Children's Services news

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Welcome note from Jenny

Jenny Coles

Welcome to the July edition of CS News

Firstly, I must congratulate Jo Fisher on being appointed as the new Director of Children’s Services.  As many of you know Jo joined us in January 2019 from Luton Borough Council where she was the Service Director (prevention and early intervention).  Jo and I will be working closely together over the next six weeks to ensure a smooth transfer ready for when she officially starts her new role in September.

 Thank you to everyone that joined in the CS road shows, it was good to see so many people attending.  The recordings have now been uploaded to the Course: Staff Engagement Hub (learningpool.com) for those of you who were unable to join.

 I attended the CS Diversity and Inclusion Board (CS D&I) recently and I’m delighted to see the great progress that is being made.  We have also been working with our ACS colleagues as part of a national scheme - ACS joins the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES).  You can read more about the CS D&I Board in this edition and the services it provides and how you can get involved.

You may have already heard that the new Garden of Reflection at County Hall opened on 21 June. It really is a beautiful and quiet area situated behind the council chamber and is well worth a visit if you get a chance.

And last by not least, it’s always good to report that we have had a positive Annual Conversation Meeting with Ofsted, more is featured in this edition along with our Good to Great internet pages

Sadly, this maybe my last CS News as we do not always have an edition in August due to holidays. Therefore, I want to say what an absolute pleasure and privilege it has been to work with you all in CS.  Everyone’s focus on improving outcomes for children, young people and families is an inspiration and over the last year has been truly outstanding.

Thank you!

Wishing you all the very best

 Jenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Spotlight

Intensive Steppers Running Club in `Race for life'

Stevenage and North Herts IFST team have set up a running club and will be taking part in the `Race for life' event in September to raise money for Cancer Research.

‘Following a year of isolations, separations and disconnections, we as a team have found joy in running, walking and jogging together once a week, creating the Intensive Steppers Running Club. With differing aims and abilities, we have supported each other to build on both our physical and emotional wellbeing and leave every week with a sweaty group selfie and a huge smile on our faces. It has also created a new catch phrase for the team… ‘Don’t forget your kit!’.

Like everyone these days, cancer is a prominent and ongoing feature in many of our lives and has touched us all, both personally and with the families we support through our work. We have decided to complete this race for life to raise money to support the vital research and support for cancer sufferers and their families.

It has been a challenging year for everyone, but within our team it has shown our strength and compassion for one another. We remain, as we have always described ourselves, a family. As a family we plan to take on this challenge, smiling throughout.’

If you would like to support the Intensive Steppers Running club please look at their team fundraising rage https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/intensive-steppers 

Every donation is appreciated and means a lot. 

News from the Services

New Director of Children’s Services

Jo Fisher has been appointed as the new Director of Children’s Services and will take up the role in September.  Jo is currently the Operations Director – Services for Young People at Hertfordshire County Council. Jo’s recent experience includes positions within Luton Borough Council where she was the Service Director (prevention and Early Intervention).  Jo’s early career was spent in a variety of roles within Action for Children, Tower Hamlets PCT and Newham Social Services.

Councillor Richard Roberts, Leader of the Council said: “We are delighted that Jo Fisher will be our new Director of Children’s Services. Jo brings a wealth of experience to the role, and will continue our clear commitment to supporting children, young people and families across Hertfordshire to ensure they have the very best start in life. Children’s social care services play a key role in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, and I have no doubt that Jo’s leadership will help us take important steps forward in this crucial work.”

Congratulations Jo. 

Good to Great......Children's Services is always improving

This year has been tough for everyone and we have all worked hard to adapt and deliver our services during the pandemic. Even though it may still feel difficult for many of us, our data is showing really strong performance across the department, so we can all feel really proud of this.

Hertfordshire had its ‘Annual Conversation with Ofsted on the 16th June and we received some really positive feedback on our performance from them too.  Ofsted told us that they have now moved away from conducting interim Covid focussed visits and are back to their usual schedule. This means that Hertfordshire is likely to receive a Focussed Visit next time they visit us, and we are well prepared for this thanks to our commitment to continuous improvement.  

Continuous improvement is in our DNA in Hertfordshire Children’s Services and so we will keep going, even though these continue to be challenging times. We are always looking for new ways to improve so we can help children, young people and families when they need us most. Thank you for being part of this.

Take a look at our Good to Great intranet pages to remind yourself of our continuous improvement journey and what we have achieved this year. You can also find the latest Ofsted guidance here, it can be useful to remind yourself of what will happen during an Ofsted inspection and the resources available to help you to prepare.

Thinking and acting Beyond Today – our new approach to managing change

(Senior leaders have been sharing how they are thinking and acting Beyond Today, including Janet Jones, Head of Service – Assessment)

We’ve recently launched Beyond Today - our new approach to how we manage, deliver and talk about our change programmes and related priorities at the council.

