Welcome to Herefordshire Council’s children’s and adults’ services known as: Children & Young People and Community Wellbeing & Adult Social Care. When we get involved in the life of a child or an adult, our priority is to make sure our social workers have the support, time and resources they need to provide an excellent quality of service – the kind of service we ourselves would wish to receive.
Herefordshire is on a journey – a journey to good and better and we would like you to be part of our next chapter. We are investing in our people and culture to grow the spirit of Herefordshire as a place to live, work and thrive for both our community and our employees. This is an opportunity to have a genuine impact on the local authority and help improve and protect the children and young people within it. Find out more about our teams, culture and area here.
A Place to Live
Herefordshire is tucked on the edge of the West Midlands, nestled between Worcestershire and The Brecon Beacons. Its rolling pastures are bursting with rural charm, and a healthy vibrant community.
It’s a place where the whole family can grow and thrive. Children have access to excellent education, there are well-paid jobs for adults, and the family life connects to the local community and to nature.
Our county boasts a range of places to live including market towns, villages and the odd hamlet.
We offer a generous relocation package, so you can work closer to the area that you are working to support.
The average price for a three-bedroom house is £270,000, compared to the southeast at £377,000 – giving you more for your money and a beautiful environment.
We are really proud of our schools, with results in the top 25% in the country. At primary level, there are some excellent schools in the villages with smaller intakes and class sizes.
At secondary level, we have schools that are very proud of their achievements and facilities, offering an exciting educational experience. And there are post-16 education opportunities across a range of academic and practical qualifications.
Hereford, Leominster and Ledbury railway stations provide regular services to all major UK cities. London is accessible in just over three hours by high-speed train. The M5, M50 and nearby M4 provide access to the UK and you can be at Birmingham, Cardiff or Bristol airports in about 90 minutes. For more information, see Visit Herefordshire, and plan your route with AA Route Planner and Trainline Journey Planner.
A Place to Work
Children & Young People
Within the Children and Young People Directorate, we have a number of dedicated and multi-disciplinary teams that support children, young people, families and carers. These include MASH, Safeguarding & Review, Assessment, Child Protection, Children In & Leaving Care, Early Help, Family Support, Social Care Skills Academy and Fostering, including a range of fostering schemes.
Community Wellbeing & Adult Social Care
Community Wellbeing brings together all services that are focussed on enhancing people’s wellbeing.
These areas include: adult social care, occupational therapy, housing, community development and welfare benefits you, your family and your career.
Below is a summary of some of our operations areas.
“One of the successes of our improvement plan and the funding that we got last year was that there are no limits to the number of senior practitioner posts that we’ve got in the service. So, anybody with the right skills and competencies based on the national competency framework is able to apply.”
The MASH service is the first point of contact for the public and professionals who have concerns about a child.
MASH service triages information gathered to determine next steps, this will include identifying immediate and levels of risk and ensuring consent has been gained from the parents/carers when professionals refer or dispensing with if necessary when a safeguarding matter arises. In some instances, the MASH social workers will undertake screening checks, for example with police, health, education and other partner agencies to enable the manager to make a decision about next steps.
The MASH service completes decisions about all ‘contacts’ within one working day, this will include the decision to transfer directly to the assessment service or early help.
This service provides support for children who live with families and a range of services to children we care for and those that are care experienced and often living, studying and working successfully. We work with children and young people, foster carers, independent review officers and Homes staff to ensure we are progressing our children’s plans.
As good corporate parents’ the service strives to achieve the best for children and young people and hope that they will be healthy, safe and do well at school. As good corporate parent’s we hope children and young people will have good friendships and enjoy a range of hobbies and interests and to grow towards adulthood equipped to lead successful lives and make their way as adults in higher education in good careers and jobs, and be financially secure.
Assessment teams complete holistic child-centred assessments, incorporating the child’s identity, ethnicity, gender and culture.
This is done by triangulation of information gained from: visiting and speaking with the child to build meaningful relationship throughout the process, consulting with parents/carers, including non-resident parents, step-parents, family members and other professionals who know the child well to inform an outcome focused SMART plan or next steps.
When significant harm has been identified, child protection planning is considered to safeguard the child in line with Working Together 2018. This service actively promotes multi-agency working to ensure the right people are in place to reduce risk for children. All children are encouraged to attend or contribute to their child protection plans either in person or via an advocate.
