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 director
Dr Lee-Anne Farach, director of people (children & adults)
Lee-Anne became director of people in 2021 after serving as Medway’s assistant director of children’s social care. She has previously worked in Kent, Luton and Swindon and has a PhD in leadership in children’s services.
“Working with children, young people and families is at the heart of children’s services. So celebrating good social work is very important to me. I want to foster a sense of pride in being a good social worker and for Medway to be the place to pursue excellence in whichever field of social work you prefer.”
Meet the principal social worker
Lori Goossen, principal social worker (children and families)
Lori became Medway’s principal social worker (PSW) in 2020 after working for more than 15 years at another local authority, most recently as a service manager in charge of professional standards and quality assurance.
“I’m excited to be a part of creating the conditions for good practice to flourish in Medway – staff care, practice improvement, knowledge and skill development and creating a learning culture. All of this is so we can be in the best place to walk alongside the children, young people, and families we serve.”
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.
Medway’s new 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; in the same way they move in and out of a willingness to engage with services.
Practitioners use restorative approaches and teams are multi-disciplinary, offer flexible hours and work either within communities or from a hub that has been designed to be young person friendly.
The Children in Care Service provides a 0 to 16 years service for children as well as taking any unaccompanied 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
Medway Virtual School
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). More information on the 16+ leaving care team.
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.
We provide specialist services to people living in Medway with substantial and long-term disability.
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 short breaks home for children with a disability which also provides after school activities.
The safeguarding and quality assurance (QA) service provides clear expectations, support, and challenge across all of children’s social care and early help. This enables us to provide the best possible services to children, young people, and families.
We’re committed to understanding what life is like for all the children, young people and families we work with. To help us do that we do an internal assessment of the quality of Medway’s work with families but also actively seek out feedback from children and families. We also work alongside the Medway Safeguarding Children Partnership (MSCP) to help us improve our work with partner organisations and to get their independent assessment on the quality of our work with families.
Principal social work team
Helps create the conditions for good practice to flourish across children’s social care and early help by:
- providing learning and development opportunities
- supporting NQSWs (newly qualified social workers) and students
- developing practice skills and knowledge
- helping create a culture of learning and best practice.
Our team is led by the principal social worker and includes:
- a leadership and management development lead – to provide bespoke and ongoing support to team managers
- a Signs of Safety practice development lead – to help us implement and embed Signs of Safety as our practice model
- advanced practitioners – to support staff one-to-one, and through learning and development activities
- a Signs of Safety project officer.
Local authority designated officer (LADO) team
Oversees and co-ordinates the management of allegations made against professionals who work with children and offers advice and guidance to all Medway organisations that provide a service to children, including the voluntary sector.
Independent reviewing officer (IRO) team
Passionate about building strong relationships with children and young people, the team has high aspirations for them and provides independent oversight of the care they receive. We aim to ensure permanence for our children enabling them to grow up to be the best they can be. Our statutory duties include chairing the child’s review, and ongoing monitoring of the child’s care plan.
Child protection (CP) conferencing chair team
Facilitating child protection conferences, the chair works with families in a strengths-based, non-judgmental way. The chair ensures families know clearly what the worries are and what they need to do to address those worries and best support their children. We are working to embed the Signs of Safety approach into our conferences and to provide independent oversight and scrutiny.
Approach to social work
Rebooted social work academy to focus on strengths and leadership
The Signs of Safety approach in Medway
‘Working with adolescents requires a different skillset and mindset’
Pay & benefits
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 is 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 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