Medway Council

Employer profile

Welcome to Medway Council Children’s Services Employer Profile. Here you can see key data, learn about the culture and meet the managers of the organisation before applying for a job.

Meet the senior leaders

Ian Sutherland

Director of People (Children and Adults)

Appointed in 2017. Previously deputy director of Medway’s adult services since 2015.

Dr Lee-Anne Farach

Dr Lee-Anne Farach

Assistant Director Children’s Social Care

Lee-Anne was appointed in 2020 and has previously worked in Swindon, Luton and Kent and has a PhD in leadership in children’s services.

Lori Goossen

Lori Goossen

Principal Social Worker (Children’s)

Meet the teams

The Single Point of Access (SPA) for children and families is our front door to early help and statutory social work services. Qualified social workers, early help co-ordinators and education safeguarding staff assess against the threshold criteria and social work managers lead these assessments.

 

Where more information is needed to make the right decision, we have a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). This includes partners from police, education, health and early help to make the best decision for children. Virtual partners from Probation and Housing are also involved to improve information sharing at the front door.

Comprehensive child and family assessments are undertaken by one of our five assessment teams.

 

We promote joint working to enable different perspectives on each family whilst also providing intervention as early as possible during the assessment.

 

With strong links to partners in early help and universal services, our mantra is ‘the right service at the right time’.

These teams work with both children in need and those on child protection plans (including those subject to Public Law Outline). They are aligned to the four geographical areas of Medway which allows them to work with the home community of the family.

 

The Signs of Safety model is used in all our work with children including specific models of assessment and intervention and all social workers are trained in these approaches.

 

We also have dedicated Family Group Conferencing (FGC) teams who are responsible for coordinating family group meetings as well as preparing families and extended family members for meetings.

The newly developing Medway Adolescent Service enables social workers to develop specialist skills working with teens and contextual safeguarding situations such as exploitation.

The service has been set up to recognise that teens can move in and out of at-risk situations extremely quickly and as readily as they move in and out of a willingness to engage with services.

Practitioners will use restorative approaches and teams will be multi-disciplinary, offer flexible hours and work either within communities or from a hub that has been designed to be young person friendly.

 

16+ leaving care team

The adolescent team and the 16+ leaving care team work closely together and develop specialist skills to support children in care from the age of 16+. A social worker works alongside a personal advisor to create stability and ensure young people are prepared for indepedence and  have longer term relationships with the team at what is a key transitional period for them.

More information about the adolescent service

More information about the 16+ leaving care team

The Children in Care Service provides a 0 to 16 years old service for children as well as asylum seeking children referrals.

Social workers are responsible for the:

  • court proceedings for children after an Interim Care Order is granted
  • provision of services to children in Section 20 care who have no plan to return home
  • formation and implementation of the permanency plans for children
  • professional abuse and complex abuse investigations

 

0 to 25 Disability team

We provide specialist services to people living in Medway with substantial and long-term disability and teams include social workers occupational therapists and family workers. They work in close partnership with education, health, housing and voluntary organisations. ‘Parklands’ is a residential multi-agency respite centre for children with a disability and also provides day care facilities.

 

Virtual School Medway

The Medway Virtual School is led by the virtual headteacher, who acts as a local authority champion to promote the educational achievement of looked after children and young care leavers. They work with schools, carers and social workers to help these pupils achieve educational outcomes comparable to their peers.

 

16+ Leaving Care team

Young people will transfer to the 16+ Leaving Care specialist team when they reach 16 years – unless there is a clear rationale for them to remain with their existing social worker (ie they have a good relationship with their social worker and they are undergoing their GCSEs).

 

Fostering and Adoption teams

The fostering service and the adoption service recruit, assess and offer ongoing support and supervision of foster carers, adoptive parents, connected carers and special guardians.

Responsible for embedding Medway’s quality assurance framework across social work practice, this service sits alongside the Medway Safeguarding Children Partnership (MSCP) and includes the following teams:

 

Quality Assurance Team
Undertakes quality assurance and audit of social work practice and acts as a critical friend to help improve practice and service delivery.

 

Principal Social Work Team
Develops practice and supports quality of practice. The team of seven includes a leadership and management development lead and a Signs of Safety practice development lead.

