60 second interview
www.communitycare.co.uk is pleased to announce a new series of 60 second interviews.
Launching the series, we have interviews with one of the most prominent people in the social care sector: children’s minister Margaret Hodge
60 second interview with Margaret Hodge
By Amy Taylor
AT:-Where did you spend Christmas?
MH:- At home in London with my family.
What were you favourite serious and funny gifts this Christmas?
A lovely brooch from my husband and a rubber stamp saying “complete and utter b**l s**t”
What are your New Year resolutions?
Not to work quite so hard, to go swimming at least three times a week, to lose weight, to spend more time with my family and friends than I was able to do last year and to make the most of the job because it won’t be there forever.
What were your highlights from 2004?
2004 was a good year. On a personal level, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, we both had our 60th birthdays and my husband was made a High Court Judge. On a professional level, the Children Bill became an Act. We launched the Change for Children Programme, we launched the 10-year early years and child care strategy and we have almost completed the strategy on the youth green paper.
If you had to swap roles with a front-line worker in public services for a day, what role would it be?
Working as a community development outreach worker for a Sure Start local programme. I would also like to be a foster carer if I had more time.
Did you envisage that you would be children’s minister when you were younger? What were your ambitions?
No. When I was a child I wanted to be an actress, and when I was a teenager I wanted to be a full-time mum.
What differences do you expect to see this time next year as a result of the Children Act?
I don’t see this as a quick fix solution. What we are about to witness is a cultural change and that doesn’t happen overnight, but what I hope we will move to is the beginning of breaking down professional silos and the beginning of creating services around children and families, and a shift towards a stronger preventive agenda. The aim would be to have fewer children falling through the net.
Who would you like to see become the children’s commissioner for England?
A really powerful communicator, who is passionate about children, and who can both communicate effectively with children and communicate effectively with the wider world that they want to influence on children’s behalf. Somebody with a strong voice, who champions all children, but who focuses on children who really need a voice, [acting] on their behalf. I want somebody to have been appointed by Easter.
If you want to achieve one thing while you are children’s minister, what would it be?
Better outcomes for looked-after children right across the piece. For me it’s a symbol of what the job is about…[and] what I see as the key.