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Welcome note from Jenny

Jenny Coles

Welcome to another edition of CS News.

It seems to have been another very busy month and I have virtually attended many interesting and motivating events.

I recently attended the CHICC staff and carers awards ceremony. This is always a very moving occasion and it’s a shame, like all our events this year, was held virtually. Nevertheless, it was still very special, and I would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees. I think it’s always such an honour when our children and young people recognise and show appreciation for the work and support are colleagues give.

I also took part in a very interesting online discussion with young people from CHICC, which you can read more about in this edition, as well as all the creative work that took place during National Care Leaver’s week and the YCH Services for Young People Awards. Again, well done to those involved.

Another very insightful event I attended was the virtual learning session with young carers, where they shared their experience of Covid19 and lockdown. Some struggled particularly with their mental health, uncertainty of the current situation and how they missed their friends. But we also spoke about the positives, including the time spent with their families during lockdown, and how pleased they are to be back in school and see friends and teachers. It was a good opportunity for us to understand how best we can support them, especially with their emotional health and wellbeing, and how we can work in a more joined up way across CS, CCGS, the voluntary sector and schools to respond to their needs at this time.

You may have already seen the Department of Education evaluation that was recently published. This showed that the Family Safeguarding Model developed in Hertfordshire was effective at keeping more children safely within their families and helping parents to achieve lasting change. You can read more in this edition.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your continued commitment and hard work during these very difficult times, even more so as we now enter further national restrictions.

Despite all the challenges we face and how tiring it can be, it never ceases to amaze me how creative our school staff and children’s services are, by constantly striving to engage with our children and young people to provide the very best we can, and that truly is amazing. It makes me proud. Well done.



In the Spotlight

Data Protection update - change of school name

Please can we draw your attention to, the school formally known as The Bushey Academy has changed its name to The Grange Academy, in addition the school number has also changed to 700. There are now 2 schools in Hertfordshire with the same name;

The Grange Academy (Bushey)

Grange Academy ( Letchworth)

To ensure information is not sent from HCC/CS staff to the incorrect school – their geographical location has been added to the school address book to help ensure the correct school details are used , the change in school number has also been amended.

If you have previously emailed the school or have either saved in your personal HCC address book or on databases the change will not automatically be reflected so ask you to ensure that you remove any old email addresses and replace with the correct email and exercise caution when emailing them to ensure you have selected the appropriate school. The link to the Schools address book entry for both schools is detailed below

The Grange Academy (Bushey)

The Grange Academy (Letchworth)

The School admin address in the HCC Outlook schools address book has also been updated to reflect this change and both entries are listed below

The Grange Academy (Bushey)

The Grange Academy ( Letchworth)

You may wish for to suggest your service  password protect sensitive documents and share the password via telephone to ensure if documents are incorrectly shared with the wrong school inadvertently they will be unable to open the correspondence

A reminder for  teams if you need any support with data protection or advice on how to help minimise breaches you can draw support from  Bharti Patel, Senior Business Support Manager or Jodi O’Sullivan, Business Support Manager or contact the Data Protection Team however, please note the team is currently operating a reduced presence and telephone service and if it is not possible to speak to a Practitioner in the first instance please email

Mandatory DP training is now running remotely and employees can book via ESS or by emailing CS training for agency staff.

Barnardo’s Hertfordshire Family Centre Service awarded Hear By Right Flagship Award


The National Youth Agency has awarded Barnardo’s Hertfordshire Family Centre Service with a Hear by Right at Flagship level award.

Hear by Right at Flagship level shows that Barnardo’s Herts Family Centre Service is implementing participation at a high level of excellence. The National Youth Agency stated `You are ambitious with what participation can achieve and its successes can be seen strategically, organisationally and for young people.’

Over the last year North Herts family centres have been developing innovative work around participation with children and families, in order to submit an application to the National Youth Agency and be accredited under their flagship Hear by Right award.

This award is usually for the contribution within services for older children, so it is fantastic that this award has highlighted that participation and engagement is at the core of all the work the team do for younger children.

Congratulations to the North Herts family centres and well done to volunteer coordinators, Lynn Reid and Kirsten Osborne who led the piece of work.

