It’s an exciting time to be work in West Sussex County Council’s adult social care service. We are trialling new ways of working that put prevention first and draw on people’s wellbeing and strengths.
We have also created a Lifelong Service which will work with people with lifelong disabilities and autism of all ages that is preventing, delaying and reducing the need for long-term funded social care.
With our new focus on what matters to individuals over processes our social care workers will be more accessible, get to see people quicker and be able to work in ways that improve people’s lives for the better. In other words, better outcomes for adults and a better workplace for staff.
We asked our new head of area operations for adult services, Loretta Rogers, to tell us more.
Why do you think your new role is important and how does it contribute?
The head of area operations role is a really exciting opportunity to lead the development and implementation of wide-scale transformation programmes, which, when delivered, will ensure that adult social care can meet the increasing level of demand without compromising on our high standards of service.
West Sussex has embarked on an aspirational pathway that will transform both our in-house provider services and how we deliver community social work. There is a desire here to change the culture and approach so that, ultimately, we can provide high-quality information, advice and support that is heavily focused on a preventative agenda.
How will this enhance social care practice?
We have been trialling the 3 Conversations Model, which is an asset-based approach and ensures that social work services are delivered at local level.
A lifelong service
In West Sussex we want to be certain that our young people with disabilities and autism have the smoothest possible transitions from children’s to adult services.
To make this happen we know that we need to make sure that we always put good plans in place early in people’s life’s which focus on them as individuals and which are designed to help them maximise their potential through the rest of their life.
We want to make sure that there is no confusion about what people can expect from us and so we are creating our new Lifelong Service.
Our Lifelong Service will reshape how support is delivered for children and adults putting a clear emphasis on early planning for adulthood back up by early intervention and the application of a streamlined and outcome focused assessment process.
To help us make this happen we are now seeking an experienced social worker to run this exciting new service; someone who wants to make a real difference to the entire lives of hundreds of people across the county.
Are you interested, would you like to help us make a difference?
Access to support at an earlier stage, assessments are proportionate and person-centred, community networks and resources are utilised, and prevention and reablement are vital components of the model.
I personally find this change very exciting and when it is fully implemented it will allow social workers to fully use their specific skills and value base.
There are increasing expectations for health and social care to work together and, as a large county with both urban and rural populations, West Sussex faces challenges due to the fact that we align with three acute hospital trusts and three different clinical commissioning groups.
Part of my role is to ensure that West Sussex has a consistent approach to any changes and developments being led by our health partners.
What do you value most about working at West Sussex?
I enjoy the variety and value being part of a supportive senior management group. As a manager, I find it very rewarding to recruit newly qualified staff to the service and work with them to develop their careers as they undertake the AYSE.
I have found that understanding the individual aspirations and interests of each staff member enables them to do work that both challenges and excites them and this, in turn, increases retention and job satisfaction; all of which has a positive impact on the service we provide to people in West Sussex.
What job opportunities are there at the county at the moment and what advice would you give applicants?
Due to my own promotion and other senior management changes we are looking for operations managers to join us in the new year. We are also looking to recruit to the new role of head of Lifelong Services.
I would recommend that anyone considering applying should first familiarise themselves with West Sussex because it is a fabulous and beautiful place to live and work.
What might your role involve on a typical day?
In any given week I may go from chairing an emergency planning meeting in relation to a care home closure to discussing strategic discharge improvement plans with a CCG. I might write a reply to an MP’s enquiry, deal with recruitment or a disciplinary issue, or be asked about funding for a high-cost care leaver.