News from the Services
Families First Welcome pack
The Families First Welcome pack is proving very popular with services wishing to get a better understanding of how to access the Early Help offer in Hertfordshire. It offers a useful insight into the Families First way of working and how to get training and support.
If you require a printable copy please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Strengthening our Adolescent Offer
ARC Fostering Support
ARC Fostering Support continues to develop as we refine our processes and forms. We have been joined by Sarah Buller and Debbie Cullinane who are working additional hours alongside their permanent roles and we welcome their experience and knowledge in the team.
Our main cohorts have been well attended again this year as have the two day practitioner courses, and venues are currently been booked for next year so for those wishing to attend they should be circulated soon.
Over the past few months CLA staff have begun to attend the monthly ARC seminars alongside the fostering teams and this has added a different perspective which is positive for all attending. Topics for the workshops and seminars have included Lifestory Work, Safer Touch and Blocked Trust and Blocked Care.
We enjoyed being part of the recent Practice Week launch which had a focus on trauma awareness and Kirsteen, Seyi and Gemma presented at each of the main sites alongside other speakers and foster carers who have had involvement with our service.
There are already a number of experienced foster carers providing support to other carers and there has been excellent feedback from carers and staff regarding the benefits of this peer support and the impact on carers’ confidence and placement stability. This offer is now in the process of being formalised and a working group has been set up to finalise guidance and support for this amazing team of foster carers and to develop other carers to join the team.
As ever we welcome contact from anyone who wants to know more about ARC Fostering Support and would like to hear from other services about how we can work together. Please do email one of us or take the opportunity for a chat if you see us around the buildings.
Grete Lund, Kirsteen Wilshere, Seyi Yusuff, Gemma Moloney,
Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) 2019
The EYFSP is a teacher assessment of children’s development at the end of the early years foundation stage (the end of the academic year in which the child turns five years old – this is typically the end of the Reception year).
In Hertfordshire, particular attention is given to two of the measures that form part of this assessment as outlined below:
Good level of development
Children achieving a good level of development are those achieving at least the expected level within the following areas of learning:
- Communication and language
- Physical development
- Personal, social and emotional development
A high or increasing percentage for this measure indicates good performance.
Gap for lowest attaining children
This measure looks at the total average point score between all children and the lowest 20% of attaining children to determine if the gap is narrowing. A low or reducing percentage for this measure indicates good performance.
Hertfordshire’s Early Years Strategic Group oversee the work that is being undertaken to further improve both of these measures.
First Academic Shadows Social Work Teams
In August 2019 Chloe Rogers, from the University of Hertfordshire, joined the Assessment and Safeguarding team in Children's Services at County Hall as the first academic to shadow a social work team as part of the Hertfordshire Social Work Teaching Partnership Academics into Practice initiative.
Feedback from students on Social Work degree programmes across the country express that sometimes they feel that their tutors are out of touch with frontline practice. The Teaching Partnership are working together to address this trend in Hertfordshire, for the benefit of both the academics, Social Workers and social work students.
We've had fantastic feedback from Chloe and the team that she shadowed:
"When I was approached about having an academic shadow our team it was envisaged that the experience was for the benefit of only the academic, but me and my colleagues also got a lot out of the day. Chloe shadowed me throughout the day which involved accompanying me to a meeting with a father at our offices and also a home visit to a family I was working with. I found the process of talking through the encounters with Chloe very rewarding and helped me reflect on my own practice and the family. I also appreciated having the opportunity to gain insight into the professional practices and experiences of Chloe and how they compare and contrast to Hertfordshire."
Jade Shayler, Senior Practitioner, Children's Services
"One strand of the work of the Teaching Partnership is supporting academics to spend time in practice, to observe social workers in action, refresh practice knowledge and make links with research and theory. I had the privilege to spend two days at County Hall in August, shadowing a social worker in the Assessment team and a manger in the Family Safeguarding team. My practice background is in social work with children and families working for a Local Authority in London, and I was keen to observe practice in a different setting: to gain a better understanding of the models used in Hertfordshire, the practice issues experienced, and the organisational context in which many of our students train and often go on to work. My teaching has a focus on practice skills, underpinned by research and theory, and the modules I lead aim to prepare students for their statutory placement and future employment – this opportunity sought to close the gap between what students learn in the classroom and what they do on placement, and I feel confident my time with HCC has supported that aim.