Find out more information about The Hear by Right framework  





News from the Services

Family Safeguarding Model continuing to improve the lives of children and families

A Department for Education (DfE) evaluation report has been published which shows that the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Model continues to improve outcomes for children and families in Hertfordshire and the ‘Wave 2’ authorities who adopted the model in 2018 – Bracknell Forest, Luton, Peterborough City and West Berkshire Councils.

The Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Model was developed by local practitioners and initially funded from a £5m DfE Innovation Grant in 2015.

The evaluation shows that the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Model continues to deliver improved outcomes for children and families across all authorities who have implemented this way of working. It supports the wider roll-out of Family Safeguarding as it demonstrates the potential to improve outcomes and save money over time. The level of energy and enthusiasm for the model continues four years on, it demonstrates how family safeguarding is achieving its vision of more children being kept safely at home with their families and that it provides timely and high-quality specialist support for families.

The evaluation demonstrates for all FS authorities;

  • It shows a reduction of up to 30% of children from becoming looked after
  • Up to 46% reduction of the number of Child Protection Plans
  • Repeat police call-outs for domestic abuse fall by up to 64%
  • Mental health crisis contacts are reduced
  • Multi-disciplinary teams provide quicker access to joined-up and tailored support

What do FS staff say about working in Family Safeguarding?

  • They do not want to work in any other way; it’s the best model for delivering children’s social care and should not be re-designed or replaced
  • Motivational Interviewing is an effective way of working with families improving engagement and empowering parents to have a central role in the direction and ownership of their cases
  • Knowledge and skills have improved and they were able to work more effectively alongside colleagues
  • 97% said group case supervision results in the right decisions being taken on cases
  • It was easy for them to access support for families with issues around parental mental health, substance misuse or domestic abuse

“Families feel like they are working with us, rather than being told what to do. They are more engaged in the process and they do notice the difference. They feel that they are leading the process.” (Social worker)

What do families say about the Model?

  • They have been ‘worked with and not done to’
  • Their chances of making lasting, beneficial changes to their lives has improved
  • They don’t have to retell their story numerous times as all workers are well informed of their cases
  • Tailored support is provided within the home
  • It is more participatory, supportive and empowering than previous experiences of social services
  • They encouraged friends and family to view FS as an opportunity to work together with professionals to improve their circumstances and future opportunities

“I liked how the social worker took me seriously and listened to my opinion…I felt I was included, and we have got on much better because of that.” (Parent)

In Hertfordshire, the outcomes have continued to be sustained and the financial case for Family Safeguarding continues to be strong and make significant annual savings and does not become diluted over time. Practitioners continue to remain very positive about the model and its outcomes.

To view the evaluation report visit

As part of a new £84m ‘Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Programme’ the DfE have committed to funding a further 6 authorities to implement Family Safeguarding with the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Project Team. So far, Cambridgeshire County Council and Walsall Council have successfully launched the model with Lancashire County Council, Telford and Wrekin Council, Wandsworth Council and Swindon Councils implementing over the next four years.


Young people’s participation

October was a busy month for young people’s participation, with a couple of key annual events moving on line.

CHICC Awards

Every year our young people in care and care leavers nominate professionals for awards in a variety of categories, to say a big thank you and recognise the difference those individuals make.

Usually, the awards are given at a special celebratory event, but this year the ceremony went ahead virtually on MS Teams, during half term week. The event was well attended and every bit as special as usual. Jenny Coles congratulated the following winners and runners up:

Best worker:                                                                            

The winners were Jessica Symonds (social worker) and John Pinder (Care Leavers’ Worker), and runners up Leanne Lyon and Lauren Jordan                                                     

Best carer/residential worker:

Winners were Bill and Karen Game and runners up Marcia Whyte and Barbara Hollick

Best other professional:             

The winner was Donna Gilfillan (Child Protection and Quality Assurance) and runners up Julie Mullen (Virtual School) and Claire Bellia (Lakeside school).

The young people’s nominations included such comments as:

Whenever I am worried I can always confide in my carer’

‘Our carers have always looked after and loved us and made sure we are happy’

‘I’m feeling hopeful for the future and I’m looking forward to thinking about all the possibilities that are available to me in the future - something I haven’t felt in quite a long time and largely due to my worker’s efforts’

‘My worker goes above and beyond her role. She meets mine and my carers’ needs without fault and at the same time she is friendly, and the prefect social worker’.

