Rachel Smith, Head of Service
I started at Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) in the mid 90’s as a residential social worker working with adults with learning disabilities. I moved on to work with children with learning disabilities in the Short Break team but in 2000, I was seconded to complete a social work degree at University.
I have worked in a number of roles in children’s social care since then and although my supervisions have been variable, I have had some great role models who always had faith in me and encouraged me to progress. They really helped boost my confidence and made me feel that I could do it.
I went form being a social worker to a deputy team manager in the Tewkesbury team. I was then promoted to team manager and was moved to Gloucester to manage the Gloucester safeguarding team. I then became a service manager and was promoted in 2017 to head of service for that team.
At GCC, career progression is really important and if like me, you have the drive and potential to progress, you will be supported to do so.
Now I’m a head of service, I know what it’s like to manage social workers but I also know what its like to do the frontline work. Although very rewarding, social work is a difficult and often a thankless task which is why it’s important to me to make sure my staff feel valued and respected. Supervision and support is also really essential to me which is why I operate a ‘door is always open’ policy. I know all my staff and I try my best to give them the support they need and they know that they can come to me if they need extra support.
Gloucestershire is a great place to live and work. It is such a diverse county and really has something for everyone. The great thing about working at GCC is that there are always opportunities to learn and progress. We have a good training programme and the passion and dedication of the staff is incredible. We really do strive for the best and always put children at the centre of all we do.