I was able to observe a meeting with a parent, a home visit, a legal planning meeting and case supervisions with social workers – a breadth of experience that illuminated the work you do from a variety of perspectives. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the rigorous, reflective and curious conversations taking place in supervision, and I’m grateful to the social workers for allowing me to take part. I was impressed by the quality of the practice I observed, from the structures of support embedded at an organisational level to the commitment and competence of individual social workers evident in the myriad daily tasks they complete. One theme that struck me most strongly was the unrelenting focus on the children at the centre of the work: consistently asking, what’s it like to live in their world? Is it good enough, and if not, what can we do about it? This focus is not easy to maintain in the complex and challenging context of child protection work, but it speaks to the quality of the service provided by HCC. These two days offered much for me to reflect on and take back with me to teaching, and I’d like to thank the teams at County Hall for facilitating this opportunity. I look forward to continuing the conversation between the university and the council, between theory and practice, during the course of our Teaching Partnership and beyond."
Chloe Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Hertfordshire
To find out more about the Social Work Teaching Partnership, and what we’re doing to raise the profile of Social Workers in Hertfordshire, please get in touch.
A festive focus on the Stevenage Study Plus scheme this month
Each year the young people at our Study Plus program in Stevenage engage in a small enterprise project where they make items to sell for charity. This year they are making Christmas cards, decorating packs of pine cones and wrapping sweet jars.
Study Plus is a project run by Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service (HAFLS), for young adults, aged 16-19 (24 with an EHCP).
The current term is now underway in Stevenage but it's not too late to join as there will be a new term starting in January.
Study Plus offers:
Functional Skills: English and maths (Entry Level 3 – Level 2)
Gateway Award in Employability Skills (Level 1)
First Aid (Level 3)
Information, Advice and Guidance on work and education choices
Work Experience (if the young person is work-ready)
The current project is running at:
The United Reform Church in Cuttys Lane, Stevenage.
Monday – Wednesday from 9.30am- 3.45pm
If you know someone who may benefit from all that this project has to offer, including small class sizes and fantastic pastoral support from the team, please call Louise on 01438 845821 NOW!
More information can be found on https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/microsites/adult-learning/find-a-course/study-plus.aspx
Young people congratulated for their hard work and success at YC Hertfordshire’s Young People’s Awards 2019
Around 88 young people from across Hertfordshire were recognised for their outstanding achievements at YC Hertfordshire Young People’s Awards ceremony on Wednesday 6 November.
The event took place during National Youth Work Week and highlighted the impact that youth work, information, advice and guidance has in helping young people overcome barriers and fulfil their potential.
Director of Children’s Services Jenny Coles spoke at the event and congratulated the young people on their achievements.
Young people were nominated by their peers and their Youth Workers. This year’s winners included:
- Tylia, aged 17, from Stevenage, has transformed her life since attending a YC Hertfordshire emotional wellbeing project. She has shown sheer determination in turning her life around and is also a great support to her peers.
- Georgia, aged 21, from Welwyn Garden City, was awarded for showing selflessness and perseverance while facing many challenges. This year, she helped to organise a programme of motivational events during Feeling Good Week to help other young people.
- Georgia, aged 17, from Watford, has volunteered weekly at the YC Hertfordshire Empathy Project at Watford General Hospital for the last year. She offers unconditional support to young people in the most difficult of situations – always putting others first and being a positive role model to those around her.
- Caitlin, aged 16, from Hemel Hempstead, attends an emotional wellbeing and resilience project in Dacorum and received an award for the great progress she has made. She has achieved the goals she set herself and inspired others with her achievements.
- Jay, aged 18, from Stevenage, has transformed since attending the YC Hertfordshire Identity project, gaining new-found confidence and self-assurance.
- Shane, aged 22, from Welwyn Garden City, who showed determination and perseverance as he worked with YC Hertfordshire to focus on his goal of working with animals. After successfully completing a college course, he completed work experience and voluntary work before securing a job working on a farm.
- Nikkie, aged 14, from Watford, was awarded for the huge progress she has made in her relationships with family and friends following personal development sessions with YC Hertfordshire.
- Jamie, aged 16, from Welwyn Garden City, has gone from being a shy young person who would engage only with his immediate friends, to someone who engages with the whole group and in all activities as well as encouraging others to participate. He acts as a mentor to new young people who join the group, making sure they have friends to talk to and helping them make the most of the sessions.
Jenny Coles said: “What you have achieved has been remarkable. None of us should underestimate the huge challenge it has been for many of you to get to this point and we are really proud of you.”
The awards highlight the range of support provided by YC Hertfordshire which provides targeted prevention and early intervention work in local communities, schools, hospitals, colleges and other settings.
For more information about the full range of YC Hertfordshire projects and services, please visit www.ychertfordshire.org
Are you studying and want to conduct research or has your service been contacted by an external student or agency requesting to conduct research or nationally recognised evaluations within Children’s Services?
