Workforce Insights

Norfolk County Council

Workforce Insights Podcast

Podcast: the benefits of a relational approach to social work

Community Care speaks to an assistant director and a team manager from Norfolk County Council about innovation that is taking place across children's services

In this episode of the Workforce Insights podcast (formerly Employer Zone Insights), we find out how Norfolk County Council has embedded a relational approach to practice in children’s services.

Our guests, Kate Dexter, assistant director of family help and high needs in children’s services at Norfolk, and Sarah Hewitt, team manager for the Life Beyond Care team, explain how the foundation of relational practice is the trust between practitioners and young people.

This is supported, in Norfolk, by a multidisciplinary approach that provides the young person with the support of a range of professionals, on the understanding that they may find it easier to build relationships with some than others.

As well as have ‘a team around the child’, the council and partners also build a ‘team around the practitioner’, giving the lead professional working with the young person a network of support they can draw upon.

“The team around the practitioner model and that multidisciplinary approach is making sure we’ve got the right services and the right professionals not just working around that family but that practitioners can call upon for advice, guidance, support, and at times to offer direct interventions to the family,” says Kate.

Norfolk’s relational approach is also a feature of the New Roads service, which provides a combination of short-term placements and outreach work for young people in, or on the edge of, care.

Kate and Sarah discuss how the residential practitioners in the service use creative methods to forge strong bonds with young people, helping improve their self-esteem and manage risks, such as exploitation. At the same time, they work with families to help them rebuild their relationships to prevent young people from going into care.

They also discuss the importance of life story work, and the relational approach they take to it, in Norfolk, based on helping young people build their self-esteem and self-identity.

Listen to “Benefits of a relational approach in social work” on Spreaker.

You can listen to the podcast using the player above, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Spreaker or wherever you normally listen to podcasts.

Here is the transcript of the benefits of a relational approach to social work.

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