have more children that you have responsibility for. You work with Children who find themselves in a different situation with respect to their point of journey. ”
“You feel enabled to make challenge both internally and externally to improve the outcomes of children. ”
“You get to stay with young people and families through the child’s journey. “