Who does this include?
- HCC Frontline programme staff
- Step Up to Social Work programme staff
- Current staff members who are also studying (i.e. Master’s, PhD students)
- External university students who contact services to conduct research
- External organisations who contact us to conduct research or national evaluations of services or pilot programmes
Why do we need to inform the Quality Assurance, Audit and Policy Team of research projects / national evaluations?
Senior Managers (including Operations Directors) need to be made aware of and provide agreement for research activities / national reviews where staff, children, young people or their families are the subject of the research / evaluations in order to:
- Identify if the topic of the research project / evaluation would be beneficial for the service in supporting improvements for children, young people and their families.
- Identify if the required resources are available (i.e. lead within service allocated to support the researcher to conduct activities).
- Ensure data protection / GDPR guidelines and information governance agreements are addressed sufficiently and adhered to – this requires review by the Data Protection Team.
- Monitor the types of research projects conducted within Children’s Services.
What does the process entail?
For all researchers except Frontline Programme and Step Up to Social Work Staff
- Contact the Quality Assurance and Policy Manager, Michelle Johnson, on the following email address: email@example.com to inform of your intent to conduct research or an evaluation.
- An application pack with information will be sent to you to complete and return.
- For external students or internal students whereby, study is not connected to your current role, Operations Directors will need to review the topic and agree before progressing to step 4.
- Your proposal will be sent to the Data Protection Team for review.
- Once all agreed, the researcher /evaluation team may proceed to conduct project and once completed, a final copy of any papers should be sent to the Quality Assurance and Policy Manager to share with senior management (except Frontline programme staff).
Please note that depending on the complexity of the project’s data sharing / data protection requirements, which may require further proposal revisions by the researcher / evaluators, please allow extra time to obtain agreement. In exceptional circumstances this can take up to 4 weeks.
For Frontline Programme and Step up to Social Work Staff
- The Children’s Services Learning and Development Team will provide staff with the required research proposal form and the team will forward details to the firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
- Where research only involves evaluation of own practice and does not require interviewing other staff or gathering data about children, young people and their families, full data protection review may not be required, otherwise, details of the researcher’s data sharing / data protection arrangements will require full review by the Data Protection Team as noted above.
- Once agreed, staff may progress with their project.
- If the research project contains details about other staff members, children, young people and their families, a summary of the research should be sent to the email@example.com email address to share with senior management.
Relationships Matter for families
We’ve been putting support in place for families affected by conflict for a while – both for couples who are together and those who are separated. Our support helps families where the parents just don’t see eye to eye about things, argue a lot or are avoiding each other and not communicating properly.
Now we’ve gathered new evidence on parental conflict in Hertfordshire – take a look at the summary report here to see some key statistics:
Remember, you can help parents in your role by:
- Talking to them about their relationships. Make sure they are aware that conflict can impact on their children and that there is help available. There is a toolkit and training to help you with these conversations at: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/betterrelationships
- Signposting them to self-help. This Hertfordshire webpage has information for parents about relationships, and where to go for local and online help: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/parentrelationships
Referring them to specialist support if they need it. Any professional or volunteer working with a family in Hertfordshire can refer parents to the Parenting Together programme. This provides free evidence-based parental conflict support to parents, whether they are together or separated. To find out more, go to: www.parentingtogethersupportprogramme.org.uk
Relationships Matter in Hertfordshire.
16 days of action against domestic abuse
Monday 25 November until Tuesday 10 December marks the internationally recognised 16 Days of Action and we, along with our partners will be using this opportunity to raise the profile of domestic abuse and improve our learning around the subject.
One of the main focuses of this year's campaign is the launch of out Hertfordshire J9 Community Champion Network. Many of you may have heard of this before, but on Monday 25 November, staff and volunteers visited town centres that we know to have a high number of domestic abuse incidents to try and encourage local businesses and services on the high street to become J9 Champions.
J9 was established with the aim to raise awareness of domestic abuse amongst local businesses and services. By educating and enabling people working in the local community, J9 provides increased opportunities for people affected by domestic abuse to access safe, timely help.
J9 Community Champions are trained to identify the signs and offer a safe environment to listen and help victims by providing information and options for local support services. Once trained, the business or service is provided with a Hertfordshire J9 sticker to display on their premises, so that when customers or passers-by see it they recognise that it is a safe place to get help.
If you know someone who runs a local business or non statutory service who may be interested in joining the J9 Community Champion Network please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feeling good week - February 2020
Feeling Good Week is a Hertfordshire-wide event that encourages schools and the wider community to promote children and young people’s emotional wellbeing by raising awareness of mental health and showing where support can be accessed within the community.
