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Welcome note from Jo

Welcome to the January edition of CS News and Happy New Year to you all.

I’m sure we all wonder what this year will bring!  The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said “There is nothing permanent except change” which was certainly true last year and looks like being just as relevant this year.  Whatever our role or job, we need to focus on resilience and wellbeing as we continue through these ever evolving times. With any change we must see the possibilities and our new strategies provide a platform for developing and moving forward.  Everyone has done a brilliant job through some challenging periods and I am confident we will continue to do so in 2022.

I am pleased to announce the launch of “Our Way Forward – Plan for Children and Young People 2021-26’ this Monday 17 January.  It sets out our ambitions to improve outcomes for children, young people and families within Hertfordshire and to support them to get their lives back on tract following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The plan is supported by a set of Strategic Priorities that will be updated annually and will make a significant contribution to the achievement of our ambitions for children and young people, as well as the Council’s wider commitment to a greener, cleaner and healthier Hertfordshire. You can read more in this edition.

Our ambition, set out in our new SEND Strategy, is to work alongside parents to coproduce services, and to get the right provision in place. At the heart of our Strategy is a system and culture change to ensure that children with SEND and parents feel supported and able to stay engaged with their SEND case worker. This combined with increased special school provision, as well as increased early help and communication between all those involved in the SEND provision, should lead to more children getting their needs met at right time and in the right place.

With a focus on placing children and families at the heart of everything we do, and as a result of ensuring that we work to include the voices of children, young people and families, I am delighted that a new bee `Be Included’, has been added to the Children’s Services Outcome Bee’s framework. You can find out more about this and the virtual event on 20 January in this edition.

Best wishes

Jo

 

 

 

 

News from the Services

Our Way Forward - Plan for Children and Young People 2021 - 2026

Our Way Forward - Plan for Children and Young People 2021 – 2026 has been approved and is set for launch on Monday 17 January.  It sets out our ambitions to improve outcomes for children, young people and families within Hertfordshire to support them to get their lives back on track following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

It is supported by the Strategic Priorities, which will be updated annually, and will contribute to the achievement of the ambitions outlined within the plan.

If your work impacts children, young people and their families, it is important that you read the strategy and understand how it impacts your work.

The plan was developed with engagements from Children’s Services’ (CS) staff, children, young people and families and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to contribute.

The plan has five ambitions:

  • To meet the needs of Hertfordshire’s children within their local community;
  • To plan, commission and deliver trauma informed services that meet the individual needs of our citizens;
  • To support children and young people get their lives and education back on track;
  • To have a skilled workforce who are proud to work for Hertfordshire;
  • To work in partnership to deliver early help and support to children, young people and families and build life chances.

On Monday the plan will be promoted through our internal and external channels so look out for more information on the intranet where you will be able to view the plan, strategic priorities and our animation of the five ambitions.

Our social media campaign will run from Friday 14 – Monday 24 January. You can follow us on Facebook @hertscountycouncil and Twitter and Instagram @hertscc and please like and share any posts you see to help us raise awareness.  This campaign will link residents to our blog at Hertfordshire County Council | Five-year plan launched to get Hertfordshire’s children and young people back on track after Covid-19 which in turn signposts them to our services for further information.

The Plan and Strategic Priorities should be used to inform service and team planning, which should then inform PMDS targets.  This will ensure that our ambitions are reflected in all the work that we do.  Below is the Golden Thread diagram to show where the Plan fits in to the CS strategic vision.

Key CS strategies can now be found in the Strategy Library on the intranet.  Many of our strategies are also publicly available

The Performance and Development Team supports CS Core Board with strategic planning.  To add a document to the Strategy Library, email P&D.Team@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

SEND Strategy Programme Update

 It was a busy end to 2021 as we hosted an SEN team day in November, led by Sally Glossop, which was attended by 112 colleagues and partners, including representatives from Social Care, HPCI, NHS, DoE and HPCI.  As well as an interactive session exploring how to write better quality Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), Siobhann McKechnie (HPCI) and Sally Glossop (ISL) delivered a talk on the Golden Thread which ensures the child is firmly at the centre of everything we do and captures the essence of the new Be Included outcome in the Outcome Bees. 