To respond to the pace of change that we face as an organisation, we need to make changes to how we operate and how we deliver our services to ensure that Hertfordshire continues to be the county of opportunity for all, now, and for years to come.

Beyond Today brings together our most significant change programmes from across the council and organises them into two main categories:

  • Future Services projects are about improving the quality and delivery of our services.
  • Future Working projects are about changing the way we work to enable us to move with the times and perform at our best.
  •  

You can learn more about the different change programmes within these two areas by visiting the Beyond Today intranet pages.

Beyond Today and Children’s Services
Different change programmes will affect each of us in different ways.

Within Children’s Services, there are currently two Future Services change programmes: SEND Strategy and Children Looked After Placement Strategy.

Future Working projects are likely to affect all our working experiences and approaches in some way. They include programmes such as Future Workforce, which aims to modernise and improve our employment offer, including our pay models and terms and conditions.

Find out more

Across the council, managers have been encouraged to start conversations about how the work of teams and services connects to Beyond Today and these change priorities.

 You may also find the following resources useful:

 

 

 

 

 

CS Diversity & Inclusion Board Update

The Children’s Services Diversity & Inclusion Board (CS D&I Board) supports Children’s Services (CS) to achieve Diversity & Inclusion within its workforce and the services it provides.  

This month we have been focusing on our expectations, attending various meetings to agree a ‘…proactive approach to embrace diversity within teams to support a culture change within Children’s Services’. In the next few months, CS will focus on:

  • Proactive recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce
  • Proactively creating formal, informal development opportunities, coaching and mentoring for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority staff, women and those with protected characteristics
  • Championing a culture of inclusive conversations and storytelling in teams

 There are currently five workstreams focused on implementing HCC’s Workforce Diversity & Inclusion Strategy. You can find out more about priority actions here.

The ‘Be Included’ workstream have been working with young people and families to develop child level outcomes for the new Bee to be included in our Outcomes Framework. These outcomes will be shared as part of the launch of the updated Outcomes Framework later in the year.

HCC recently published the Communities, Service Users and Partnerships Diversity & Inclusion Strategy. The Board are developing an action plan in response to this strategy. To promote diversity and inclusion in all our services we will require input from staff across the department. To get involved please contact Jennifer.Allen@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

HCC have also recently published the Third Party Harassment and Abuse Policy, which aims to address employee harassment and about coming from people outside of the council.

All CS staff are invited to complete our diversity and inclusion staff survey as part of the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) for social care in CS and ACS. Look out for emails with more information.

 

 

Make a date to complete diversity and inclusion staff survey on 7 July

Everyone in Children’s Services and Adult Care Services is invited to take a few minutes on Wednesday 7 July to fill in our diversity and inclusion staff survey.

We want to hear your views and experiences of the workplace so that we can create a more inclusive environment for our diverse social care workforce.

Keep an eye out for a diary reminder to complete the survey on Wednesday 7 July. If you are unable to join the day of action, please fill in the survey by the deadline of 5pm on 16 July.

You can complete the survey here.

Jenny Coles, Chair of the HCC Diversity & Inclusion Board, says “Diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. By better understanding more about individual’s experiences we can make sure it is at the heart of everything we do.”

Raj Chibber, Chair of the Children’s Services Diversity & Inclusion Board, says “this survey will help us understand your experiences better and take steps to address any challenges; it is therefore vital that as many as possible take time to complete the survey”

Social care prides itself on promoting equality, inclusion and human rights, but there is still work to be done and room to improve the workplace.

Our data shows that people from a minority ethnic background are more likely to have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse in the workplace or from people who use services, their relatives or members of the public. They also feel there is a lack of equal opportunities and career progression.

We are committed to enable change, celebrate diversity, be advocates for truth and take collective responsibility to make the workplace more inclusive. By listening to the experiences of our staff and analysing data we can understand the challenges and take action to achieve meaningful and sustainable change to become a more inclusive and anti-racist organisation.

This will benefit all staff and the people who use social care and communities. The moral and business cases for diversity and inclusion at work are compelling; equal access to, and opportunity at work is the right thing to do for individuals and society and makes sense for organisational effectiveness, care and safety.

The diversity and inclusion staff survey is part of our work to implement the Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) for social care in CS and ACS. The WRES involves collecting and analysing data and personal experiences to help us better understand the reality of working in social care for minority ethnic employees.

The WRES will highlight differences in workplace experiences between white and minority ethnic staff and help us track the impact of the diversity and inclusion work being implemented as part of our CS Diversity & Inclusion Plan​​.

Further reading on CS D&I and WRES:

Promoting the education of children with a social worker - September 2021

From September 2021 the Role of the Virtual School Head is to be extended to have ‘oversight of the education of all children in need of a social worker’.  This will be a strategic role and will not involve working with families or tracking individual children.

