Meet our colleagues
Our colleagues share why they love working for Gloucestershire Children's Services
A bit about me
My role involves working closely with my Head of Service overseeing the service for children in care under the age of 11, fostering and the county wide team supporting family time. I’ve always been a child’s Social Worker and I love the fact that even though I am not seeing children and young people on a daily basis, my focus continues to be on ensuring that all children and young people in care receive the support they need to have the best possible experience and understand their stories.
A great place to live and work
Gloucestershire is a great place to live and work and GCC as an organisation has been supportive of me throughout my career. The Social Work Academy training and support offer for Social Workers throughout their careers means there is a career progression pathway for all, whether you are thinking of developing your own direct work practice, helping to develop others or moving into a management role.
Excellent support and training opportunities
I receive regular monthly supervision with my Line Manager and we also have more informal check-ins online or face to face; this has been a particularly useful way of keeping in touch during remote working and will continue as more agile working practices are being adopted.
I have full access to training opportunities through our Social Work Academy and have also participated in recognised external Leadership and Management courses to support my career progression. My Line Managers over the years have consistently supported my career aspirations and encouraged me to gain the relevant qualifications (and GCC has funded them).
Supportive, like-minded colleagues passionate about getting things right for children
Throughout my career, I have worked with supportive, like-minded colleagues who really do want a make a difference for the children and families we work with. In my experience, team colleagues and carers are passionate about getting things right for children and young people and want to help to effect change.
GCC has provided all workers with the tools to enable us to work both at home and in the office and this really does make a difference your work / life balance. Having the ability to work remotely also reduces impact on the environment and there are several new initiatives that have been rolled out to help us all reduce our carbon foot print.
A beautiful, diverse county
Gloucestershire has been my home for all of my life and it is a beautiful, diverse county to live in. There’s the Cotswold countryside and the Forest of Dean, thousands of years of history to explore but also close travel links to the coast and larger cities nearby. It’s a proud sporting county too with Gloucester Rugby, Cheltenham Town FC and the Cheltenham Racecourse hosting visitors from all over the world.
I qualified as a Social Worker 15 years ago and spent the first few years of my career working as a children’s Social Worker in another county local authority; this helped me to consolidate my learning after leaving university and find out how different local authorities function.
I returned to GCC as a Social Worker for children who had a plan of adoption or long-term fostering. I thoroughly enjoyed having a long-term working relationship with children, their families and carers and valued the positive impact I could have. I was given the opportunity to progress in various roles within the team and eventually became a Team Manager within the Permanence Service.
Three years ago I successfully applied for my current role as Service Manager for Permanence, so I now work closely with the whole of the Fostering Service, our Under 11s Children’s Permanence teams and the county wide team supervising family time. Part of my role is to assist the Head of Service and wider management team in progressing service change and that is a part of my job that I really enjoy. We actively encourage feedback from children, young people, their families and carers and consider changing / adapting services or processes as a result.
Flexible working supports work / life balance
Since joining GCC as a Social Worker, I have always had the tools to work remotely when needed, but since the start of the COVID pandemic, this capability has been rolled out across the whole of the council. It has changed the way we all work and there are certainly some benefits of going forward with the best aspects of this type of working. There have been some time-saving advantages that we’ve all been able to use such as virtual meetings, not travelling miles across the county, being able to base yourself in a local office, etc. and I don’t miss sitting in traffic during morning / evening commutes!
There is support for everyone to work flexibly, whether that is looking at how your working hours can be scheduled differently within the working week or compressed and this was especially valuable during lockdowns whilst working with children at home. As GCC employees we also have access to wide range of other benefits, discounts, car buying schemes and health and wellbeing support; this has been crucial for many throughout the pandemic.
Making a difference for children and young people is rewarding
It can sound cliched but I always wanted to make a difference for children and young people who weren’t necessarily given the opportunities they truly deserved. Experiencing life in the care system is hard for any child or young person and I continually want to make that experience a little easier. There are times when difficult decisions need to be made, but I believe that GCC encourages workers and managers to keep children and young people at the centre of decision making in order to make those positive changes.
Our drive to recruit more local foster carers for local children and young people has moved at a pace over recent years and it is encouraging to know that GCC is prioritising this need over coming years. Our foster carers provide such a valuable service to the children they care for and it is my aim to make sure that we continue to build on and develop our great resource.
I love my job and know my contribution is valued
GCC has presented me with the opportunity to progress my career as I have wanted to. I have felt supported by my colleagues and managers to progress to the next step and I know my contribution is valued. I love my job and I work with some really great colleagues who all strive to make a difference for children and young people.