 Additionally, at the end of last year we:

  • bought together representatives of key stakeholder groups, including specialist head teachers and parents, to create descriptors of need for the specialist school Banding Descriptors which will also inform admissions guidance for specialist schools
  • established 3 task and finish groups to implement recommendations from the DSPL and LSP review
  • continued to improve families experience of the EHCP process by reducing the backlog of Annual Reviews and helped ISL implement a new system to of contacting their SEN Officers, supported by the Customer Service Centre- you can read more about these changes on our You Said, We Did Local Offer page.

 And now as we welcome in a New Year, we also welcome a new SEND Strategy for Hertfordshire. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in developing the new SEND Strategy.  Now for the fun part: implementing it!

The strategy provides a strong platform for our next local area SEND Inspection by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  If you support children and young people with SEND, it worth familiarising yourself with the current guidance and framework, together with our key messages and Hertfordshire’s Professional Promise, as we prepare together with colleagues in health, education and social care, for this inspection.

Finally, we congratulate Sally Glossop in her new role as County Lead for the Graduated Response to SEND and Mim Kendrick as County Lead for Statutory Assessment and Review, which represent the start of a new structure for the SEN service as we implement the recommendations from the EHCP Pathway Review.

 If you have any questions or want to hear about specific projects we’re working on, please do get in touch: SENDStrategy@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

SEND Improvement and Inspection Preparation

As part of the continuing preparation for a SEND (Special Education Needs and Disability) Ofsted and Care Quality Commission CQC) Inspection in 2022, these slides provide an important update for all staff at all levels who are involved in supporting children with SEND in Hertfordshire. 

You can also access the slides from this new webpage, which will be updated with the latest information about preparing for an SEND inspection in Hertfordshire: Hertfordshire SEND Inspection One-Stop Shop.

 

Pregnant women urged to come forward for COVID-19 vaccination

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has called on all pregnant women to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

There is growing evidence showing that women who are pregnant are at increased risk of serious consequences from COVID-19 and, as a result, they should be considered a clinical risk group within the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Given that the majority of pregnant women who have been admitted to hospital with severe COVID-19 are unvaccinated, the key priority is to increase the number of pregnant women completing their primary course (two vaccine doses eight weeks apart).

Recent data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) adds to the existing international evidence, which has not identified any safety concerns from vaccinating women during pregnancy.

Announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pregnant-women-urged-to-come-forward-for-covid-19-vaccination

We are aware that there remains concern surrounding the safety of vaccinations amongst some pregnant women, and gaps in GP registration.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have produced more information, advice and further resources with regards to COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy and breastfeeding on their website.

Vaccination access:

  • You do NOT need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number, to access a vaccination.  And immigration details are not collected.

GP registration:

 NHS Numbers:

 Please circulate to your teams and networks accordingly.

Maternity Transformational Update - Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP)

 

The Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) is an independent working group of women, birthing people and their families, commissioners and maternity service staff working together to review and develop local maternity care. They meet regularly to share information and updates and to collect feedback from service users around their maternity experiences. Each hospital Trust has an MVP group that they work with to co-produce/improve services.

 There are three MVP groups which work across the Hertfordshire and West Essex Local Maternity and Neonatal System, these are:

Lister MVP – www.facebook.com/groups/westessexmvp

West Essex MVP – www.facebook.com/groups/westessexmvp

West Herts MVP - www.facebook.com/westhertsmvp

We are currently trying to promote the groups to both staff and service users and would be really grateful if you could circulate this information for us.

If you would like any more information, please contact HertsWestEssexLMS@hertfordshire.gov.uk

New fast-track vaccine system for pregnant and breastfeeding women

The JCVI has now placed pregnant women in a priority group for vaccines, following the latest evidence which shows that pregnant women with COVID-19 are experiencing more severe disease as the pandemic progresses, with more of those going to hospital being admitted to intensive care. There are further calls urging people to come forward as soon as possible to get their vaccines.