Jenny Coles and deputy Lead Member, Graham McAndrew, congratulated all winners and runners up, and thanked them for always putting young people first.

Care Leavers’ Event

Half term was National Care Leaver’s week and one of the ways in which Hertfordshire took part was by running an event for care leavers entitled ‘Living Your Best Life’. The event was put together by Mark Hinton from the Participation Team, with input from many other colleagues including Sam Jeffrey, Erica Stovold, John Pinder and John Short.

Sixty people logged onto the event, including young people, workers and managers, to find out how young people can take their first steps towards independence. A new film showing how care leavers in Hertfordshire can access social housing was shown, and Luke Rodgers from ‘Care Leaders’ gave an insightful presentation about the lived experience of being in care, how it can affect young people but also how it can help young people build life skills and resilience. The huge importance of long term relationships between young people and those who care for them was also a strong theme of Luke’s talk. Feedback about the event has been very positive.

Young people in care and care leavers – getting their views heard

Director, Jenny Coles, met with young people from CHICC on line for an informal discussion at the beginning of half term week. The young people spoke about a number of different ideas for improving things whilst living with the limitations of the pandemic, including a focus on smooth transitions to independence, a calendar of CHICC events to take part in and having things to look forward to. Meanwhile, younger members of CHICC made a short film about the most important things they want to see in the care system – for example trust, loyalty, dedication and love. Enabled by Scott Kennedy and Mark Hinton from Participation, the young people’s messages were brought to life with an animation which will be shown by Jenny at the November meeting of Directors of social care.

The CS Equalities Action Board welcomes you all

The group has been in existence for several years now and is ever-growing. With the renewed focus on Diversity & Inclusion from the Council’s strategy as well as the People and BAME network strategies, it is time for us to review our priorities. With that in mind, our focus over the next few months will involve:

Review of the Terms of Reference and with that our priorities, workstreams and ultimately a renewed SMART action plan

  1. Review of the membership including roles and responsibilities of representatives/workstream leads
  2. Re-launch of the group and thinking about how we represent ourselves and re-titling to a Board
  3. Development of a further communications strategy

We will be holding conversations with your representatives over coming weeks about the above steps and the timelines. Your input in this will be crucial as we take the actions forward and develop workstreams to meet the objectives in relation to our workforce as well as our community.

We also want to take this opportunity to celebrate Black History Month. Christine Oker, Families First Partnerships, Practice & Development Manager and newest member of the Board shares some personal insights with us all.

A personal reflection on Black History Month

Christine Oker

I am black, African, immigrant and British. I came to England at the age of 20 and have since settled, met and married my husband and have been blessed with two beautiful children. I have lived here most of my adult life, so this is home for us. I was born in Uganda – the Pearl of Africa, a country in East Africa.

Why am I telling you this – you may ask. October is Black History Month, an annual month where light is shone on black history. Personally, Black History Month is significant in that it is a time of celebration of black people’s achievements and contributions amidst the sufferings, struggles, adversity and challenges they faced and the many lives lost in the process which has given many of us far better experience of life than they had. It is also a time of remembrance, reflection of how much has been achieved to date, yet it also reminds us of how much more there is still to do as evident by the continued injustice and racism that black people and ethnic minorities continue to face today.

Black History Month for me is also about education and awareness – sharing our experiences, learning from each other and helping others understand our history, culture, experiences which have shaped and made each of us. Black history and culture are diverse and rich as evident in the sharing of personal experiences and history in the BAME coffee mornings, many of which resonated with me; and the many TV programmes, articles and galleries etc focused on black history in October, all contribute to our learning.

One of the TV programmes that resonated with me strongly this time, was on Channel 4 ‘The Talk’- explores how parents prepare their children for racism which was aired just before the start of Black History Month, summarised in the Financial Times as “a rite of passage no white child ever has to go through: a conversation with their parents about the impact their skin colour might have on their life. How to tell your black or mixed-raced child what it could entail”. This is a conversation that many black parents dread to have but know it is necessary and vital to have with their children at some point in their life – usually during their teen years. We too, had this conversation with our children which raises so many questions from children that parents must respond to. It reminds me of how much more there is still to do to embrace diversity and inclusion as we shouldn’t be having this discussion with our children, but the reality of the current world that we live in means that we must do.