From 10 – 16 February 2020, we want you to help make children and young people in Hertfordshire feel good by running your own special projects to boost their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Youth organisations, schools, and young people are invited to submit a bid and apply for up to £500 of funding, which has been put forward by Hertfordshire County Council, and the county’s two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). The bids will be reviewed by a group of young people in December, and they will judge which projects should receive funding.
Further information and the application form can be found here:
Please submit completed application forms via email: CAMHS.Commissioning@hertfordshire.gov.uk
The deadline for applications is:
Friday 6 December 2019
We are all unique – it’s what makes us, us! It’s important to celebrate who we are, and to know that even if we have labels, they do not have to define us. Our panel would love to see ideas that allow children and young people to celebrate their individuality, and how this supports their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Herts Awards 2019 – The Virtual School of Rock
As in other years, the 16th Herts Awards Ceremony was a joyous occasion to celebrate the achievements and creativity of young people who are looked after and includes the children of foster carers.
The preparations for such an occasion are considered and initiated well in advance so that everything runs smoothly on the day, but there is nothing like a last-minute change of plans to keep everyone on their toes! Just a week before this year’s event, those ‘behind the scenes’ were feeling confident that everything was organised, every box ticked and all was ready for a spectacular occasion. So, when Watford Colosseum contacted the Virtual School halfway through the week, before the event to announce that, due to structural problems, the venue could not be used, alternative arrangements had to be sought extremely quickly. The Langley Banqueting and Conference Suites were able to accommodate the proceedings at very short notice and the staff there were fantastic in helping to rearrange the event.
On Sunday morning the new venue was a hive of activity while the rooms were arranged and decorated, sound checks and lighting tests taking place, and there was a tangible sense of excitement before the doors opened at 2:00pm.
The next hour saw the room filling with snacks, cakes and drinks which were all consumed with gusto. The very imaginative and creative Fantastiko balloon modellers and Bow Sparkles Face Painting were kept very busy, much to the delight of the children and young people.
Shortly after 3:00pm a rousing and enjoyable performance from Tring Park School of ‘School of Rock’ started the formal proceedings.
The Head of The Virtual School in Hertfordshire, then welcomed everyone to the Awards ceremony. Teresa Heritage, Executive Member: Children, Young People and Families, formally opened the proceedings.
A range of awards for 205 children were then given as well as a number of Special Awards and independently sponsored bursaries made to young people who have shown exceptional commitment, skill or talent in a particular area.
Hertfordshire Music Service presented live music performances from two song writers who performed their own compositions.
The Grand Finale saw a performance by Sons of Pitches, an Acapella Group, and the Virtual School of Rockers bringing the afternoon to a high-octane conclusion.
Our visitors really enjoyed the afternoon, and thought the venue to be lovely, light and airy. It all goes to show that, even in the face of adversity, with determination- the show can go on!
Very well done to all the very special young people who received awards on Sunday. You are the stars of today and rising stars of the future!
Learning & Development
New CPD opportunities
The Hertfordshire Social Work Teaching Partnership are excited to report that uptake on our brand new CPD opportunities has been phenomenal.
We have two fully booked accredited modules coming up, with more with spaces for the future. All of our candidate selection days are now fully booked and almost all of our co-delivered modules for practice lecturing now have a Social Worker working with academics at the University of Hertfordshire.
Thank you for your support, and there’s more to come yet! Keep an eye out for our Social Work Seminars, Social Work England Information Sessions and other events.
Check out our CPD brochure and benefit from multi-agency learning across Adult Care Services, Children’s Services, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (HPFT) and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
What’s new with corporate Learning and Development?
Hertfordshire Apprenticeship programme (HAP)
Do you have a support officer or similar administrative vacancy in your team, or know of a post that’s going to be vacant in the New Year?
The Hertfordshire Apprenticeship Programme (HAP) team are looking for expressions of interest from prospective hiring managers.
Want more information?
Contact HAP@hertfordshire.gov.uk for more information
Following the re-launch of our coaching offer we are now equipping our coaches with newly updated registration documents. We hope to have clear information on our intranet and iLearn+ page soon to help you source and request coaching more easily.
Coaching is all about unlocking your potential and there are many potential benefits: enhancing productivity; boosting motivation and increasing opportunities.
In the meantime please check our dedicated Introduction to coaching page on iLearn+ and more information will be released over the next few months
The 5th Cohort for New Horizons is underway having started in September.
We have 16 delegates for the foundation Programme, and we have 11 delegates for the middle programme.
