• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 09.45.19The Chief Social Worker for England, Isabelle Trowler, has praised children’s services in North Yorkshire.

Ms Trowler spoke at a recent conference of North Yorkshire County Council’s children’s service managers and said the service benefited from great leadership and clarity of purpose.  

She said staff showed great commitment, worked well with families and understood the challenges of the county and its large rural hinterland.

She said: “North Yorkshire has shown – through initiatives such as No Wrong Door and its commitment to early help and multiagency working – that it can have a really positive impact on children, families and the wider community. It was not overwhelmed by the problems it faced and through decisive action, strong leadership and good practice it has deservedly been made one of the first Partners in Practice”.

The number of looked after children in North Yorkshire has fallen by 20 per cent and child protection cases by 25 per cent over the 3 years as a result of a transformation in the Children and Young People’s Service which has delivered both savings and innovation to support children and families.

North Yorkshire is a Partner in Practice for the Department for Education, described by The Prime Minister as one of 9 exemplar children’s services which will support and work alongside other authorities to share good practice and develop long-term and sustainable high performance.

Last year North Yorkshire was named social work employer of the year.  Despite the county council’s multi-million pound savings programme it has continued to invest in front line services and new social work teams and roles, including the employment of more senior professionals to support newly qualified staff  

It employs no agency staff and has an experienced workforce, with over 50 per cent of social workers in the county having been qualified for two or more years. Turnover of social work staff in North Yorkshire is 9 % compared to the England average of 16%.  The vacancy rate in North Yorkshire is less than half the national rate.

Last year Ofsted judged North Yorkshire’s children’s services as ‘good’ in every single category and inspectors praised “the commitment to front line services to further improve the delivery.”

This means that children needing additional support or those at most risk in North Yorkshire experience timely and effective multi agency help.

“We were delighted to welcome Isabelle Trowler and that she has recognised and supports our good practice,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children and Families. “Our priority is to give all children and young people the best start in life, to provide them with good or outstanding teaching and learning and to support them and their families as they grow up.  We know there is more to be done but we also know we are making a real impact and have been described by Government as a leading light in the design of services for vulnerable children.”

Case study: Jonny Hoyle, 31 year old North Yorkshire social worker

Jonny Hoyle, who met with Isabelle Trowler on her North Yorkshire visit, is one of the county’s social workers; he was also one of the county’s looked-after children.

Two of his social workers when he was looked after, became his managers when he qualified as a social worker.

He has remained in North Yorkshire to be a child protection social worker because, he says, he wants to put something back for all the support he was given as a looked after child.  He also stays because he feels there is drive and passion in the social work teams to improve outcomes for children and families.

“No case is left to drift here” he said, “my managers know every case in their team and there is a constant drive to work out what the issues are, what families need and how they can be supported in the long term to make their lives better.”

Jonny is also a trustee of the charity “A National Voice”, in his spare time; a charity he founded with his brother to represent the interests of looked-after children and to make sure their voice is heard and can influence policy making.

Up until 2013 he was a member of the All Parliamentary Group for Looked-After Children where he advocated for changes to be made to the care system and was also a member of the Social Work Reform Board which worked to change social work and develop the College of Social Work.

He said: “I get out to see how social work is carried out in other authorities and all I can say is that in this county everything is totally focused on the best outcomes for the child – the way social workers interact with the new prevention service; the way we use new technologies so can spend our time going out and working directly with children and families; the way social workers are supported.

“We have manageable case loads and happy teams built on trust.  The team I am in is brilliant.  Everybody gets on.  Any issues are swiftly dealt with so we can move on.

“I wouldn’t want to change what happened to me, but generally children fare better in life if they are brought up by their own families and here we try to make that happen in a number of ways.  We make wide use of family group conferencing and signs of safety ( a strengths-based and safety-focused approach to child protection work grounded in partnership and collaboration ) to help families come up with their own solutions, building their resilience and ability to do the right thing.

“We face challenges carrying out social work in North Yorkshire due to our geographical size and spread, our large rural areas and pockets of high level deprivation but we achieve highly in spite of these challenges.  I am very pleased that we have been selected by Government to be a Partner in Practice because it’s always good to be recognised as doing a good job and because sharing practice with other authorities has to be the way forward for all of us.”

By admin