The  Hertfordshire Virtual School will work with schools, other education providers and with social care leaders and workers to create a culture of collaboration and high aspiration so children with a social worker will make the most benefit from their education and  greater progress than they do currently. This will build on Hertfordshire Virtual School’s statutory work which has improved outcomes for Children Looked After and Care Leavers, and build on our offer for Previously Looked After Children.

Why:

The Government’s Children in Need review recognised the crucial role that Virtual School Heads have in helping education settings and local authorities work together, and made a commitment to explore the capacity needed to extend their leadership to the cohort of children and young people with a social worker.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected all children and for many of the most vulnerable has increased barriers to education. It is essential that the cohort of children with a social worker are supported to recover from the pandemic.

Who are Children with a Social Worker?

This cohort has been identified as a group of children who face significant barriers to education as a result of experiences of adversity and trauma, most commonly abuse and neglect.

This means that all children who are subject to a Child in Need plan or a Child Protection plan meet this definition. This includes children aged from 0 up to 18 in all education settings.

Three will be launch events in September to coincide with the implementation of this new duty.  For more information, please go to the Virtual School website:  www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/virtualschool

 

 

What’s next for an 18+ year old college leaver with disabilities? Enter Work Solutions

As the summer term comes to an end, many students will be at the end of their college courses and wondering what’s next for them, particularly if they have a learning, physical or sensory disability, including autism.

If the student has expressed an interest to undertake paid employment and has been assessed as having 2 or more support needs as identified under the Care Act (one of these needs can be employment support), then referrals to the Work Solutions programme can be accepted from any Adult Care Services team or the 0-25 team.

Work Solutions now forms part of the services and programmes offered by the Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service.

 Take Michael* as an example referral. Michael was referred to the Work Solutions team by the Adult Disability Team just before he was due to leave college.  An initial conversation to decide whether our service was suitable and whether Michael met our eligibility criteria took place.  A referral form was sent to the Social Worker for completion prior to an assessment being held.  Michael was keen to work in retail and already undertook voluntary work in a Charity Shop.   The next step was to arrange a work taster in a retail environment which we were able to do in Morrisons.  This was very successful, both for Michael to develop his skills and experience, and for Morrisons to see if they would like to employ him on a permanent basis. Michael did so well that he was offered a paid position.

(*Michael is a pseudonym)

Work Solutions can accept referrals from any Adult Care Services (ACS) staff, mainly Adult Disability Services and 0-25 Team, so please do get in contact with us if the prospective client meets the following criteria: 

  • Aged 18+
  • Care Act Eligible
  • With any disability, including autism, provided the primary need is NOT a Mental Health issue – in which case they should be referred to HPFT.

Work Solutions will accept referrals from Adult Disability Services (ADS) or 0-25 team where the clients have been assessed as having 2 or more support needs as identified under the Care Act.   One of the support needs identified during the Care Act assessment can be employment support.

To find out more about Work Solutions, please visit our website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/HAFLS

To speak to someone to discuss eligibility, please find contact details below;

 

Work Solutions

2nd Floor

Farnham House

Six Hills Way

Stevenage

Herts

SG1 2FQ

Tel: 01438 844911

Fax: 01438  844912

email: worksolutionseast@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

 

 

Work Solutions

Apsley Campus

Brindley Way

Hemel Hempstead

Herts

HP3 9BF

Tel: 01442 454464

Fax: 01442 454488

email: worksolutionswest@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

 

Would you like help to Build Better Opportunities for young Hertfordshire residents, aged 15 to 19?

The Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme is Hertfordshire’s best kept secret. We aim to tackle the root causes of poverty and unemployment, such as physical or mental health issues, homelessness, addiction and much more.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund, we have two great programmes that offer one-to-one mentorship for those who’d like it.

STRIVE in Hertfordshire focuses on offering support and transition routes into volunteering, training, and employment in Hertfordshire. We provide tailored support that works with the interests and needs or our participants, helping them to move into sustainable employment (or self- employment!), volunteering, training, or education.

Herts Youth Futures supports young people by helping them improve employability and enter training or work. Youth Futures mentors guide participants through the many skills and learning opportunities available through the programme, helping them gain work experience placements, volunteering opportunities, apprenticeships, employment, or self- employment.

Want to know more? Here’s what people are saying about the BBO.

“Being on the BBO has been a life changing experience for me. Through this project, I have a new job that I am passionate about.”

“My BBO journey has helped me to deal with some of my ongoing conditions and difficulties. I have met lots of wonderful people and built new friendships. I’ve learnt to value the little things and live in the moment and take note of that moment. I still have a long way to go as I often have setbacks but I am continuing with my studies so I can make an impact and help others in the future. I enjoy volunteering at the Hub and sharing my learning”.

