Children’s Social Care

 

Come & join us at Bucks…

Click here to read the letter of invitation from our Children’s Service Executive Director, Tolis Vouyioukas.

Our campaign – are you up for the challenge & reward?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are looking for skilled, knowledgeable and experienced social workers to come and join us in Bucks.

In order to support our staff to work to the best of their ability, we have an organisational and professional responsibility to create the conditions within which their best practice can flourish. We strive to deliver:

  • A clear vision and values that everyone models and promotes
  • Visible and inspiring leadership
  • Proactive and solution focused management
  • Regular and reflective supervision and support
  • Manageable and balanced caseloads
  • Evidence based approaches and tools that promote ‘good’ practice
  • Opportunities for staff to collaborate and be part of the solution
  • Strong partnerships and commissioning arrangements
  • A relentless focus on recruitment and retention as an everyday priority

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Our benefits

  • Competitive salary which includes a 6% enhanced salary uplift
  • ‘Golden Hello’ payment of up to £2,125 depending on experience
  • Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) with employer contributions equivalent to 26.4% of salaries paid to scheme members
  • 25 days holiday (plus bank holidays) rising to 30 days (plus bank holidays) after more than 5 years’ service, with additional special leave as appropriate
  • New BCC Car Lease Scheme (being launched in late Autumn 2018)
  • Car Allowance of £300 per annum. (if applicable)
  • ‘Safe Haven’ Car Allowance of £300 p.a. (if applicable)
  • Relocation Allowance of up to £8,000 (if applicable)
  • BCC discounts on buses and trains
  • Access to our corporate health and wellbeing services including: Employee Assistance Programme, Occupational Health Service
  • Discounts at local gyms and wellbeing centres
  • Seasonal health checks
  • Social work career progression scheme
  • Annual performance appraisal with a personal learning and development plan

 

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About you

We are looking to attract social work practitioners and managers who:

  • Have great verbal, written and organisational skills
  • Work well under pressure, whilst maintaining standards and performance
  • Can establish a rapport and develop relationships with children and young people
  • Always take children and young people’s views into account
  • Acknowledge each child and young person’s day to day experiences, unique characteristics and background
  • Respect parents / carers and value the strengths that families have to offer
  • Reflect on their own and other’s practice,  taking responsibility for self-directed learning
  • Adjust their thinking in the light of new information taking a collaborative approach to work out what’s in the best interest of each children and young person
  • Can formulate evidence-based judgements  when making decisions
  • Respect differences and can negotiate with influence to resolve real and potential conflicts

Ultimately, you will be a caring, compassionate and empathetic professional who truly wants to improve the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and their families

‘I love my role as a social worker at BCC as every day is so different. Because we cover all of Bucks, we are able to gain experience in so many different areas as the caseloads are so varied. No two days are the same!’ – Wendy, Social Worker, Assessment Team.

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Our improvement journey

Buckinghamshire Children’s Services was re-inspected by Ofsted in November 2017 and was judged to be ‘inadequate’ overall, with the sub-judgements for adoption being ‘good’ and leaving care being ‘requires improvement to be good’. We were disappointed with the overall judgement and were quick to respond with the appointment of a new senior leadership team and an agreed improvement and development plan to address all the key priority areas.

Commissioner’s Report

The Secretary of State appointed a Children’s Commissioner, John Coughlan (Chief Executive from Hampshire County Council), to undertake an assessment and prepare a report about our Children’s Services following the re-inspection.

The Commissioner met with a wide range of  staff and partners and concluded that he is satisfied with the direction of travel. He endorsed the new leadership, advised against an alternative delivery model and recommended that BCC should retain responsibility for delivering local children’s services. The Commissioner’s report states:

“All of our analysis strongly endorses the current direction of travel of the authority and any further supports and interventions should be designed to work with the grain of the new leadership.”

The full report can be read here.

The Secretary of State accepted the Commissioner’s recommendation and issued a new statutory direction setting out how Hampshire County Council will continue to have a relationship with Buckinghamshire and act as Improvement Adviser until July 2019.

The Secretary of State’s statutory direction can be read here.

Ofsted Monitoring Visits

Ofsted will continue to visit and monitor our progress at regular intervals pending a full re-inspection in due course. Ofsted will evaluate the quality of our practice and performance to make sure that we are addressing the re-inspection findings and report recommendations.

The first monitoring visit was undertaken on the 3rd– 4th July 2018 and focused on children in need of support. The Ofsted monitoring visit letter states:

“Senior leaders have a clear and well-informed understanding of the significant weaknesses in the quality of work with children in need. Plans to improve practice are credible and well devised. Senior managers are strongly committed to moving forward at a realistic pace, and are determined to achieve rapid and sustainable improvements in children’s circumstances and outcomes. Social workers reported an awareness of a developing learning culture and most said that they feel supported and ‘heard’ through the process of change.”

The full monitoring visit letter for July 2018 can be read here.

The second Ofsted monitoring visit is scheduled for 11th and 12th December 2018 and the focus of this monitoring visit will be children in need of protection.