Babies born to women with COVID-19 are significantly more likely to be premature and to require additional help with breathing after they are born.

In order to make it easier for pregnant and breastfeeding women to take up their vaccinations, a new fast-track system has been implemented at all vaccination centres. By identifying themselves to staff when they arrive, pregnant or breastfeeding women/birthing people and any partner or relative accompanying them can go to the front of the queue.

Attached is a poster to help distribute this message and we would very much appreciate it if you could share this information with staff and service users. 

 

Maternity transformational team updates – service user feedback surveys

The Hertfordshire and West Essex Local Maternity and Neonatal System has produced two surveys to gather the feedback and experience of women/birthing people to help inform service development and improvements. These are ongoing surveys and results will be analysed on a monthly basis.

 

Equality and Equity Black, Asian and Minority Support Survey

This survey will help us with improving services and care for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups within maternity and neonatal services in Hertfordshire and West Essex. The survey link can be found here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/BAMEmaternity/

 

How was your maternity care? survey

This survey gathers feedback of user’s experiences of maternity and neonatal care in Hertfordshire and West Essex. This will help us to develop and improve the service. A link to the survey can be found here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/maternitycare/

 

Young people raise more than £900 for local charities

15 young people raised more than £900 for local charities as part of the Autumn National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, delivered by Services for Young People.

The programme took place over four weeks and included three days based at an activity centre where the 16- and 17-year-olds took part in team building tasks and challenges that helped them develop their communication skills.

A key part of the programme is planning and carrying out a social action project which benefits the local community.

One group chose to support the St Albans and District Foodbank for their social action project after taking part in a workshop led by Herts Young Homeless.

The young people made a plan to make up care packages and donate food, discussing their plans in online meetings, and throughout the week they prepared for in-person meetings on Sunday.  The group contacted charities and local business people. The group made £155 from selling cakes, jewellery and temporary tattoos.  A Go Fund Me page was also set up and, in total, more than £500 was made for the charity.

The other group raised money for local wildlife charity, the Hornbeam Hedgehog Sanctuary based in Harpenden. The group held a bake sale in St Albans market, raising more than £400 for the cause, and used the opportunity to advise visitors to the stall on what they can do over winter to protect wildlife in their gardens.

The young people said:

We all managed to step out of our comfort zones, for me personally while drawing customers to our stall and speaking to individuals passing by handling rejection is at the heart of what we were doing, and being persistent allowed us to be successful, together as a team.” Donny (17) 

“My NCS group has achieved amazing things with our social action project- I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to help the less fortunate and learn the skills I did”. Aayla (16)

Find out more about National Citizen Service (NCS) with Services for Young People

 

The Healthy Start scheme is changing

 

If you support families who claim Healthy Start vouchers and vitamins, please be aware that the scheme is changing.

The NHS Healthy Start Scheme helps low-income families to buy fruit, vegetables, milk, infant formula and pulses. Beneficiaries of the scheme can also get free Healthy Start vitamins for women and children. Families can find out if they are eligible, and make their application, on the NHS Healthy Start website at: How to apply – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

 The scheme is becoming a digital service, offering an online application process and introducing a prepaid payment card. This digital service is replacing the paper application forms and paper vouchers.

Beneficiaries will therefore no longer receive paper vouchers, instead they will have a payment card, which will be topped up automatically each month. This can be used with retailers who accept Mastercard.

Families who usually receive paper vouchers will receive a letter asking them to apply for a digital payment card to replace their vouchers. They must do this online (rather than filling out the old paper application form) before the end of March 2022, to continue to get their benefit.

New beneficiaries can also apply for a payment card online.

No more paper vouchers will be issued after March 2022, although any old ones can still be accepted until the expiry date.

How can you help?