If you would like more information on the BBO, visit our website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/BBO

 

 

Autumn 2021 phonics screening check announcement at June’s Festival of Education

HAFLS has been monitoring the news surrounding the education of our children following the two lockdown closure of schools

We listened with interest as the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, announced at June’s Festival of Education that, as was the case in 2020, the check will be held in the autumn “so that any pupils who need support with phonics are spotted early”.

As a community learning provider for adults and families across Hertfordshire, we target our courses according to the needs of residents at that time. With concerns raised by both parents and teachers about the gaps in educations that our children have experienced, we’re running two summer holiday short courses in phonics and maths, for families living in Hertfordshire. Suitable for families with children in Early Years (3-5yr olds) and Key Stage 1 (5-7yr olds), these short courses are delivered online by our fantastic family learning teacher.

Parents will take part in a variety of engaging activities with their child that will enable them to understand phonics/maths better as well as helping their child to practice and develop their reading and writing, or maths skills. If your child has found the return to learning phonics or maths difficult or overwhelming, these courses could be a gentle, unpressured opportunity to practice what they find difficult.

To book your free place on these fully-funded community learning courses, please visit our website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/haflscourses

Fun with Phonics: 3rd and 5th August, 9.30am to 11.30am

Marvellous Maths: 10th and 12th August, 9.30am to 11.30am

 

 

 

The Hertfordshire Bookstart annual report 2020-21 - children and books!

The Bookstart programme in Hertfordshire spreads the joy of reading together to thousands of families. ​Bookstart is funded by the charity BookTrust and its coordinated in Hertfordshire by the library service. The scheme brings together health visitors, family support centre teams, libraries and early years settings to encourage families to enjoy sharing books and rhymes with babies and young children.

Health visitor partners give out the Bookstart Baby bags to families with a new baby, helping to promote parent/baby bonding and supporting babies' brain and language development.

We gift the Bookstart Treasure packs through nursery classes, early years settings and childminders to encourage reading for pleasure – a key indicator for a child's success in later life. 

Family centres use the Bookstart Corner resources to promote the benefits of a quality home learning environment to help pre-school children build their speech, language & pre-reading skills and to become "school ready".

Libraries play a key role by offering engaging early years activities to draw families in, by promoting the positive impact of sharing rhymes and books with young children and by showcasing the wealth of quality picture books available for families to borrow.

The report is sent to BookTrust, to all our Bookstart partners and to County Councillors so they can see the impact of the Bookstart programme for families in Hertfordshire. Please do take a few minutes to read the Bookstart annual report 2020/21 and enjoy lots of pictures of children and books!

 

SEND STRATEGY PROGRAMME UPDATE

June has been an exciting month for SEND Strategy Programme. We’re seeing the new Hertfordshire SEND Strategy come to life: colourful drafts being finalised and we have dates for engagement events with partners, including parents and carers from September 2022 .

We produced a 3-minute video to help schools complete EHCP Annual Reviews more easily via an online platform. Feedback from schools involved in this pilot is very positive. Have a look at the video if you’re interested in seeing how this will work.

We reminded CS Mangers about Hertfordshire’s Professional Promise at last week’s Manager’s Forum. The Professional Promise is relevant to anyone who works with families with children and young people with SEND, which is likely to be all our CS services, so please do spend a few minutes learning more about it and let us know how your service is fulfilling the Promise, so we can help families feel confident in the services we all work so hard to provide- email us SENDStrategy@hertfordshire.gov.uk

The Local Offer Events Tool is working well too. The webpage was coproduced with families, to help them find local, inclusive and fun activities, courses and virtual sessions because we know this is really important to them. Why not spend a few minutes getting familiar with it and share it with families you work with, after all SEND is everyone’s business!

Our highlight however, was our team picnic… we didn’t have the best summer weather however, seeing each other face to face was sunshine enough! It was also a wonderful opportunity to recognise the work that our two Experts by Experience have helped us achieve in 12 months. We’re pleased to say that as a result of new-found confidence from being in these roles, Chloe is now applying for adult services support worker roles and Georgia is applying for support officer roles. We wish them all the best for their futures.

Remember to drop into our CS Staff SEND Briefing sessions, to find out more about how we’re supporting operational teams to help improve SEND services.

 

Hertfordshire Children set to have a HAPpy Summer!

The summer holidays are looking brighter for disadvantaged children and young people in Hertfordshire thanks to an exciting partnership which launched at Easter.

From July, Hertfordshire County Council, Herts Sports Partnership and Hertfordshire Community Foundation will once again join forces to deliver healthy food alongside sport and physical activity, under the name ‘HAPpy: Hertfordshire’s Holiday Activity Programme.

