Profile: Sue Thompson

Careers in social care

Sue Thompson is programme manager for Sure Start Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush in Southampton and is employed by Southampton Council.

How long in the job? Since June 2002.

Career lowpoint: When the early years regulation and development team which I managed transferred from Southampton Council to Ofsted. We lost the developmental aspect of our work, which was enjoyable and important in improving the quality of children’s day care.

During my career I wish I had: Taken the opportunity to do a good management course to complement my practice when I first became a team manager.

Best move I’ve ever made: Becoming a childminder when my own children were small. I loved having what seemed like a very large family and it led me into working as a regulation and development officer.

I aspire to be: Able to leave work at work!

Me and my career: My work is challenging and varied. I manage a core team of eight and project manage 13 commissioned services. Over the past three years we have worked extremely hard to develop what is now an effective multi-agency team providing a range of services geared to the complex needs of families with children under five living in disadvantaged communities.

The community involvement aspect of our work ensures that parents are fully engaged, trust the programme and will use services.

Developing a multi-agency team is demanding. Organisational cultures are so different, which doesn’t become apparent until you work closely together. Often practitioners are working well on the ground but are hampered by structures. We hold regular team meetings and awaydays to ensure we are well linked and understand and share what we are all doing.

I also have responsibility for the programme’s £1million capital budget and now know a great deal about building projects!

We are designated as a children’s centre and as a next step in my career development I would like to complete a new professional qualification in integrated centre leadership.

2002-now Programme manager, Sure Start Millbrook, Redbridge and Maybush in Southampton
2000-02 Early years regulation and development team manager, Southampton Council, then Ofsted
1993-2000 Early years regulation and development officer, Southampton Council
1989-1993 Relief residential social worker, Hampshire Council
1988-1992 Registered childminder
1982-1988 At home looking after my three children
1979-1982 Social worker, assessment team, Avon Council
1975-1979 Social worker, children and families, Kensington and Chelsea Council in London
1974-1975 Social work aide, Westminster Council in London

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