Gloucestershire’s innovative children’s services are going from strength to strength

A feature sponsored by Gloucestershire County Council

Picture credit: Burger/Phanie/REX

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Kathy O’Mahony, Operations Director for Children’s Safeguarding and Care explains why she’s glad to be back at Gloucestershire children’s services.

“In Gloucestershire, we recognise it is an incredibly competitive market for social workers and social work leaders. You really do have a lot of choice, and every local authority will tell you why it’s a great time to join them.

I have just returned to Gloucestershire after five years in another local authority. I originally started here as a student social worker and spent almost 20 years in Gloucestershire children’s services up until I left in 2008. Now I’ve come back as Director for Safeguarding and Care, and I can honestly say, hand-on-heart, how good it is to be back. It’s a great place to work.

I have returned to vibrant teams with great managers and I’ve been really impressed. Almost all our team managers are well established and permanent with largely permanently staffed teams. Our frontline social work staff consistently tell me how well supported they are- they have good access to training and development, and the most frequent comments to me are just how much they love the teams they are in. The enthusiasm, passion and commitment in the teams is genuinely fantastic!

Yes we have challenges – of course we do. We have been honest and realistic about our pressure points and have worked hard to address them, but we know there is still more to do.

We know what we are doing here, and our innovative services are going from strength to strength with lots of new approaches- we are piloting a Family Drug and Alcohol Court, a new multi-agency safeguarding hub has just begun, and we are piloting a new ‘pod’ social work model in Gloucester.

What are we passionate about? Understanding what life is like for the children we work with, and providing help that really makes an impact. At every stage we want to stop problems escalating. We are passionate about finding the best possible way to get the best possible life for every child.

We are also investing in social work in Gloucestershire. We have recently revised our salaries for our social workers and managers to ensure our rates of pay are really competitive.

I have revamped my leadership team and currently have opportunities for people to join our experienced and vibrant Service Leaders at third tier level. I’ve also added two new Principal Social Worker roles. If you are shortlisted you can meet the team and check it out for yourself. We are always interested in hearing from experienced team managers and would be happy to talk to you about how we are taking children’s services forward in Gloucestershire and the opportunities we can offer. If you are a committed and passionate social worker, we would also love to hear from you. We can offer you a supportive and vibrant environment in which to develop and grow your career.

We know you would be choosing us as much as we are choosing you. If you choose to apply to come here, and are successful, I feel confident you will be glad you did. I know I am.

It’s not an easy time for local authorities across the country, but with great teams, great leaders and principal social workers I firmly believe we can continue to ensure we are making a really positive and lasting difference to the lives of our children and young people.”

To find out more visit www.ontheup.net

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