My hope is that we work collectively to embrace and make diversity and inclusion fully integrated in all that we do as a Council – for us staff, as corporate parents and with communities that we serve in Hertfordshire. To achieve this, we must all embrace and proactively contribute at all levels.

  “Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment”
                                                       Oprah Winfrey

Christine Oker



New Service: Alcohol Telecoms support coming soon

More than six months have passed since pubs and restaurants closed, millions of parents started home-schooling their children, many of us shifted to working from home, and sales of alcohol spiked.

Research conducted by Alcohol Change UK (asked current and former drinkers to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the statement “overall, I have drunk more alcohol than usual during lockdown”; more than a quarter (28%) of people agreed. One in five (19%) of those surveyed have drunk alcohol as a way to handle stress or anxiety during lockdown.

Parents of under 18s were more likely to say that they had done so (30%) than non-parents (17%) and parents of adult children (11%). Of those who drank more heavily during lockdown (nine plus units on each drinking day), 40% had drunk as a response to stress or anxiety.

In response, a new free and confidential telecoms service is about to be launched in Hertfordshire to support individuals to reduce their drinking. This is provided by CGL Spectrum for people concerned about their recent drinking and who are at increasing risk of drinking at harmful and hazardous levels. It is a free service and people can also self-refer. Please see the attached for more information.

For Baby's Sake

Stevenage-based For Baby’s Sake Trust (previously the Stefanou Foundation) has launched a powerful new animated film from BAFTA award-winning director, Emma Lazenby, featuring the raw testimony of a mother and father who are on the For Baby’s Sake programme.

Jenny Coles, Director of Children’s Services, Hertfordshire County Council said that ‘Our partnership with For Baby’s Sake from the very beginning has enabled an integrated response to protecting babies and supporting families, where addressing the risks of domestic abuse is the key factor in young children living safely within their family.’ 

The For Baby’s Sake Trust (formerly the Stefanou Foundation) is calling on government, local authorities and charities to look at what new approaches can be taken to break the cycle of domestic abuse, such as the whole-family approach of the pioneering For Baby’s Sake programme which seeks to address the trauma that often sits at the heart of the issue. As a significant signal of radical change, the Trust wants to see the recent amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill currently in Parliament, which recognises children as victims in their own right, to be amended further so it is explicit in covering babies, including those still in the womb. Otherwise, those babies risk being overlooked, despite domestic abuse being particularly harmful to them and often starting in pregnancy.

The call comes as the Trust launches a powerful new animated film from BAFTA award-winning director, Emma Lazenby, featuring the raw testimony of a mother and father who are on the For Baby’s Sake programme, which works with the whole family to deal with the trauma and complex needs that are so often unaddressed for the parents, breaking the cycle and giving babies born into dysfunctional and abusive relationships a much more positive start in life.

The For Baby’s Sake programme has been running since 2015 and an evaluation of the first four years, led by King’s College London and published in May 2020, identified it as the first programme of its kind to ‘fill an important gap in provision’ through its ‘unique approach’, working with the whole family and starting in pregnancy, when babies need protection and parents are motivated to change.

Amanda McIntyre – CEO, For Baby’s Sake Trust said that ‘For Baby’s Sake is at the vanguard of innovation in breaking cycles of domestic abuse and giving babies the best start in life. For Baby’s Sake was created by a Hertfordshire charity, local families were the first to benefit from it and we are proud to deliver the programme in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council.  Indeed, HCC have been with us from the start.’ 

The film was launched at a virtual event in late September, supported by a discussion on new approaches to tackling domestic abuse, with speakers including Nicole Jacobs - Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, and Frank Mullane - CEO of Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) and the newly appointed first ambassador for the For Baby’s Sake programme.  It has also been selected for the Encounters Film Festival (the UK’s leading short and animated film festival), running from 18 September to 11 October 2020.

You can view the animated short film at: or find out more about the For Baby’s Sake programme and watch it on the For Baby’s Sake Trust website here:

SEND News Bulletin

Welcome to the latest Send News Bulletin - keeping you up to date with Hertfordshire's SEND information. 

This issue includes lots of ‘back to school’ information for SEND families, as well as other support and information.