If you are currently dispensing Healthy Start Vitamins, you may be shown the payment card instead of the vouchers. You can accept this or the paper vouchers to prove eligibility. You do not need to do anything with the card, it is just used as proof of eligibility.

To help families, we would be grateful if you could:

 - help them apply online for the new payment card before March 2022

- make sure all staff are aware of the change and know to accept the payment card

- publicise the change to families through your channels and newsletters

- if you hear of any issues with the new system, please contact zoe.armstrong@hertfordshire.gov.uk and these can be fed back to the NHS.

Families can apply on the NHS Healthy Start website at: How to apply – Get help to buy food and milk (Healthy Start)

A publicity toolkit and further information is available at: NHS Business Services News (nhsbsa.nhs.uk)

 

Domestic abuse victims in England and Wales to be given more time to report assaults

The Government has announced (4 January) that new measures targeted directly at keeping women and girls safer will be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

There will an increase in time for victims of domestic abuse to report assaults to the police, and a new breastfeeding voyeurism offence. 

Domestic abuse victims in England and Wales to be given more time to report assaults - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

Please circulate to your teams and across your networks accordingly.

 

Relationship support available for parents – The Parenting Together Programme

This is FREE support available for parents living in or accessing services within Hertfordshire. If you are working with a family who is experiencing high levels of unresolved conflict in their co-parenting relationship, this could be a great programme for them to access and improve outcomes for themselves and their children.

We are keen to receive referrals as soon as you identify a parental need. This is so that we can process the referral and get parents participating in an intervention before the current Parenting Together programme closes in March 2022. The last date we can accept referrals is 16th March 2022. Referrals sent to us in March will receive the relevant intervention and will progress as normal until their completion beyond March.

All details can be found on our website here including how to contact us with any questions you may have.

Email: Parentingtogether@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

Family Centre Parent Cafes

The Hertfordshire Family Centre Service are running parent cafes to support families to increase their peer support network and improve parental feelings of loneliness and isolation due to Covid-19.

These drop in sessions will help families meet other local families with children the same age and enjoy refreshments in a relaxed environment, as well as a give families a chance to chat to Family Support staff about the benefits of the Family Centre Service and find out what's on.

You can find more information on the Parent Cafes and Family Centres here.

ASD and ADHD support for parents

Early Help Commissioning have commissioned 6 week courses which focus on ASD or ADHD and provide parents with strategies with managing related behaviours, as well as shorter workshops, between 1-2hrs, on a variety of different topics to support parents when a particular issue comes up, enabling them to ‘dip in and out’ for support when necessary.

Both ASD/ADHD courses and workshops are fully funded.  Parents can self-refer and do not need a formal diagnosis of ASD/ADHD. You can find more information on these courses and workshops at Find courses and things to do (hertfordshire.gov.uk) or please email EHCommissioning@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Discover new skills, uncover new opportunities!

 

Step2Skills is here to offer Hertfordshire families and adults opportunities to learn and upskill.

From Arts & Crafts, to Wellbeing; Digital Skills to Employability; Beginner level to Qualification level; our team of teachers provide quality teaching in a variety of formats. Our course fees are low to ensure that we provide to ALL residents and we can waiver course fees in exceptional circumstances (please call us on 01992 556194 to discuss this).

We work with a network of partner organisations across Hertfordshire to run Step2Skills-funded courses.

Meanwhile, we deliver programmes to help Hertfordshire residents gain and stay in paid employment and we strive to ensure that EVERYONE can 'prepare to succeed in Herts'.

We look forward to meeting you in 2022!

The team at Step2Skills

What's going on at Step2Skills this month?

  • Our all-new qualification in Employability Skills is a great way to make your CV stand out from the pile
  • Our teachers will give you a helping hand to access our online learning Apps via our 2 session ‘Getting to Grips with Google’ workshops, including an evening option
  • If you're worried about choosing between 'heating or eating', the FREE Family Fortunes budgeting course may help you adjust your spending
  • Looking for ESOL? Is English a second language for you? We offer a range of courses that are run by our team of ESOL teachers. We also work with a network of partners in Hertfordshire to provide ESOL opportunities so please email us if you would like more information.               
  • Need to gain a qualification in English or maths? We don't advertise each individual English or maths course starting over the next few weeks. It's important to ensure that we book you onto the right level of course to ensure that you feel comfortable with the material being taught.

