A Message from the Director of Children’s Services
I came to Havering in Autumn 2015, with the ambition to create an organisation that gives primacy to practice and relationships. Six months later, in May 2016, I launched the Face-to-Face initiative, introducing a systemic model of practice to support a more confident and well-equipped workforce. The concept was to build relationships of trust to mitigate risk, and be less reliant on processes that can inadvertently alienate and stigmatise families.
We are now just over a year and a half on, with a good deal of distance covered – we’ve learnt a lot, experienced successes, a range of challenges, and a number of complicating factors along the way. We are beginning to see a number of encouraging signs:
· We have a more stable, permanent workforce than a year and a half ago (70% permanent compared with 55% the year before), with more families receiving a consistent service;
· Over 65 social care staff have commenced or completed a 15 day accredited systemic family therapy training, with another 50 due to start in 2018;
· In addition, our entire (85) business support team have all received a bespoke systemic training course, and our leadership team have completed a six-day course alongside the Adult Social Care leadership team, and colleagues from health;
· We have supported seven practitioners to progress to the second year of systemic training.
In the Autumn of 2017 I launched a vision for Children’s Services, revisiting the aims of the Face-to-Face programme, and bringing together Education and Social Care. Following the launch of the vision, I was keen to shape our organisational culture into a more collaborative and enabling environment, where good practice could flourish. From this, the idea of a staff forum emerged, designed to empower members of staff to shape the future of the service and provide direct feedback to the senior leadership team.
I am very proud of what the team has achieved in Havering; every day I see examples of commitment, passion and thoughtfulness, with practitioners striving to achieve the best possible outcomes, sometimes in difficult situations. Working with these skilled, dedicated and energised people, we will build a beacon of excellence in East London.