Four leaders of North Yorkshire’s children’s services have been honoured by the Queen this year.
Pete Dwyer, who recently retired as Corporate Director of the county council’s Children and Young People’s service, has been made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his contribution to children’s social work
Luke Rodgers, one of the county’s former looked-after children and founder of Foster Focus, has been made a Medallist for his contribution to children and family services.
Their awards come on top of OBEs given to two managers from the county’s children’s service, Judith Hay and Martin Kelly, in this year’s New Year Honours.
Pete Dwyer oversaw a transformation of children’s social care services in North Yorkshire so that it is now recognised as one of the top social work services in the country, excelling in practice.
Highly targeted, consistent and effective support means that the number of looked-after children has fallen by 20 per cent in North Yorkshire in the last five years and more children are supported to live safely at home. And while the majority of councils are overspending significantly on children’s services, North Yorkshire has brought about £6m in savings in children’s services through ground-breaking and efficient and effective practice.
For these reasons North Yorkshire is one of 15 exemplar children’s services to become a Partner in Practice for the Department for Education. The Council is now working alongside other authorities to share good practice and develop long-term and sustainable high performance.
“The safeguarding and improvement of services for vulnerable children and young people is our top priority and we have developed a national reputation for effective, efficient and ground-breaking practice,” said Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire’s Chief Executive.
“We are very proud of the people who work with us to lead these services and we must congratulate Pete Dwyer for his CBE for long and exceptional service, leading with great purpose, foresight and by example.
“As one of our former looked-after children Luke has also done much to work with us to shape our services.”
England’s chief social worker, Isabelle Trowler, has said that North Yorkshire stands out for its “passion, determination and focus in the support of vulnerable children, young people and their families”.
Prevention teams provide highly targeted, consistent and effective support on the ground at times when families are most in need, be it early mornings, evenings or weekends, to stop problems escalating. This model has been praised as “visionary” by Louise Casey, the former Troubled Families tsar, who has visited North Yorkshire on a number of occasions and launched its prevention service.
County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service said: “We wish to congratulate Pete Dwyer and Luke Rodgers for their place in the Birthday Honour’s list and we are extremely proud that their Honours awards follow the awards of two of our children’s service managers in the New Year.
Judith Hay, retired assistant director for children and families and Martin Kelly, head of children and young people’s resources who has now replaced Judith as assistant director, were honoured in the New Year list for their key role in developing services recognised nationally “as a leading light in the design of services for vulnerable children.”
Martin Kelly played a leading role in the development of North Yorkshire’s No Wrong Door service which has been rated outstanding by Ofsted and has attracted the interest of nearly 40 other councils.
No Wrong Door replaces traditional council-run care homes with hubs which combine residential care with fostering along with on-site support from clinical psychologists who act as life coaches, speech and language therapists and a supportive police role.
The service is proving highly effective in breaking the traditional cycle of young people who enter the care system and who go on to engage in offending and high risk-taking behaviour.