The programme is open to children and young people aged 5 to 16 years, with those in receipt of benefits-related free school meals eligible for free. It aims to tackle the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, physical inactivity and social isolation.

Bookings for this have now opened for families and those eligible for free will be able to book using their unique code which they will be sent by their school along with the booking link. Families who have not received this on the 5 July should ask their school for it.

Any services who work with families eligible for FSM and wish to promote this further please get in touch with Pablo.benvenutto@hertfordshire.gov.uk for more information.

 

 

 

Virtual conference held to support careers guidance professionals across Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire County Council Services for Young People, held its 10th annual conference for careers leaders across Hertfordshire on 30 June. For the first time the conference was held virtually, enabling more than 120 delegates to attend.

This year the focus was careers in a changing world, with keynote speaker Professor Tristram Hooley giving an overview of the latest national policy updates, including the impact of the pandemic on the future job market. Tristram went on to also detail the newly revamped CDi Framework which Services for Young People will offer some free consultancy support to schools for in Autumn 2021.

Those who attended virtually ranged from secondary school careers leaders and deputy heads, to recruitment managers from local employers and employment and training advisers. They also had an opportunity to take part in a range of workshops which provided practical help and guidance for providing effective and engaging careers guidance in schools and other settings and dealing with new challenges.

The event is run in partnership with the Careers & Enterprise Company and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

 Information about services for schools and colleges

Contacting our Foster Carers Securely

Did you know that Hertfordshire’s Foster Carers’ have a specific email address, provided to them by Hertfordshire County Council.  This email address is a secure electronic link between HCC and the Carer. 

The format of the email address is firstname.lastname@hertsfostering.org

Please use the hertsfostering.org email for all official fostering communication between HCC employees and the Carer, the Carer’s personal email address should not be used.  Please do still take care in ensuring data protection guidelines are adhered to eg. not using names in the subject of the email for instance.

The Carer’s hertsfostering.org email address can be found on LCS within their demographic details.

If you have any queries regarding the hertsfostering.org email accounts, please contact hertsfostering@hertfordshire.gov.uk

SEND News

Welcome to the SEND News bulletin.

30 June - SEND News

In this issue:

15 June -  SEND News

In this issue:

  • Year 5 phase transfer for EHCPs (ages 9 -10)
  • Purple Pages (ages 11 - 18)
  • Men's health week
  • Events

Please let us know if you have any problems viewing this e-newsletter or if you have any articles to contribute to the next edition by emailing localoffer@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Families First News

Welcome to the latest edition of Families First News

We hope you enjoy reading  View the issue

The latest news

Spotlight on: Homeless Prevention Service

Learn more about Safe Space

Name change : Services for Young People (SfYP)

CAMHS Redesign Digital Workstream needs to hear your views!

SEND improvements & work still to be done

Consultation on the Early Help Strategy

A new goal for Healthy Start Food Campaign

Hertfordshire Personal Safety Survey (Violence Against Women & Girls)

Young Carers Strategy & Carers Survey

Wellbeing Guide for Young People

COVID-19 vaccine communication materials in community languages

 Learning & development

HSCP Learning & Development Programme

Caring Dads courses

Courses for dads & male carers & parents with challenging teens

Share & Learn Event - Not long to go!

Raising the issue of Childhood Obesity

Difference we're making

Families First - Performance Data Report

Well done Lauren Penrose

Local area news

Local News Bulletin

 

Corporate News

Joint HCC and UNISON statement to commence the Future Workforce negotiations

Hertfordshire County Council recently released a joint statement with UNISON to mark the beginning of the negotiation period to negotiate changes to pay and terms and conditions, as part of the Future Workforce project.

You can read the full statement on the intranet.

The negotiation between HCC and UNISON Hertfordshire (our recognised trade union for employees in scope) is planned to start by the end of June 2021. Any changes to pay and terms and conditions agreed in this negotiation will affect Local Government Employees on NJC terms and conditions. This covers the majority of employees in main council departments, whether they are a member of a trade union or not.

The aim of the negotiation is for both parties to work together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that addresses employee and manager feedback. Once an agreement is reached and signed off by both parties, another joint statement will be issued setting out the terms agreed. Any changes will be implemented in October 2022.

If you have any questions about the Future Workforce project, please email us at Future.Workforce@hertfordshire.gov.uk or contact the UNISON Hertfordshire Branch Secretary, Graham Nickson, on 01992 556260 or via e-mail at Hertford.Unison@hertfordshire.gov.uk

 You can also find out more on the Future Workforce project intranet page.

 

Right to work checks from 1 July 2021

 

As of 1 July 2021, the process for completing right-to-work checks on EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens has changed. Employers are no longer able to accept EU passports or ID cards as valid proof of right-to-work, with the exception of Irish citizens. Instead, you need to check a job applicant’s right to work online using a share code and their date of birth. 

