Target in their sights

Cambridgeshire is well on the way to integrating its
children’s services far in advance of the government’s
requirement for children’s trusts to be created in all areas
by 2008.

Work began in summer 2003 through the Cambridgeshire Children and
Young People’s Strategic Partnership. In January this year
the county council threw open its doors to show the social care
world how and why it is transforming its services for children and
young people.

With eight months to go before its self-imposed deadline of April
2006, how are the plans progressing and what do the staff involved
think about them?

Gordon Jeyes, deputy chief executive of children and
young people’s services
The major change for Cambridgeshire Council in the past
eight months is the appointment of Gordon Jeyes as deputy chief
executive of children and young people’s services.

In March, Jeyes, formerly director of children’s services at
Stirling Council, picked up the baton from Eric Robinson, then
Cambridgeshire’s director of social services and
children’s services development. He has also taken on the
education portfolio once held by Andrew Baxter, director of

Jeyes is clearly happy with the way the integration plans are
panning out. His first three months – which he describes as
“stage one: the age of rhetoric” – were spent
using “a lot of shoe leather” as he met staff in
schools, Connexions and social work teams.

When he joined the council he wanted to move on Cambridgeshire from
consultation to “knowing who goes where and what shape and
size the teams will be”. He says: “As author Mervyn
Peake would say ‘the time had come for more than small

In the past few months the council has achieved an agreement in
principle with Connexions that it will become part of the new
children’s structure – three area directors have been
appointed and an informal consultation on the management structure
is now out with staff.

One of the toughest challenges Jeyes has faced was working out
“the givens” about how the integrated service should
operate and what is still up for debate. He admits this has been
difficult but says they are still working on it.

His biggest achievement, he says, is “actually
arriving”. Jeyes moved home and working environments and has
had to hit the ground running.

He adds: “I have made people respond by provoking them with
rhetoric to think about the discipline of putting children

By the end of this year Jeyes wants a structure to be in place
whereby staff are clear about their roles and responsibilities and
are inspired to take these forward into their day to day work. So
will the authority hit its target of integrating children’s
services by next April? Jeyes  answers firmly:

Jackie Galwey, assistant director, children’s
services for Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire Primary Care
The biggest challenge facing Jackie Galwey, assistant
director of children’s services for Cambridge City and South
Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trusts, is financial.

The PCTs’ participation in the integrated children’s
services agenda depends on strict financial management. She says:
“Given the financial positions of our PCTs the best we can
hope for is modernisation within existing resources.”

But is it realistic to think that the two PCTs can be involved in
such a major change in the way they work with children without
affecting their budgets? Galwey thinks it is: “I am a half
full, as opposed to half empty, kind of person. There are places
that can achieve this modernisation.”

She is keen to emphasise that the PCTs’ difficult financial
position is not an excuse to avoid improving the way services are
provided to children. “There is a high level of consensus
within health on where we are going with this, both between
organisations and across disciplines.”

Mike Davey, area director Fenland and east
Mike Davey, one of the three new area directors, will
oversee Fenland and east Cambridgeshire and be responsible for all
staff working with children in education, family support and social
work settings in five localities. He joins in October after a spell
as chief executive of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Davey’s job will be to manage social work services and
special needs services in these areas while liaising with
Cambridgeshire Council’s partner agencies. He is aware that
some social care professionals in the county are unsure about their
futures, none more so than the 250 Connexions staff who will become
part of the local authority’s integrated children’s
service. He is clear about his number one priority: “On my
first day I want to bring certainty and stability to staff and to
maintain service delivery.”

But what does he want to achieve six months down the line?
“It is going to be about moving from the dream of the vision
to the practicalities of what this sort of work actually

He has already identified five key targets that practitioners need
to address: reducing re-registration of children on the child
protection register; improving healthy eating among children and
young people; reducing criminal activity among young people;
ensuring that 16- and 17-year-olds have a decent job or training to
go on to; and improving the educational attainment of children and
young people.

Tom Jefford, head of youth offending
Keeping track of the changes is the most challenging
aspect of the work Cambridgeshire is doing, according to Tom
Jefford, head of youth offending. He says many experienced staff
have moved on to other jobs, perhaps signifying their uneasiness
about how Cambridgeshire is progressing. “It doesn’t make you feel
safe but it does signify the rate of change.”

Despite this, Jefford’s support for further integration remains
resolute. His department has changed significantly as it has been
brought into the new office of children and young people’s
services, which Gordon Jeyes heads. Previously Jefford reported
directly to Cambridgeshire’s chief executive; now he reports to a
new director of inclusion. The advantage of this, he believes, is
that his department’s work is aligned more closely with other
services targeting the same client group. 

The move to divide Cambridgeshire into 14 localities in three
areas, which will be overseen by the three area directors, may
prove problematic for the way the youth offending service operates.
Jefford argues that his service is too specialist to be divided
across the 14 localities. 

On the other hand, having a youth offending service office in each
locality is not feasible either as there are not enough
practitioners with the range of knowledge and depth of experience
to staff them.

Consequently he would prefer to be based in the two localities that
receive the most court cases.

Fiona Van Den Hout, manager of intake and assessment
In May, Fiona Van Den Hout was promoted from senior social
worker to the manager of the intake and assessment team for the
Cambridge City children’s team. With her new role came a desk move
and she now has her own office.

Over the past eight months she and her colleagues have become more
accustomed to the idea of Cambridgeshire having an integrated
children’s service, especially after attending a consultation led
by Gordon Jeyes.

Van Den Hout says: “The view from front-line staff is that we
haven’t felt the whole change in emphasis as much as we thought we
would but there has been greater interagency working.” 

One benefit of working towards the  integrated services, she adds,
is that social workers have become more focused on the way they
liaise with other agencies.

An example of this is that, from the start of the new school term
in September, every practitioner in Van Den Hout’s team will be
linked into local schools. Their role will be to liaise with the
school and help identify children who may be in need or at

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