The groups are now looking forward to receiving their projects in December and starting their Coaching.
If you are interested in finding out more, please contact NewHorizonLeadershipProgramme@hertfordshire.gov.uk
‘My Learning’ offer
Following on from your Mid-Year review conversations, here’s a few courses you might be interested in.
Click on the topic titles above and complete your Declaration of Interest (please ensure you are already logged into iLearn+)
Spaces available on a first come first served basis.
In addition to the above, we also have new topics being released during December for the Project Delivery and Digital Zone subject areas. Keep an eye on TeamTalk and other separate communication that will be released on this.
The CS Strategic Workforce Plan
The CS Strategic Workforce Plan is progressing as planned. Further to the update provided during the recent CS Roadshows we are now pleased to attach news on the development and delivery of the related Strategic Workforce Action Plan.
Congratulations & Compliments
Sandra Barley - `You are a star'
Congratulations to Sandra Barley who is October’s `You are a star’
Sandra is a Business Delivery Manager and manages a busy team of officers who support the Children’s Services Directorate. Sandra was nominated by Glenda Hardy who said:
“Sandra was recently asked to take on the administration and organisation of the apprenticeship schemes based in schools. This was described at the time as minimal/light touch work but has since exploded in both volume and complexity.
During the last academic year there were 137 school based apprentices and so far this academic year she already has 51 new which is 3 times the amount of this time last year. Sandra has run this “additional” statutory duty consistently and efficiently.
Sandra is often asked to take on additional tasks and duties either directly or within the team and is always gracious and accommodating. She is highly motivated and organised but also a very supportive and empathetic manager. She certainly leads by example and has the best interest of the client/family at the centre of everything. She equally has the well-being of her team at the core of her role.
Sandra is constantly looking for ways to streamline systems with a view to reduce costs but also to increase efficiency.”
Well done Sandra
Tina Parker - `You are a star’
Congratulations to Tina Parker who is October’s `You are a star’
Tina is a support officer for the Safeguarding Team at St Albans, Three Rivers and Watford. Tina’s team manager, Margot Pallett nominated Tina and said:
“There is nothing that Tina will not do to help out. She is always helpful, cheerful and willing to do what it takes to help the team, help me and to help the children and families we work with. Tina copes with last minute requests without getting flustered or irritated and responds to urgent situations calmly and effectively. She is an excellent admin worker and everything she does is of the highest standard.
"Tina works very hard and always gets her work done on time whether that is typing up minutes of complex meetings, supervision notes, end of month returns, sending out information that social workers need to do their job more effectively, arranging meetings, helping set up a team lunch or breakfast – her skills and devotion to the team are endless. I have never seen Tina upset, angry or negative in any way – her cheerfulness and ‘can do’ attitude uplifts the team and her enthusiasm is infectious. Tina always goes the extra mile and even does things that are not in her remit such as ensuring that everyone has a birthday card from the team for their birthdays and refuses to accept money for all the cards she buys.
T"ina is simply the glue that holds my team together and I could not do my job as effectively without her.
"Tina is very focused on the children and families we work with and always ensures that the information she is writing down and/or typing is done on time so as not to delay any service for our children and families. Tina understands the importance of timely intervention and takes great pride in ensuring that her work for the team is always on time.
Every Penny Counts:
"Tina is fully aware of the need to spend the public purse carefully and will, for instance, endeavour to book rooms that do not have a cost and to advise the team where these rooms are in the community. Tina is always organised and helps the team to be more organised in order to make better use of resources. If Tina is aware of a resource, she will advise the team of this.
"Tina completely embraces diversity in all its forms – she accepts the varied needs, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, disabilities, mental health needs and addictions etc so many of our families are struggling with and is very empathetic to their situations and backgrounds. Tina works collaboratively with everyone: my team, her admin team, other managers and social workers. She helps other teams when they need support despite having an enormous amount of work to do herself. In three years of working with Tina I have never heard her say a negative thing about another person, neither client nor professional. Tina is always respectful and helpful.
Getting it right:
"Tina takes enormous pride in what she does and it shows in the high quality of her work. If she is asked to do something differently because it fits better with what is needed, she will immediately change what she has done to comply with what has been asked without any indication she may be fed up or that the task is irksome. Tina takes the view that she wants what she is doing to be exactly what is required even if this has been changed after she has completed something.
"Tina is open to new ways of doing things and readily adapts what she does to integrate a new way of working. Currently she is embracing the new remote way of working and beginning to have days working from home and is considering how she will continue to support me and the team once we all move to Apsley One and the new way of remote working."
Well done Tina.