Once you complete the initial application which will check you're eligible to join a course with Step2Skills (e.g. you live in Hertfordshire etc.), we'll then contact you and ask you to complete an assessment. This can be done online or face-to-face. We'll ask you about any additional learning needs you have and from there, offer you a place on the courses most suited to you.

  • Been out of work for a while? Losing your confidence on your job search? Our Building Better Opportunities project is here for you and the application system is always open for new participants so if you’re unemployed and would love the support of a mentor to help you back into employment, visit our website to apply today!

Financial Health for Families

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has made their book, What You Need to Know; Financial Health for Families, available online in a free, easy-to-access flipbook format. The book covers benefits for families, childcare costs, child maintenance and other financial support for families. You can access the flipbook  here.

 

Welcome to the latest CAMHS newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of  Hertfordshire CAMHS System newsletter which we hope you will enjoy reading.

It has lots of interactive features, making it easier for you to ask questions, share your views, like articles, watch short videos and answer quick polls. December’s edition includes contributions from the Mental Health Support Teams in Schools and HPFT’s CAMHS DBT services, as well as updates on the plans for Hertfordshire’s Wellbeing for Education Recovery grant funding and how the CAMHS system is going to tackle its workforce challenges together. There is also a report on last month’s professionals conference: “Supporting a Changing Landscape”, details of an exciting new Mental Health SEND Lead vacancy and lots more, so please take a look and let us know what you think.

If you have any feedback and/or any articles you would like to be included in future editions, please contact Lisa Gazeley (CAMHS Comms & Engagement Manager) E: lisa.gazeley@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

Families First News

December 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Families First News

Welcome to our latest newsletter

The latest news

Hertfordshire children set to have a HAPpy winter!

Fit, Fed & Read this winter school holiday

Young People's Survey 2021

Healthier Together - chance for YP to be part of a focus group

The free Hertfordshire ’50 Things To Do Before You’re Five’ app

Parenting Together Programme continues to offer support

Grants and Funding

Learning & development

Brook Traffic Light Tool Training

Suicide Intervention training - January 2022

Forthcoming Step 2 Skills Courses

HSCP Learning & Development Programme

Spot the Signs & Emotional Wellbeing - training for professionals

Workforce development

Difference we're making

Families First - Performance Data Report

Local area news

East Herts, Broxbourne & Welwyn

Dacorum & St Albans

Watford, Three Rivers & Hertsmere

North Herts & Stevenage

Link to the issue View the issue

Corporate News

What’s changing at Farnham House?

In case you missed it, watch our animation to see what’s changing over at Farnham House in Stevenage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKOf0YgOX4k

 The animation showcases the changes we have made to the site, alongside essential mechanical works, to support new ways of working, make the building more sustainable, and maximise accessibility.

Access to PCR testing for health and social care workers in Hertfordshire

If you are a health and social care worker and require a PCR test, either before you can return to work or if you are symptomatic, there are a number of ways you can get a test:

  • The easiest way is to order one online and carry out a PCR test at home
  • If you can’t do this, please book an appointment at a local test centre
  • If no home tests or appointments are available, you can try to get a walk-in appointment at the locations listed below run by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Frontline health and social care workers will be prioritised for walk-in appointments on presentation of their staff ID card or other proof of key worker status. Please note that whilst test site staff will try to facilitate walk-in appointments, this may not always be possible - there might be a waiting time or limited access to tests even for priority staff.  

The walk-in/drive through centres are open 8am–6pm, 7 days a week and located at:

  • Borehamwood Civic Centre, WD6 1JT
  • Westminster Lodge Car Park, St Albans, AL1 2DJ
  • Primett Road Car Park, Stevenage, SG1 3DT
  • King George V Park, Watford, WD18 9QD
  • University of Hertfordshire De Havilland Campus Car Park, Hatfield, AL10 9QD.