We’d love to hear your feedback, either by commenting on an article’s page in the newsletter, or by emailing us at

You’re also invited to encourage any relevant families to subscribe to receive SEND News and/or share their stories with us if they’d like to participate in SEND news.

Families First News

Family first

Welcome to the November edition of Families First News

Reading Well for Children book collection in Hertfordshire Libraries

Reading Well for Children book collection in Hertfordshire Libraries

Children have had a lot to cope with this year. Reading Well for Children is a collection of books to help parents and carers to discuss the difficult issues with their children. The booklist of 33 titles provides quality assured information, advice and stories to support children’s mental health and wellbeing. The books are all selected and endorsed by health experts, children and families. The booklist is available here

Anyone supporting children and families can use the scheme to recommend helpful reading. The books are free to borrow and are available in Hertfordshire Libraries. The booklist is targeted at children in Key Stage 2 (aged 7-11) and includes a wide range of reading levels to support less confident readers, and to encourage children to read together with their siblings and carers. This means that many of the books are also suitable for younger children.

Dr Clare Etherington, GP, says “I don’t think books replace formal counselling and help, but they can empower and help family conversations. I think books can be starting points for things that are difficult to discuss”. Reading books such as Ruby’s Worry, Me and my Fear and What’s Going on inside my Head will help families to create the space for these helpful discussions.

All Hertfordshire’s large and medium libraries are now open. The website has information regarding current opening hours and the measures that have been put in place to ensure safety and social distancing. Staff can help customers to find the books and the reservation service is now available for books to be drawn in from other libraries – this service can be accessed in person or online.

This is a perfect time to make families aware of the Reading Well for Children collection available in their local library.



News from the Maternity Transformation Team


The NHS is launching a new mum & baby app which is free for mums-to-be in Hertfordshire and West Essex. The app will provide all the information they need for their pregnancy, birth and beyond in a single source.

The aim of the app is to improve women’s experiences of maternity care and ensure this is consistent no matter where they choose to give birth in the local area.  

From the start of pregnancy to early parenthood, this app will support women and their families with:

  • Choice on where to give birth; The Lister Hospital, Watford General Hospital or The Princess Alexandra Hospital
  • Access to essential information for all stages of the maternity journey
  • Personalised plans for their care during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

It offers an easy-to-navigate screen, multiple links and videos of a range of useful topics to include; emotional and physical wellbeing, mental health concerns, advice for partners, preparing for labour, your stay in hospital, post-delivery care, baby care basics, mum and baby checks, recovering from different types of delivery and medical conditions and advice for when back at home. Personal preferences for each stage of the maternity journey can be documented, stored within the app for sharing with care providers, generating conversations that support collaborative and personalised care plans.

The app will be available in both iOS and Android formats; go to your app store (Apple Store or GooglePlay) to download the app.




Food Poverty

`Food Poverty' has certainly been in the headlines recently, and HCC and the Council’s Money Advice Unit is committed to playing it’s part in making sure children don’t go hungry.

It is vitally important that children get free school meals during term-time.  As getting universal credit or other low-income benefits is one of the key ways to be eligible, the MAU has now got three major additions to its web-pages –

A free and simple-to-use benefit and budgeting calculator, supplied by Policy in Practice.

  • A short 30-40 minute self-teaching guide to Universal Credit
  • A link to the Healthy Start voucher scheme, to get free milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins for pre-school children

More information about school meals themselves, and an eligibility-checker, can be found on



HAFLS receives a visit from a very special furry guest during Family Learning Festival 2020

To mark the continuation of the Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 celebrations and the annual Family Learning Festival, Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service was delighted to welcome HYOC’s mascot, Yoci Bear to an online Family English session this October!

(YouTube link: )

Yoci came along to an Early Years Family English course where learners were discovering about the world of calligrams in helping develop a love of writing and expression for their children.


The ongoing pandemic has presented HAFLS with the challenge of how to continue delivering adult community learning to Hertfordshire residents. Through the fantastic efforts of our teachers and support team, we are now delivering a wealth of different courses online via Google Suite, as are our network of partners.

In terms of family learning, we deliver both family courses where parent and children participate, and adult-only courses such as this Family English course, designed to arm parents and guardians with tools, techniques and knowledge to help with their child’s education.