You do not need to retrospectively check the status of any EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens you employed before 1 July 2021. 

Background on right-to-work check

There are two types of right-to-work checks: a manual check and an online check. The type of check you need to conduct depends on the status of the individual you are employing, and in some circumstances, the individual’s preference.

An online check is required for individuals who hold digital proof of their immigration status in the UK, also known as an eVisa. This applies to most EU citizens, including those with settled or pre-settled status, those with a Hong Kong BNO visa and some other nationalities who have moved to the UK more recently under the points-based immigration system. To carry out an online right-to-work check, you’ll need the applicant’s date of birth and their share code which they will have generated online.

A manual check can be completed for UK and Irish nationals who can use their passport, or other valid documents, as proof of right-to-work. You will also need to complete a manual check for individuals in the UK who cannot prove their immigration status online.

Guidance on how to conduct a right-to-work check and lists of acceptable documents can be found on GOV.UK/check-job-applicant-right-to-work.

You should carry out a right-to-work check for every individual you employ. Employers can face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegally employed worker who does not have the right to work in the UK and where correct checks were not undertaken.

EU Settlement Scheme deadline

The deadline for applications to the EU Settlement Scheme for those resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 has now passed. Anyone who submitted a valid application by 30 June and who is still waiting for a decision on their application will be issued with a certificate of application which they can use to prove their right to work through the online checking service. 

There may be situations in which you identify an EU citizen in your workforce who has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline and does not hold any other form of leave in the UK. Where an EU citizen has reasonable grounds for missing the application deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

Full guidance has been published on GOV.UK setting out the process you may follow until 31 December 2021, in circumstances where you identify an EU citizen in your workforce has not applied to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. For ease of reference, the guidance has also been included in Annex A below. 

It should be noted that you do not need to cease employment at the time you identify an existing employee without status if this transitional measure applies.

 

Annex A

Late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme  

We recognise employers wish to have a lawful and stable workforce after 30 June 2021 and maintain compliance with the Right to Work Scheme. You will have a continuous statutory excuse against a civil penalty if you carried out an initial right to work check in the prescribed manner as set out in legislation and guidance that applied at the time you completed the check, such as where an EEA citizen provided their passport or national identity card to you to prove their right to work prior to 30 June 2021.  

If an EEA citizen applies for a job with you after 30 June but has not applied to the EUSS by the deadline and has no alternative immigration status in the UK, then they will not be able to pass a right to work check and should not be employed. You should encourage them to apply as soon as possible.
 
However, there may be situations after 30 June 2021 in which you identify an EEA citizen in your workforce who has not applied to the EUSS by the deadline and does not hold any other form of leave in the UK. You may have chosen to carry out a retrospective check (although you are not required to do so), completed an internal audit or have been made aware your employee does not have a lawful status in the UK. They may tell you they have missed the deadline through no fault of their own and you may believe it to be disproportionate were you to take immediate steps to cease their employment. 
 
Where an EEA citizen has reasonable grounds for missing the EUSS application deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.  Non-exhaustive caseworker guidance has been published setting out a wide range of circumstances which will normally constitute reasonable grounds for a person’s failure to meet the deadline, including where applicants lacked the mental capacity to apply, or where individuals have been unaware of the deadline for a variety of reasons.  The Home Office has grant-funded 72 organisations with a total of £22 million to do outreach and make sure people who are vulnerable or require assistance, are helped to make an application. 

It should be noted the criminal offence of employing an illegal worker is generally reserved for the most serious cases of non-compliance with the Right to Work Scheme. It is not intended for employers who have employed EEA citizens in good faith having completed a right to work check in the prescribed manner and are acting in accordance with this guidance to support their employees to make an application to the EUSS. 

 
EEA citizens employed prior to 30 June 2021
 
As a transitional measure to provide additional flexibility, this guidance sets out the process you may follow until 31 December 2021, in circumstances where you identify an EEA citizen in your workforce has not applied to the EUSS by 30 June 2021.  You do not need to cease employment at the time you identify an employee without status if this transitional measure applies. 

In order to benefit from this transitional measure, the EEA citizen must have been employed by you, in the UK, prior to the end of the prior to the end of the grace period (30 June 2021). In such circumstances, you should:  
 
1.    Advise the individual they must make an application to the EUSS within 28 days and provide you with a Certificate of Application (CoA). If they do not make an application to the EUSS within 28 days, you must take steps to cease their employment in line with right to work legislation.  
https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

2.    Once you have been provided with a CoA, you must then contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS) to confirm the individual has applied. When contacting the ECS, you may be asked to provide evidence of the start date of the individual's employment (such as a copy of the initial right to work check).  