 

Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) team
Oversees and co-ordinates the management of allegations made against professionals working with children and offers advice and guidance to all Medway organisations that provide a service to children.

 

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) team
Statutory duties include chairing a child’s review and monitoring the case on an ongoing basis offering independent scrutiny for children in care.

 

Child Protection (CP) Conferencing Chair team
Responsible for facilitating CP conferences, working with families to develop and review CP plans and providing independent oversight on cases.

Approach to social work

Rebooted social work academy to focus on strengths and leadership

Ask, listen and change: how Medway is turning services around

listening

‘Working with adolescents requires a different skillset and mindset’

Career

Progression

Pay & benefits

Work-life balance

Key data

Average caseload: 15

Average social worker salary: £37, 786 (includes senior practitioners)

Ofsted rating: Inadequate

Vacancy rate: 20.5%

Agency rate: 22%

Average house price: £284,853 (Rightmove 2021)

Office location: The majority of social work teams are based in Chatham, Kent

Living in Medway

Medway is at the heart of the Thames Gateway, only 30 miles from central London. It takes its name from the magnificent River Medway which flows through it and it is this position that has made it of strategic importance throughout England’s history resulting in a rich heritage.

 

Some of its most famous heritage sites include Rochester Cathedral, the second oldest cathedral in England, Rochester Castle, with its imposing Norman Keep, the Elizabethan Upnor Castle as well as Chatham Historical Dockyard which became one of England’s premier naval bases from the Tudor period.

 

There is a thriving cultural calendar in Medway including the Dickens Festival, celebrating Charles Dickens’s childhood links with the area. There are also open air concerts at the castles, a River Festival and the Will Adams Festival providing a mix of Tudor English and Japanese culture celebrating the area’s association with the famous mariner who established trade links with Japan.

Medway largely consists of five major towns – Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham, Rainham and Strood – all of which have mainline train stations linking Medway to London in as little as 34 minutes. London Victoria, Cannon Street, Charing Cross and London Bridge provide regular services to Chatham and takes about 55 minutes.

 

Europe is easily accessible. It is approximately 10 minutes by car or train to Ebbsfleet station to pick up the Eurostar train or a 40 minute drive to the Eurotunnel at Folkestone. Medway is also within an hours drive from Gatwick, Heathrow and Stanstead airports as well as Dover and Ramsgate for ferry crossings. Medway easy to get to via a number of motorways including the M25, M26 or M20 motorways and either the A228 or A229 roads.

Despite the large size of its urban conurbations Medway also possesses stunning natural areas in its marshes and estuaries which are of global importance in wintering wetland birds. Parks include Riverside Country Park, Ranscombe Farm Reserve, Capstone Farm Country Park and Great Lines Heritage Park.

 

For those with sporting interests Medway is home to Kent’s only professional football club Gillingham FC. It has six council sports centres whilst the river is home to a range of watersports clubs including numerous sailing regatta’s.

There is an active regeneration programme in Medway spanning seven miles along the river where work is underway to create 1400 homes alongside schools, shops and other services. Other regeneration proposals include Chatham Maritime development and at Chatham Waterfront where there is potential for a new leisure and cultural quarter.

 

Whitstable, Margate, Dover and the Kent coast are also all within easy reach.

 

Medway’s economy is worth £4.8bn, with a growth rate ahead of the rest of the UK. The projected growth in Medway’s economy is helped by Medway’s geographical position, benefiting from comprehensive transport links within the UK and Europe.

Medway is a great place to live whether you are single, a couple or family. It is beautifully green with seven green flags accredited parks and more than 80% of our schools have an OFSTED rating of good or better. Medway is also home to four universities.

 

Medway has a diverse housing landscape from Victorian period properties and cottages to newly-developed modern builds and suburban developments as part of the huge regeneration projects in the area.

 

Medway is already one of the South East’s fastest growing areas meaning a fast-growing range of shops, restaurants and activity centres such as trampoline parks, bowling alleys, cinemas, laser tag and roller skating rinks. It is also home to Rapture one of the largest gaming and creative festivals in the South East.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about working in Medway then check out our home page or register your interest

If you would like to discuss any of our current social work vacancies in more detail please contact our dedicated social work recruitment team and we’ll arrange a convenient time for one of our social work managers to contact you.

You can email us or call on 01634 332 041

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