To browse and book onto our range of courses, visit

You can also follow us on Facebook where you can hear more about the latest courses running via ourselves and our partners.

Meanwhile, to learn more about the Hertfordshire Year of Culture 2020 and upcoming events, visit



Adopt East launched during National Adoption Week


We are one of eight local authorities who have joined forces to form new regional adoption agency Adopt East, in a bid to recruit more adopters.

The number of adoptions in England has fallen by third in the last four years and in the Eastern region there are currently 60 children waiting to find their adoptive family.

Adopt East is great news for Hertfordshire County Council as it will mean we can draw on expertise and skills from across the whole region to help us find the right families for our children as soon as possible.

Adopt East will work across local authorities in Bedford, Essex, Hertfordshire, Luton, Norfolk, Southend, Suffolk and Thurrock to find families for children who are waiting to find their forever home. Adoptionplus, Adoption UK  and Barnardo’s are also part of the partnership.

To find out more visit

To learn more about adopting in Hertfordshire, visit


Launch of Hertfordshire’s new Fostering Strategy

 Hertfordshire’s new Fostering Strategy: ‘One Team Built Around the Child’ has now been launched. You can view it here: and you can also see some short videos of Jenny Coles,  Councillor Teresa Heritage and Miranda Gittos talking about their thoughts on the new Strategy.

The Strategy aims to grow and improve our Fostering Service, in order to recruit and retain more in-house foster carers. It also encourages everyone involved in supporting our foster children to work together as One Team, following a set of new principles developed in partnership with a range of stakeholders, including foster carers and partner organisations.

Implementation has already started, with significant improvements being seen in the numbers of new foster carers being approved. Our new fostering recruitment campaign also starts this month, so do look out for this on social media and help us to share the positive messages about fostering with Hertfordshire.

Have your say in what should be included in the Plan for Children and Young People 2021

We would like to invite Children's Services staff to have their say on what should be included in the Plan for Children and Young People 2021. This plan will set out the priorities and direction for Children's Services from 2021, which will then feed into service planning, team planning and your own PMDS.

We will be holding a CS staff focus group on Wednesday 11th November at 15:00-15:55 on MS Teams.

This is your opportunity to let us know what you think will be most important for children, young people and families over the coming years and how you think Children's Services can make a difference. The focus group is open to all staff within CS and we look forward to hearing from staff from a range of services and roles.

If you would like to attend please email


Hertfordshire young people recognised for their resilience at this year’s YCH Services for Young People Awards


More than 60 young people from across Hertfordshire were recognised for their outstanding achievements at YCH Services for Young People Awards, which were held virtually this year.

The event took place during National Youth Work Week (2nd to 8th November) and highlighted the impact that Youth Workers and Personal Advisers have on helping young people overcome barriers and fulfil their potential, particularly during this challenging year.

Praising the young award-winners during the virtual ceremony, Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, Councillor Teresa Heritage said: “I am always impressed with how much resilience young people show but this year, more than ever, they have demonstrated remarkable perseverance and have adapted to difficult changes.”

Young people were nominated by their peers and their workers. This year’s winners included:

Andrada, a 17-year-old from Broxbourne won an award in recognition of her hard work and achievements while pursuing her talent for music production and song writing. She has used her skills to support and inspire other young people to write and produce their own music at the Waltham Cross Young People’s Centre and has received an award for her contribution to culture from Broxbourne Borough Council. Her commitment, drive and focus have resulted in Andrada being offered a place at college to pursue her passion for music even further. We are very excited to see what you achieve next, Andrada.

Nathan, a 22-year-old from Welwyn Hatfield was nominated for his award by his Employment Training Advisor, in recognition of his achievements over the past months he has been engaging with YCH Services for Young People. Nathan has developed his confidence and worked hard at improving his employability skills by participating in the NEET Project, undertaking a Prince’s Trust Teams programme, delivering group work sessions to other young people, attending networking events with employers and landing himself an apprenticeship in IT. Nathan has shown tremendous resilience and strength of character to keep pushing himself forward personally and professionally.

A 19-year-old from Dacorum demonstrated her determination to build her skills in one of the young parent’s projects. She is enhancing her confidence and has developed positive friendships within the group. She is very proactive in the care of her child whilst also building on her own overall wellbeing.

