Every child should have access to the best opportunities in life. Few people would argue with that. But in the past, circumstances and a lack of joined-up services may have meant that vulnerable children were left behind – or denied the chances that other children enjoyed.
At Southampton children and families services, we are driving through a radical shift in the way we work with children and their families. This means working more closely with partners and corporate colleagues. The programme is underpinned by seven key themes. Each of these support our underlying vision:
to ensure the best possible outcome for every child.
Our seven key themes of transformation
An ambitious education offer for all children – we focus intervention on narrowing the gap for the most vulnerable children.
Identification of need at the earliest opportunity – we always aim to identify need at an early stage. At the same time, we make it easier for families to access services in a timely manner.
A more joined-up approach – we are working hard to ensure our different services are much more closely integrated. This helps ensure families get a seamless service and only have to tell their story once.
Evidence-based service redesign – we have put the needs of children and families right at the centre of our service redesign. We draw on detailed national and local research of what actually works.
Timely, appropriate interventions – sometimes, children cannot be safely and effectively brought up within their own families. In these circumstances, we aim to ensure our interventions are timely and our service right for the individual child. We adhere to the ‘right child, right time, right placement, only for as long as necessary’ approach.
A commitment to quality assurance – we aim to meet the highest standards across all services. Our quality assurance business unit ensures that our provision is safe, effective and responsive to feedback. This includes learning from serious case reviews.
Staff training and professional development – we’re committed to the continuous training of our staff. There’s a strong emphasis on developing the skills needed to offer preventative support – before the need for targeted intervention. Our professional development programme invests in the skills and knowledge of our staff – in particular, newly-qualified workers and first line managers.
Building external partnerships
In addition to these seven key themes, we recognise the need to work more closely with external partners. To help our teams do the best job possible, we have partnerships with agencies such as police, health, probation, women’s refuges and the voluntary sector (such as Barnardos and NSPCC). We also have excellent relationships with Sure Start and children centres, as well as links with local universities through the social work education network.
A rewarding place to work
Southampton children and families services is a busy, rewarding environment with a diverse range of case work. There are opportunities to specialise in a range of areas, including: education and early years; multi-agency safeguarding; early help; looked-after children; therapeutic work; working in a hospital setting and working with children with disabilities.
Extensive training programmes are available to both newly qualified and experienced employees. Employees are also encouraged to get involved in operational and strategic developments within the services.
The experienced management team is open and approachable, providing an excellent source of guidance and support. With most of our functions in the same building, it’s easy to talk to your managers and make faster, but well-informed decisions.
In this small authority, there is a real opportunity to shine and make a difference to children’s lives.
To find out more about the current vacancies available in Southampton Children and Families Services, please go to: www.southamptonsocialwork.co.uk