I hold a small, complex case load and supervise six staff. I
didn’t (and still don’t) want to be a team manager because, despite
my managerial experience, I am a practitioner at heart.
The team is based in Leominster and our office is in the Old
Priory, a beautiful listed building. Our desks are in the 11th
century Chapel Infirmary. It has a great atmosphere, even without
any hot water to wash our cups.
My colleagues are one of the reasons I love my job – they’re
friendly, interested and skilled, with a wealth of experience.
Another reason is that we are a stable, fully staffed team. My
manager treats the team with respect and the upper echelons of
management are accessible. It feels safe working here – the
department is small enough for people to retain information and
I love the flexibility and freedom of my job. As it involves a
lot of driving I get to enjoy the wonderful countryside. But the
fact that it’s a beautiful part of the country does not mean we
have a quiet life – the work can be extremely challenging.
One frustration is the inability to do any preventive work – our
departmental threshold is very high so, by the time cases come from
the duty team, we are usually dealing with child protection or
The last time I cried was three weeks ago when an adoption
placement broke down. I cried with anger that the people who had
been so carefully introduced decided they didn’t want him and I
cried with despair about the chances of finding him someone
I would advise anyone who is thinking about becoming an
assistant team manager to gather experience and get over the “high
anxiety” stage of social work before taking on a similar post. I am
the middle of the sandwich between practice and management, and you
need to be able to accept that and act as an honest broker.