A 13-year-old from Three Rivers was awarded following her struggle with low self-esteem and confidence, having spent years as a child in Great Ormond Street Hospital. Her organisational skills made sure everyone had a role to play in the social action programmes.  Her confidence began to soar, and it is fantastic to see how she has blossomed into such a focused, considerate, caring and very ambitious person. 

For more information on the work of YCH Services for Young People please visit


Have your say in what should be included in the Plan for Children and Young People 2021

We would like to invite Children's Services staff to have their say on what should be included in the Plan for Children and Young People 2021. This plan will set out the priorities and direction for Children's Services from 2021, which will then feed into service planning, team planning and your own PMDS.

We will be holding a CS staff focus group on Wednesday 11th November at 15:00-15:55 on MS Teams.

This is your opportunity to let us know what you think will be most important for children, young people and families over the coming years and how you think Children's Services can make a difference. The focus group is open to all staff within CS and we look forward to hearing from staff from a range of services and roles.

If you would like to attend please email

Corporate News

Information for all HCC Staff - Implementation of a Smokefree policy at Hertfordshire County Council

Hertfordshire County Council is committed to encouraging and supporting employees and the general public to reduce harm from smoking.

A new Smokefree policy was therefore been approved by Hertfordshire County Council's Cabinet on 21 September 2020, making all council premises completely Smokefree zones from 1 January 2021.

This means that employees, visitors, contractors and county councillors can no longer smoke on any workplace premises owned or leased by the council, as well as in workplace vehicles.

What this means for staff:

  1. Smoking will be prohibited across all County Council sites where county council policies are in place (whether or not the premises are owned or leased)
  2. This includes
    1. on site - including previously designated smoking areas
    2. car parks and surrounding areas and within private vehicles when parked on HCC property
    3. workshops
    4. temporary offices
    5. residential care homes (exemptions for residents)
    6. work vehicles and vehicles used for work purposes
  3. The policy applies to all visitors, employees, contractors, volunteers, service users, elected members and staff from other organisations that use County Council sites
  4. Employees should not smoke when they are visible and representing the County Council whilst working from home (for example when videoconferencing).


  • Employees may use e-cigarettes only during designated unpaid break times
  • The use of e-cigarettes is only permitted in designated areas for this purpose


  • Anyone who does not comply with the Smokefree policy should be given a clear reminder that all sites are Smokefree and provided with the appropriate resources for support
  • Although compliance with this policy should be regarded as a manager support matter in the first instance, employees in breach of the policy may be subject to action in accordance with the Disciplinary Procedure.

Support available

For support to quit smoking or other lifestyle advice, there are lots of health benefits available to you as an employee of Hertfordshire County Council, including:

Free local stop smoking services for employees

FREE stop smoking support is available to everyone who lives or works in Hertfordshire to manage cravings at work and quit. Support includes refunded prescription costs (HCC staff only) and advice on e-cigarettes. You can get help in the way that works for you, including one-to-one, with a friend and by phone.

Contact Hertfordshire Health Improvement Service
Freephone: 0800 389 3998 (internal: 83071)
Text: 'SMOKEFREE' to 80818
Email  or visit

Free 24/7 access to the County Council's Employee Assistance Programme for employees
Freephone: 0800 1116 387
Use the access code:  Username/ Access Code: hertfordshire


Sessions for managers to who would like to ask questions about the implementation of the new policy will be held via MS Teams during November -

  • Tuesday 3rd November 1.00-2.00 MS
  • Thursday 12th November 9.30-10.30 MS

 To book onto one of these sessions please email

Further information

The full Smokefree policy plus further information for staff is available: 


Learning & Development

HSCP/HSAB Newsletter


Welcome to the latest joint HSCP/HSAB newsletter

Learning and Development weekly bulletins

 26 October - The Children’s Services Learning and Development Weekly Digital Bulletin is now available.

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

Social Workers in Disasters

  • Information Hubs on iLearn
  • Engaging with People & Learning Online

And training opportunities such as…

19 October - The Children’s Services Learning and Development Weekly Digital Bulletin is now available.

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

  • A Journey of Rediscovery Online Event
  • Information Hubs on iLearn
  • Practising during COVID-19 Content Hub

 And training opportunities such as…

 If you have any feedback please let us know by emailing

12 October - The Children’s Services Learning and Development Weekly Digital Bulletin is now available.

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

  • Black History Month
  • CS Roadshows
  • National Inclusion Week

 And training opportunities such as…

 If you have any feedback please let us know by emailing

Book now for Festival of Practice social care training event


Join in the debate about social care practice at the Festival of Practice 2020, a unique free online training event for professionals working in health and social care in Hertfordshire.

