Steph How – deputy director for Hampshire and Isle of Wight children’s services

I knew, when I was an adolescent, that I wanted to be a children and families social worker because I learned of the Sargent Cancer Care for Children charity and made it my mission to one day work for them.


I qualified in 1997, having spent four years at Bath University, but knew that Sargent only employed ‘senior’ social workers, so I spent a couple of years in children and families statutory teams in South Gloucestershire.

I promised myself that I would apply for the first Sargent post that was advertised when I hit my two years post qualification point, wherever in the country it was!

On my second anniversary post qualification, a post was advertised in Birmingham Children’s Hospital and my dream came true. I spent nearly five years doing my dream job till I decided it was time to move on and I found myself naturally gravitating ‘home’, having grown up in Hampshire.

Working in Hampshire

I’ve worked in Hampshire since 2003, joining the council initially as a senior practitioner. I was fortunate enough to spend 18 months seconded to the Isle of Wight in the initial stages of our partnership with them in 2013. I have learned so much through supporting other local authorities, learning that I draw on regularly and never take for granted.

During my five years as an area director, I also had the privilege of being the strategic and operational lead for our care to change, transforming social care and modernising placements programmes.

This is something I will continue to drive forward in my new role, as what we have achieved to improve the outcomes for children and families is remarkable and we will never stand still in this regard.  There is still much to do but we are undoubtedly ahead of the curve in so many areas of our work.

I love managing services and staff, supporting them to grow and observing their passion to improve outcomes for children and families. I feel proud every day of the innovative, forward-thinking organisation that I work in and of the incredible people I get to work with.

I came to Hampshire many years ago as an assistant team manager and am very proud to now be the deputy director for both Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, with the support of an organisation that has grown and developed me into this role.  My new role affords me an even greater opportunity to work across our services, branches and directorates to improve the services we deliver to children and families, an opportunity I will never take for granted.

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