Please note that these sites offer on-site PCR tests only; staff will not be able to collect LFD home test kits from these sites.

Learning & Development

Do you work with parents of young children in Hertfordshire?

Do you work with parents of young children in Hertfordshire?

You can now book onto upcoming My Baby’s Brain (MBB) training. MBB introduces practitioners, who work with children aged 0-3, to the key principals of neuroscience and how they can help parents, children and babies form strong attachments that will encourage healthy development.

My Baby’s Brain has been running in Hertfordshire since 2011. In that time, the challenges that families face have evolved, particularly because of the current pandemic. To ensure parents continue to be supported at the earliest opportunity, Early Help Commissioning have worked with partners KCA to refresh My Baby’s Brain training to allow for a greater depth of learning for professionals with additional focus on resilience and managing toxic stress. 

Now online, this training is a 3-stage learning programme combining webinars, e-learning and small group tutorials. 

Choose your learning strand A or B and click on the relevant link below to register:

Strand AMy Baby’s Brain Universal: for all professionals working with young families 0-3 years old.

  1. Tuesday 22nd February at 10am (90 mins) - Webinar
  2. Tuesday 29th March at 10am (90 mins) - Webinar
  3. Tuesday 19th or Thursday 28th April at 10am (90 mins) - Tutorial

Strand A registration link

 

Strand BMy Baby’s Brain Targeted: for all professionals working with vulnerable and targeted families.

  1. Tuesday 22nd February at 10am (90 mins) - Webinar
  2. Wednesday 30th March at 10am (90 mins) - Webinar
  3. Wednesday 20th or Tuesday 26th April at 10am (90 mins) - Tutorial

Strand B registration link

For more information and helpful resources, please see My baby's brain | Hertfordshire County Council. You can also find details on our MBB programme.

 

Diversity & Inclusion

Be Included Launch Event

An additional ‘Bee’ has been added to the Children’s Services Outcome Bee’s framework – Be Included.

With a focus on placing children and families at the heart of everything we do, and as a result of ensuring that we work to include the voices of children, young people and families (CYP&F), a new bee ‘Be Included’, has been added to our outcome bees.

The Be Included workstream, which forms part of the CS D&I Board, has worked to ensure that Children and Young people and their families have been consulted with, to find out what it means to them to ‘Be Included’, and from this have created the outcome areas.

To launch Be Included, we will be carrying out a virtual event on Thursday 20 January 2022 at 10:00am-11:30am.

The launch will go into further detail around the outcome areas and measures of the new outcome bee, as well as showing some case studies of good practice.

If you would like to attend the event, please contact the CSDiversityandInclusion@hertfordshire.gov.uk mailbox.

If you have any further queries, please contact the CS D&I mailbox.

Diversity and Inclusion Update – January 2022

Diversity and Inclusion Update – January 2022

Your Feedback
It is important to continue to engage and work together with colleagues in Children’s Services to understand the needs of the service. At the last Manager’s Forum in November, we asked Manager’s, ‘what more can be done to embed Diversity & Inclusion within Children’s Services’. A summary of the responses is below:

 

 

 

So, what are we doing?
To highlight a few of the theme outlined in the word cloud, here are some of the things we are doing.

As a CS D&I Board, and a service, we will continue to work towards our Corporate and Departmental D&I goals to ensure we work towards shifting the service becoming more inclusive.

Diversity & Inclusion is everyone’s responsibility, and it needs to be at the heart of all that we do to be truly embedded in CS. As an individual, and a CS colleague, take some time to have a think about what more you can do to make a difference.

 

Other D&I Updates

Throughout January, please look out for Corporate communications on other awareness events which HCC will be raising, ways to get involved and signposting to resource and support. Some of the events (not limited to) include:

 

4 January - Braille Day

World Braille Day celebrates the importance of Braille as a vital form of communication and accessibility for people who are blind, deafblind or who are visually impaired. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of Braille, and the issues impacting individuals with sensory loss within society and promoting inclusion and equal opportunity.