Child protection processes aim to work preventatively with the child’s family and wider community to allow the child to remain within the family and/or wider network. Where plans are not successful in reducing risk, social workers access legal advice with some children becoming subject to pre-proceedings and/or court.
The Social Care Academy is a team of advanced practitioners who support the social care workforce with their continuing learning and professional development. The Academy aims to provide a structured career pathway and continuing professional development that is mapped to the improvement plan and the needs of the service.
Advanced Practitioners offer tailored support to NQSW’s during their ASYE year offering a bespoke 52 week development programme whilst supporting NQSW to complete portfolios aligned to the Skills for Care ASYE programme.
The Academy also support different routes into social work e.g. it facilitates social work apprenticeships. We currently have three cohorts of Apprentices and will shortly be recruiting to our next apprenticeship programme which is due to start in September 2023.
In addition the Social Care Academy also facilitate the government programme ‘Step up to Social Work’ which is an intensive full-time, fully funded, Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work that allows you to become a qualified social worker in 14 months. The next ‘Step to Social Work’ programme is due to start in January 2024 and recruitment for this programme will take place next year.
The Academy work closely with our neighbouring universities to provide good quality student placements for both BA and Masters social work students.
This is a small team of education specialists focused on improving education standards and ensuring children are effectively safeguarded in their educational settings. Our aim is to ensure that all children and young people get a great start in life and have the knowledge and skills needed for a successful transition into adult life.
The team works largely with educational settings from the early years sector including child minders, schools and colleges as well as alternative provision providers.
There are seven smaller teams within this team: the early years team, the education safeguarding team (including the education MASH, elective home education and inclusion), the school admissions team, The EAL team, off site visits team, the virtual school for looked after children and the school improvement team.
This service encompasses a range of professionals working in partnership, including independent reviewing officers and child protection chairs who work closely with the social work teams to ensure children and young people’s plans are of high quality, deliver the change identified to impact upon, and secure good outcomes.
It also has responsibility for embedding the quality assurance framework and a range of approaches to ensure we have good quality services and experiences for young people.
The framework sets out how the council learns from all activity completed to ensure children and families are supported in the right way at the right time, and understand what difference interventions have made. The framework sets out the approach and how learning is embedded and then evidenced in practice.
The schools effectiveness service is an outward-facing business function which aims to consult and provide a ‘one stop shop’ for schools and educational establishments to access services including specialist support solutions.
We provide advice, guidance and training opportunities to business professionals within schools, to support best practice and continued professional development.
The team lead on the work experience provision for young people upwards from key stage 4. Our service offers the provision for general advice for work placements to all schools and colleges, compliance with health and safety regulations and close partnership working with neighbouring local authorities regarding placements for Herefordshire students in other counties.
There is an in-house fostering service, who care for many of our children and young people. Social workers within the fostering service complete assessment of carers, statutory checks, support foster carers and complete annual reviews of foster carers.
It is the vision of the council to grow the service, securing families for children and young people who are cared for within their local communities to enable them to build resilience and success.
For children 0-18 yrs, with a disability and/or complex health conditions following assessment are able to access individually tailored support packages in and/or out of the family home.
Social workers and support workers who hold specific knowledge work closely with specialist health professionals and colleagues in education ensuring the impact of a child’s needs are understood, and any risks are managed.
This service will work across the child’s journey, completing assessment work, including short break assessments, child protection and court work, ensuring there is consistency in social workers leading to relationship based model of practice.
“One of our biggest assets is the strong and diverse communities across Herefordshire. Our Talk Community approach brings that together supporting people to help themselves, encouraging them to help their communities and identifying how communities can help individuals.”
Our Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHP) team consists of experienced social workers, nurses and occupational therapists with additional specialist training in the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA).
They bring a social perspective to the assessment alongside the doctor’s medical perspective and consider if there are any less restrictive options – such as treatment in the community, or informal admission.
Our AMHPs make the final decision and completes the application to the hospital. AMHPs have a key responsibility to ensure that people’s human rights are upheld, consider the social perspective and follow the guiding principles of the MHA which includes applying the least restrictive principle.
When adults aged 18 and over lack the mental capacity to make the decision on their care or treatment, restrictions are put in their care plans which amount to them being deprived of their liberty. The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) team receives requests from registered care homes and hospitals (known as managing authorities).
Operational resources are devoted to promoting timely and appropriate discharges from all hospital settings. Hospital discharges are assisted by the Hospital Liaison Service, working in collaboration with Health colleagues to ensure multi-disciplinary decision making to aid timely and appropriate discharges that seek to maximise a persons potential to return home either with or without support.