“As a team manager, I feel the new senior management team have really listened to the opinions of front line practitioners and managers –  our vision of where we want to be is very well supported.” – Halley, Team Manager, Help and Protection Team.

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Our values

We pride ourselves on our corporate core values of being caring, collaborative, accountable and ambitious. In Children’s Services, we have also developed the following values to underpin our improvement work with children and young people in need of support, protection and care:

  • Keeping children and young people’s experiences at the heart of everything we do
  • Working collaboratively with and for our children and families, acknowledging their contribution and building on their strengths
  • Remaining passionate about keeping children safe and well, whilst focusing on making a positive difference every day
  • Making sure that everyone’s voice is heard, including children, families, our staff and partners, enabling us to work reflectively, openly and with integrity
  • Assuring the quality of practice and managing our performance to inform service improvement and development’

‘What motivates me is knowing I am making a real difference to the families I support.” – Natasha, Social Worker, Help and Protection Team.

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Our learning and development offer

We have created a varied learning and development programme which will help you to develop the knowledge and skills needed to progress in your social work career.

You will be offered the opportunity to benefit from a structured learning and professional development programme at different stages of your career. You will also be encouraged to take up opportunities for self-directed learning. These opportunities include:

  • Automatic membership to the Children’s Services Learning Academy, which has a dedicated Social Work Faculty supported by a new on-line learning platform
  • A targeted training programme which builds on an induction and orientation programme for new starters. This includes a core and advanced social work training programme with additional management and leadership development programmes
  • A bespoke training programme for newly qualified social workers in their first assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE)
  • Masterclass Programmes and Workshops
  • Unique Development Centre Programme for all Team and Assistant Team Managers (designed and delivered by the senior leadership team, corporate Human Resources and Organisational Development colleagues and external occupational psychologists)
  • Regular Refreshing Practice Forums for all social work practitioners and managers
  • Access to ‘Community Care inform’ which includes a range of accurate and current practice related content to help you in your work
  • Access to “Making Research Count” which is a national collaborative research initiative, established by universities and developed by regional centres.
  • Access to the Wave 1 Pioneer Partner project with the ‘What Works Centre for Social Care’ helping to foster and promote evidence-informed practice in England

The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care

We are delighted to have been chosen as a local authority Pioneer Partner to work with the ‘What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care’ and other identified local authorities from across the country. The ‘What Works Centre’ project provides a welcome injection of energy and expertise at an important stage in our improvement journey. It will allow us to shape the development of our services by testing the ways of using evidence, enabling us  to strengthen supervision and decision-making at an operational and strategic level.

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Our Services

The Children’s Services Senior Leadership Team is as follows:

Tolis Vouylioukas – Executive Director

Richard Nash – Service Director, Children’s Social Care

Gail Hancock – Interim Service Director, Children’s Social Care Improvement

Sarah Callaghan – Service Director, Collaboration & Learning

Mark Green – Development Manager

Buckinghamshire Children’s Social Care Services has five service areas mainly located across the three key area offices which are in Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Amersham

Amanda Andrews, Head of First Response Service, which includes:

  • Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
  • SWAN (child exploitation) Team
  • Assessment Teams x 3
  • Emergency Social Work Team

Errol Albert, Head of Safeguarding Service, which includes:

  • Help & Protection Teams x 5
  • Court Team
  • Family Assessment & Support Team (FAST)
  • Children and Teenager Community Help Team (CATCH)

Paulette Thompson, Interim Head of Care Management Services, which includes:

  • Disabled Children’s Teams x 2
  • Children in Care & Care Leavers x 2
  • Contact Centres x 2

Nathan Whitley, Head of Care Services including:

  • Fostering Teams x 3
  • Adoption Teams x 3
  • Children’s Residential Care Homes (2 x
  • Access to Resources Team
  • Placement Commissioning Team

Julie Davies, Head of Quality Standards and Performance Services, which includes:

  • Independent Reviewing Officer Team
  • Child Protection Advisor Team
  • Family Group Conference Team
  • Local Authority Designated Officer
  • Principal Social Worker
  • Beyond Auditing (Quality Assurance) Team
  • Workforce Development Team
  • Fostering & Adoption Panel Advisors
  • Rights to Information Team
  • Local Safeguarding Children Board Business Unit

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Our recruitment process

We have worked in collaboration with the University of Kent to develop an exciting selection process using carefully designed interview questions and ROSIE – a virtual social work visit.

ROSIE is an online, interactive ‘game’ which invites candidates to step inside the shoes of a front line social worker on a visit. ROSIE allows you to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and understanding in a very tangible and practical way.

We know that applicants like to be stretched in recruitment situations and that they want to be given an opportunity to show potential employers what they are capable of. In addition to the online assessment exercise, candidates will also undertake a structured interview based on critical areas of competence from the social worker Professional Capabilities Framework.

We have had fantastic feedback from candidates and they particularly like the opportunity it gives to be able to demonstrate their skills and knowledge rather than just talk about them at the interview/application.

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