 

16 January – World Religion Day

World Religion Day is celebrated every January on the third Sunday of the month. Its aim is to promote understanding and peace between all religions, encouraging people to learn about other faiths and their followers.

27 January - Holocaust Memorial Day
Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.

Please let us know if you would like to raise awareness around a specific event in future articles.

 If you would like to get involved with D&I activity within Children’s Services, share your suggestions or a personal story as a case study with wider CS colleagues, please contact the CSDiversityandInclusion@hertfordshire.gov.uk mailbox.

 

Congratulations & Compliments

Carmella Osgood - You are a star!

Congratulations to Carmella Osgood, a senior practitioner in fostering north, who win's this month's `You are a star' award.

Ana Caldararu nominated Carmella and said:

" I nominate her for her overall contribution to the team and her helpful attitude to colleagues and work. Carmella’s approach inspires respect within our team for being supportive, knowledgeable and solution focused. Her absolute commitment is to achieve the best outcomes for children and foster carers she supports. Carmella is highly professional, makes suggestions for improvement and is open minded to new ways of working. She is a team worker who supported the team on a regular basis and during difficult times.

" At a service level she ensures delivery of high-quality service, ensuring appropriate support and advice is given and foster carers are supported going above and beyond when needed."

Citizen focused - Carmella practice is about developing a culture where the needs and priorities of the foster carers are understood and taken into account. She is part of the focused group looking at ways to support foster carers with IT.

Every penny counts - Carmella ensures accurate payments are made to her carers and is able to support and challenge foster carer so that the needs of the children are met.

Integrity – Carmella supports the most vulnerable children by offering their foster carer a secure base; this means that she is consistent and reliable in her day-to-day work; all her foster carers are visited and supported on a regular basis.

Getting it right - Carmella strives to achieve best outcome for children and ensures to adhere to the current regulations and procedures; I found Carmella to be willing to learn and develop her knowledge of procedures and legislation.

Innovation – recently Carmella established a support group for all the carers she supervises to ensure that they know each and develop a extended family network. This group meets on a monthly basis and have grown to support each other."

Well done Carmella.

Adrian Bentley - You are a star!

Well done to Adrian Bentley who is this month's `You are a star'

Adrian is a Planning Assistant within the School Planning Team specialising in mapping, data analysis and statutory processes for school alternations.

Adrian was nominated by Kate Ma and Gary Grant who said: "Adrian has played a key part in supporting the work of the team in the County Council’s recent statutory consultations on two school reorganisation proposals. He has worked to produce an extensive amount of data to support the proposals, ensuring all the necessary documentation is in place and accurate and that colleagues in the various parts of the organisation who have a role to play are informed and kept up to date. He has gone the extra mile in recognising the sensitivity of the proposals, reflecting that in his work both in terms of the quality of his output and the priority he has given in the context of challenging workload pressures and the care with which he has engaged with key stakeholders including the Head Teachers and Governors of the schools concerned. 

 Adrian has added value to the process, critically evaluating documents, action plans and timetables and providing helpful input to ensure quality outcomes and has demonstrated a high quality of work, professionalism and perseverance whilst managing the challenges of remote working."

 Every penny counts

Adrian’s work acts as a vital pre-cursor to much of the strategic work carried out in School Planning. He strives to find improvements where possible. He always demands the best of himself in all that he does.

 Integrity

Adrian is always balanced in his views and considers and reflects when part of a debate. He values those around him and is empathetic to the fact that people work differently and with competing priorities.

 Getting it right

Acknowledging that some of the work is repetitive, complacency might be a risk. It is all the more remarkable, therefore, that Adrian’s work is almost always flawless. He takes time to ensure that the work he produces fits the needs of his customers and is open and frank when negotiating timescales.

 Well done Adrian. You are a Star!

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