All discharges from hospital, where an individual is likely to need any social care services, are managed through this team, ensuring timely and preventative interventions are established in promoting independence and preventing a hospital readmission.
The Advice and Referral Team is the first point of contact for potential referrals into adult social care and provides a comprehensive information and advice service to enable and ensure that enquiries are responded to in a timely and appropriate manner.
The service will address, either directly or by signposting to: advice on prevention of care and support needs, finances, health, housing, employment, what to do in cases of abuse or neglect of an adult and other areas where required.
In fulfilling this duty, the Advice and Referral Team will consider the people they are communicating with on a case by case basis, and seek to actively encourage them towards the types of information and/or advice that may be particularly relevant to them.
A Safeguarding Hub works alongside the Advice and Information Team to respond to concerns of a safeguarding nature and to ensure matters are processed appropriately. The ART team and Safeguarding Hub are based in Plough Lane.
Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities must carry out an assessment of anyone who appears to require care and support. The aim of assessment is to understand the person’s needs and goals.
After carrying out the assessment the local authority must consider whether any of the needs are eligible for support. We have three locality teams, East (Ross, Ledbury, and Bromyard), West (Leominster, Kington and Golden Valley) and City team. Locality teams respond to the majority of our referrals for assessment and support planning and hold the largest contingent of adults already receiving a service and therefore requiring active intervention, monitoring and or an annual review.
This CQC registered in-house service coordinators assess people to be Shared Lives carers then support them and monitor the arrangements they provide in their own home for adults with support needs.
The team works closely with social care teams, accepting referrals and carefully matching individuals and Shared Lives carers. A person living in a Shared Lives arrangements says: ‘Since moving in with (M) my life has completely changed. I have a stable home and also enough independence to work three days a week and go to the pub to play darts and meet up with my girlfriend’.
A Place To Thrive
“We’re investing in our people and culture to grow The Spirit of Herefordshire – A place to thrive, for both our community and employees.” – Paul Walker, Chief Executive of Herefordshire Council.
Read more about Herefordshire Council’s latest Ofsted report rating here.
We recognise that ways of working have changed, and this is why we care about what you’re doing, not where. We call this way of working Flexible Futures. We offer our staff several initiatives that support them in their flexible working choices along with creating agile office environments at a number of work locations across the county.
- Mental health first aiders
- Access to the Headspace & MyMindPal apps offering access 24/7
- Bullying and harassment advisors
- Cycle-to-work scheme offering discounts on bikes
- Staff discounts at local cycle stores
- Discounted membership package for use at any Halo Leisure Centre in the county.
- Health and wellbeing advice and guidance to include 24/7 access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
- Occupational health, including counselling and physiotherapy
- Eye tests (subject to conditions)
- Occupational sick pay
And our employee reward platform known as Orchard offers access to a unique range of discounts including retail, supermarkets, cinema tickets and days out. Plus there’s cashback opportunities and other financial rewards. You can save on everyday necessities or the occasional treat, and even share the discounts with your family and friends.
We believe in building networks and communities through initiatives such as our BAME Networking Group that connects staff together to provide support and advice, and our council-run initiative Coffee Connections.
We have a genuine commitment to creating a working environment where people are valued for who they are, backed up by equalities policies covering all strands of diversity. View our equality policy.
We will treat people fairly, with compassion, respect and dignity throughout our employment practices. We believe that it is morally and legally right to do so.
With Coffee Connections, we aim to encourage colleagues to share knowledge, skills and experience at work and make Herefordshire Council a place to thrive. It promotes connectedness and develops our understanding of the council as a whole.
Our Children’s Services Social Care Academy offers a comprehensive package of support and development to staff at all levels within the service. From supporting you through your ASYE, then through a range of options ranging from undertaking specialist roles or moving into managerial and leadership roles.
We offer a competitive salary, generous holiday entitlement, and access to our contributory pension and staff benefits scheme as part of the pay and reward package. In addition to other benefits, we will also pay for one set of professional fees.
We offer protected time and budget to support social workers in developing themselves and their careers. We offer a range of professional and personal support through at the council level that ranges from professional skills development, management development, coaching skills and an extensive e-learning programme.
In addition to receiving regular supervision and support with your caseload, we try to encourage a culture of continuous learning and coaching.
We focus not just on your current career and professional aspirations, but also on how your career may progress in the longer term.
Interested in learning more about working at Herefordshire Council? Click here to search our range of careers.
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