Kasey Senior is the principal social worker and quality and performance service manager in practice standards at Surrey County Council’s children’s service.
She leads monthly practice learning events with practitioners and senior leaders. Kasey has been helping to transform best practice examples gathered during the sessions into learning-friendly resources that practitioners can apply to their day-to-day work.
“Surrey is really focussed on making sure that, as an organisation, we are healthy and focussed on the experience of the practitioner. Our practice learning events happen every month across Surrey’s four quadrants,” says Kasey. “They give practitioners a platform to talk about their experiences, showcase their work, talk about their challenges, and what they need from us.
“There has been a real push to open up conversations after we implemented the family safeguarding model and introduced motivational interviewing across all aspects of our work – not just with families.
There is a power in the social worker being the one that tells their peers why a learning approach is beneficial in their day-to-day work.
“It is a chance for practitioners to meet the director and we have someone from our academy that comes to ask if their training needs are being met. We have conversations on how to deal with an Ofsted inspection and use techniques such as motivational interviewing to get people more comfortable about answering questions about their work.
“The auditing process carries a lot of information that we know is valuable for practitioners. We encourage practitioners to share those best practice examples rather than the examples coming from senior leaders, like myself.
“There is a power in the social worker being the one that tells their peers why a learning approach is beneficial in their day-to-day work. I think they get more inspired when the person, who is at their level, is talking about how they approach their work.
“Through this regular engagement, we have been able to create a resource, which we call the ‘Making a Difference’ publication. This acts as a one-stop shop that pulls together information, articles, policy, training and outstanding examples of good practice (shared in video or audio format) all centred around a particular topic, that practitioners can learn from.
“One of the common issues for practitioners is that they feel inundated with the information, so there is also a PSW bulletin I send out monthly that helps to focus on what’s most relevant for them in their day-to-day work and development.”