3.    Where an application has been made, the ECS will give you a Positive Verification Notice (PVN). Retaining the PVN and a copy of the individual’s CoA will then provide you with a statutory excuse against a civil penalty for six months. This allows sufficient time for the application to be concluded and enables the individual to maintain their employment with you during that time.  

4.    Before the PVN expires, you must do a follow-up check with the ECS in order to maintain your statutory excuse against a civil penalty. If the individual has been granted status before the PVN expiry date, they can prove their right to work to you using the Home Office right to work online service.  

5.    If the follow-up check confirms that the application is pending, you will be given a further PVN for six months and would then repeat step 4 until such time as the application has been finally determined. If the follow-up check confirms the application has been finally determined and refused, then you will not be issued with a PVN and you must take steps to cease the individual's employment.

6.    Employers are advised to record and maintain accurate records of checks and actions taken in regard to this guidance in the same way in which evidence is retained to demonstrate a statutory excuse. 

7.    For those who were employed on or after 1 July 2021, you must perform the appropriate right to work checks prior to employment.


Immigration Enforcement 28-day notice 

From 1 July 2021, where Immigration Enforcement encounter EEA citizens, or their family members, who are working without status, they will be given a written 28-day notice before any action is taken. This provides individuals who may have been eligible under the EUSS had they applied by 30 June 2021, with the opportunity to make a late application to EUSS demonstrating any reasonable grounds for missing the deadline.

Failure to make an application may impact upon their eligibility to access services in the UK and they may be required to leave the UK.

 

Ways of Working guide

You can now read our Ways of Working guide, which outlines how our Ways of Working vision applies to all colleagues at Hertfordshire County Council.

Within this you will find directorate specific guidance, outlining new working principles for Children's Services going forward, while remaining mindful that we are a large and diverse organisation and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way of working.

The guide been shaped by feedback from across the council, including colleagues in Children's Services, and reflects how far our working culture has modernised, having learnt from the challenges and opportunities around remote and flexible working that the pandemic has presented.

Read the guide: https://intranet.hertfordshire.gov.uk/Interact/Pages/Content/Document.aspx?id=10098

Hertfordshire Personal Safety Survey

Following the death of Sarah Everard earlier this year, Hertfordshire County Council and Hertfordshire Police are undertaking a public survey of Hertfordshire residents to understand their experiences and feelings of personal safety, which will inform a wider piece of work around Violence Against Women and Girls.

The survey is open to males and females of all ages and can be accessed using the web link below 

https://surveys.hertfordshire.gov.uk/s/XFEVX8/

This survey will remain open until Friday 9 July.

 

Take the survey: understanding why we print

We are inviting all colleagues to complete a short survey to help us learn what and why we print across the organisation.

The Go Paperless project is looking to support the organisation to reduce its reliance on paper in line with our sustainability strategy and the climate emergency we are facing.

The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and will close on 3 August.

Take the survey HERE

Learning & Development

‘Introduction to Behaviour Change’ – Free training

On Wednesday 28 July (1-4pm) the Behaviour Change Unit will be running a free virtual training session for all HCC colleagues interested in behavioural science and how it can be applied to our work – ‘Introduction to Behaviour Change’.

Many of the outcomes we seek to achieve in HCC rely on people changing their behaviour. Human behaviour is complex and changing behaviour is neither simple nor easy. The evidence shows that patterns of behaviour are deeply embedded in people's social and material circumstances, and their cultural context. This course will introduce you to some of the factors that influence behaviour and useful models and approaches to achieve behaviour change. Taking an interactive approach, there will be a number of exercises and scenarios that will give you an opportunity to reflect on your current practice and how applying behavioural science can help you improve outcomes.

To reserve your place please contact Wayne Bateman, Behavioural Science Specialist: wayne.bateman1@hertfordshire.gov.uk.

Behaviour Change Unit – Free drop-in surgeries

Our surgeries provide the opportunity for colleagues across HCC to speak with a Behavioural Science Specialist and ask any questions they might have about behavioural science and its application within their work. Surgeries are currently being run via Teams every two weeks, with 20 min slots available at 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, and 3.30pm. You can find details of upcoming surgeries here.

 To arrange an appointment within one of our surgeries, please email the Behavioural Science Specialist indicated next to date of the specific surgery you are interested in attending.

Children's Services Learning and Development Subscriptions Newsletter

The latest edition of Children's Services Learning and Development Subscriptions Newsletter is now available.

These newsletters will be focusing on Research in Practice and all it has to offer. We as a service have access to a wealth of information, resources and practice development events through our Corporate Subscriptions.

In this month’s edition, you will find information about…

 Trending topics

  • Upcoming events
  • Important reading
  • Podcasts, videos and other resources
  • Open access learning resources that include case studies, practical tools and guidance

 If you have any feedback please let us know by emailing cstraining@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Congratulations & Compliments

Brooke Donovan - You are a star!

