Following our recent Ofsted rating of inadequate in May 2017, we have been working hard to rebuild our Children’s Service at Gloucestershire. Read on to find out more about our story and the improvement journey.
Like other local authorities, Gloucestershire is seeing an increase in demand for our children’s social care services. There has been an increase in the number of children and young people needing our support and we need to make sure they are all safe and supported.
Our children’s services are currently on an improvement journey and since our Ofsted inspection in 2017, we have been dedicated to building the best service we can. We are building a service that ensures all children and young people are safe and get the right support at the right time. We want to make sure that we give children and young people a voice and at GCC, children come first and are the centre of all we do.
We have made a lot of changes and improvements since we were inspected and we are investing more than £16 million in children’s social care over the next two years to enable our Social Care Service to offer the best service possible for our children and families. Take a look at our journey so far.
A message from Chris Spencer, Director of Children’s services
‘Hello, I’m Chris Spencer Director of Children’s Services at Gloucestershire County Council.
I’ve been here since March 2018, having previously been director of Children’s Services at Harrow and Hillingdon councils in London for over 12 years as well as holding a number of interim roles supporting local authorities. Before that I worked as a teacher and an educational psychologist before switching to social work.
The job with Gloucestershire County Council was one that really appealed to me, as I have lived in Cheltenham since 1977 and I have deep roots in the area. I was also attracted to the challenge that this role presented – a large authority, in intervention and working to improve. At this stage in my career I felt it was an exciting opportunity and a big challenge, but one I’ve embraced and look forward to over the coming months.
We are making improvements working closely with the Department for Education and our partners at Essex County Council, and the most recent monitoring report from Ofsted was more positive. However, we know there is still a long way to go in order to reach our aims of being a centre of excellence for children’s services.
To help us do that, we’re looking for motivated, ambitious and skilled social workers to join us on our improvement journey.
We have a large number of agency staff filling vacancies who play an invaluable role in providing support to the children, young people and their families in the county who need us. However, what we would ideally have is a more permanent group of social workers to help us to give continuity of care to those young people over a longer period of time.
We’ve experienced a lot of churn in frontline services, with some children having three or more changes of social worker in twelve months. Meaning the relationship and trust has to be rebuilt every time they meet a new social worker. We all know that this isn’t good for them, or their families and we want to change it for the better.
This is by no means a Gloucestershire specific issue, but it is something that we are working incredibly hard to change and I believe the offer we have in place here is one that will appeal to social workers of all levels.
In return for your commitment, dedication and hard work, you will have access to excellent support and tools to do the job well, including remote access and smart phones allowing you to work outside the office, good supervision and guidance from management, as well as help with decision making and regular feedback on performance. We also offer a competitive salary, training and development opportunities working alongside Oxford Brooks University and other partners who are supporting our improvement journey.
We are a large organisation so there is a lot of scope for career progression and opportunities for excellent social workers who want to make the next step in their careers. We want to be a centre of excellence for social work, and you have the chance to be a part of that journey from being in intervention through to being the gold standard for children’s services in the South West.
Aside from being part of an ambitious service offering support and challenge in equal measure Gloucestershire is a wonderful place to live and work, with excellent schools and stunning landscapes. It is really well connected too, with Birmingham and Bristol close by and London only a couple of hours away.
So get in touch with us at CSWrecruitment@gloucestershire.gov.uk if you are looking for a challenge with real opportunities to be the best social worker you can be.’