Why do we get up in the morning and do what we do?
This is one of the first questions that new chief executive Colin Foster asked staff at the recently established Northamptonshire Children’s Trust. Unsurprisingly, the resounding answer was to support, safeguard and improve the lives of children and young people.
Colin has come to Northamptonshire Children’s Trust from Bedford Borough Council, where he was the director of children’s services. He is passionate about delivering services that protect children and young people as well as supporting them to be the best they can be.
Within the first week of joining the trust, Colin engaged with more than 500 members of staff paving the way for the continuation of the county’s improvement journey and sharing his vision for an organisation where best practice can thrive, staff are enabled and supported and children and young people are kept at the heart of the organisation.
Northamptonshire may not have always had the best reputation but we are improving. Ofsted has recognised this and in its latest letter said:
“Social workers, personal assistants and independent reviewing officers have maintained regular online contact with children and their families, and they make face-to-face visits when safe and appropriate. Many children have enjoyed virtual statutory visits, and some young people, who were previously reluctant to engage face to face, now initiate contact with social workers and personal advisers.”
The trust has a strong permanent leadership team, giving stability, direction and energy to the organisation and driving it to be outstanding. A culture of support, respect, challenge and reflection is shown by both leaders and staff.
The organisation is currently developing the conditions for success that will form the solid building block for the strategic framework. Staff, children, young people and families will all be involved in this, taking ownership of those conditions for success. We are building a service based on empowerment, respect, kindness and compassion side by side with the best and brightest social workers and children’s services practitioners.
We recognise the hard work, commitment and dedication that our social workers give to children, young people and families and those we are helping recognise this too:
A mother whose children are supported via a child protection plan said:
“She remembers all the little details about what the kids like, even though she must have loads of kids to look after…I don’t think she could have done anything better, I always feel listened to. She’s great!”
Moving to a trust means that the organisation can focus solely on children, young people and families and gives us the opportunity to develop our strengths-based practice. As well as great prospects for experienced social workers our social work academy offers staff a vast array of opportunities for professional and personal development, including group and individual supervision, a wide range of training, support and mentoring. With a clear career progression path and the option of flexible working, Northamptonshire Children’s Trust is a great place for social workers, practitioners and managers to thrive.
In a recent practice week, some of our care leavers became young inspectors. We were pleased with their feedback:
“I was shocked at how good the social workers were. I would have liked to have challenged them a bit more but I couldn’t, they were great!”
Northamptonshire is an ambitious, forward-looking county that is keen to make things happen.
The county has a serious appetite for growth, welcoming employment and housing development, and is perfectly situated at the heart of the country. Within a one-hour drive of London, there are affordable homes in both urban and rural locations, with an attractive average house price of £231,035.
The county has an eclectic mix of industrial towns, historical market towns and quaint countryside villages offering something for everyone. Colin Foster says:
“If you love making a difference, come and join us – together we will be awesome!”
We would love you to start or continue your career with us here in Northamptonshire. We can improve our services, and we want you on that journey with us.
Contact us today and join the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust family. Find out more at www.nctrust.co.uk/careers