Congratulations to Brooke Donovan who wins June's `You are a star' award.

Brooke is a Service Support Manager within Children’s Services and was nominated by Jodi O’Sullivan who said:

"Brooke was seconded for a period of time to the FSCP Team until a new member of staff had been appointed. Whilst supporting the FSCP Team, Brooke still continued to support her colleagues providing information and guidance and continuing to build trusting relationships.  With Brooke working with the FSCP Team, it allowed them to continue to provide their outstanding services and team models to various local authorities with accurate, informative presentations which were supported by Brooke.

"Brooke's attention to details was imperative as part of the FSCP Team as were her administrative and organisation skills teamed with her vibrant, fun and honest personality.  Brooke was also managing the Covid Response Staff requirements within Children’s Services. She has assisted in recruiting over 40 Children Services workers since September 2020 to assist in the current Covid-19 Pandemic. Extra staff are recruited and allocated to teams where there is a high volume of work the outcome of dealing with Covid -19 brought in. `Her role was to assist with the recruitment process including interviewing potential staff, looking at contracts, the allocation to the specific teams and IT inductions. These are just a few of the tasks Brooke has undertaken."

Citizen Focused – Brooke continued to work within two other roles than her own to ensure that services were provided uninterrupted. The delivery of the FSCP Model was imperative to the local authorities signed up for this piece of work. Brookes coordination, attention to detail, organisation and hard work resulted in the workshops being delivered when scheduled with positive feedback.

Every Penny Counts - As part of the Covid-19 Response Team, Brooke was tasked with recruiting staff to provide teams with large volumes of work with further staff. Budgets regarding recruitment needed to adhere to and Brooke provided the teams with the staff needed, all within the budget given.   

Integrity – Brooke is a very honest person and has strong moral principles which she practises when managing her staff. Brooke is empathetic, understanding and supportive and her direct staff have a very strong working relationship with Brooke where she is very highly respected

Getting It Right – Brooke is someone who thinks of others before herself and takes every task given to her with integrity. Brooke ensures that everything she is responsible for is completed correctly. This could be managing staff, organising workshops, management meetings or recruitment of staff. Brooke is also a fantastic mentor and takes her time with new staff in training them for the job with the upmost patience, knowledge and support. Brooke is someone that you can openly speak to with any concerns and she will look for a resolution whilst making you feel comfortable whatever your worries. 

Innovation – Brooke is someone who is always looking for her next challenge. She embraces new ways of working and often provides the practical implementation of ideas that result in the improvement of services provided. She will often bring these ideas to management meetings, 1-2-1’s etc and is always looking at ways to improve ways of working to provide an outstanding service every single time.

Well done Brooke

Linda Hendry - You are a star!

Congratulations to Linda Hendry who is a Senior Support Officer in the Stevenage & North Herts, SfYP Support Team.  Linda was nominated by Judith Sutton who said:

"Linda deserves to be recognised in particular over the last year. She has shown great determination throughout the pandemic to maintain high standards. She has been very flexible in her approach and has gone above and beyond to support the delivery of our services. Always willing to work in different ways, and to support her colleagues in all areas of our delivery. Generally Linda is office based but at Easter this year when we delivered the Happy Easter activities programme she was delivering lunches across the area, and helping out wherever she could. Our team always know they can approach Linda for help and support."

Citizen focused: Linda carries out front of house duties in our Access Points, is always problem solving when issues arise.

Every penny counts: Linda is very persistent in always finding the price for any goods we need to purchase, and always checks if any purchases are absolutely necessary.

Integrity: Linda is always keen to listen to other team member’s opinions and maintains high standards both with colleagues and external partners. Team members always know they can go to her for advice and help. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will find someone who does.

Getting it right: Linda always tries really hard to get things right, and she has a very positive attitude

Innovation: Linda is open minded, likes to listen to others and work collaboratively.

Well done Linda.

Health and Wellbeing

Relationship support for parents

Relationship support available for parents

There is FREE support available for parents living in or accessing services within Hertfordshire. If you are working with a family who are 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.

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

Relationship support available for you/friends/families

Please also consider if there’s anybody you know personally (including yourself) who may be experiencing conflict in their parental relationship right now as this support is open to all parents in Hertfordshire as detailed above. As an organisation, our staff’s wellbeing is very important to us and we’re mindful that everybody is experiencing situations they haven’t before; some good and some maybe not so good and there are times when we all could do with an offer of help. We would always encourage you to talk to your managers if you require any support, but appreciate that, at times, you may want to seek help independently. Tavistock Relationships, a very well-renowned relationship support organisation offer a route to the reducing parental conflict programme that doesn’t involve going via a keyworker if that is the preferred option.  This short contact enquiry form can be completed in 2 minutes and Tavistock Relationships will get in touch with the completer directly.  

 

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