Organised by Adult Care Services (ACS), the Festival of Practice is taking place on 9-13 November. Sessions are available to staff from ACS and HPFT as well as other health and social care professionals from HCC and across Hertfordshire.

This year’s theme is “Challenging Practice” and pushing the boundaries. The full programme for the Festival of Practice is available online. Topics include race, transgender and the Model of Human Occupation.

Due to social distancing measures, the event is being held online for the first time. Booking for each session is on a first-come, first-served basis, via Eventbrite: book here to attend individual sessions​ (followed by an MS Teams invite).

Our keynote speaker is Lord Laming of Tewin, one of the UK’s most distinguished social workers, who will be speaking on Monday 9 November at 10-11.30am. A former Director of Social Services for Hertfordshire, Lord Laming also served as Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate in the 1990s and chaired the public inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié. To be sure of a space in the session, book now.

Other highlights include:

  • Mark Trewin, the Mental Health Social Work Lead at the Department of Health and Social Care, who will talk about Mental Health Act Reform on Thursday 12 November at 3.30-4.30pm.
  • Wayne Reid, Professional Officer and Social Worker for BASW England, will cover Anti-racism in social work on Tuesday 10 November at 10-11.30am.
  • Professor Pat Thane, visiting profession in History at Birkbeck College, University of London will consider Seventy years of social care: how did we reach the present crisis? on Monday 9 November at 2-3.30pm.
  • Sue Parkinson, Occupational Therapist and lead author of the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) Screening tool will speak about the Model of Human Occupation on Tuesday 10 November at 2-3.30pm.
  • Fiona Brook, founder of TSG Herts, Transgender and Non-binary Support Group and Taran, a trans male, will together cover the topic Working with Trans People: what do I need to know? on Wednesday 11 November at 2.30-3.30pm.

There are also interactive events for everyone to enjoy, including a:

  • Social care curry and quiz on 12 November at 6.30pm.
  • Virtual Dance session on Friday at 2.-3-30pm led by Chris Fonseca, a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher and global deaf ambassador specialising in Urban dance technique.
  • Film preview of Tell Me and a panel Q&A session on Friday 13 November at 11.30am-1pm.

Spaces are limited for all these events, so please make sure you book now to attend your chosen sessions.



Assistant Accountant Level 3 apprenticeship

 HAP logo

If you are an Assistant Accountant (or similar) in the organisation and contemplating furthering your development, now is your chance! Our Assistant Accountant (Level 3) apprenticeship may be perfect for you, and we want you to consider this great opportunity.

With this apprenticeship, you will learn; basic tax principles and how to submit a VAT return; gather, analyse and report information about income and expenditure to support decision-making & planning, and much more!

Did you know? Anyone can start up an apprentice at any time in your HCC career – the skills you learn are easily transferrable onto your job role!

Please email as soon as possible if you are interested, course start dates are yet to be confirmed.

If the Level 3 apprenticeship doesn’t suit you, we also offer levels 2, 4 and 7! Contact us at if you are interested or have any questions.

Further resources:

iLearn+ - Assistant Accountant (Level 3) Overview


Congratulations & Compliments

Samantha Young - You are a star!

Congratulations to Senior Planning Officer, Samantha Young, who win's October's `You are a star' award.

Pauline Davis nominated Samantha and said:

"Sam has been working tirelessly supporting our ISL service, from a school planning perspective, in the delivery of its SEND strategy and transformation. She has successfully planned and commissioned an extensive programme of special school expansions, the first for many years, as well as other SEND related projects (including the re-building of one of our special schools). Significantly, Sam has prepared the very first Special School Place Strategy for the county council, identifying the council’s need for provision in the medium to long term.  This has been a major achievement which is now going through Panel and Cabinet into the public arena. In essence, Sam has made a major contribution and has ‘gone many extra miles’ to achieve the delivery of some of the council’s strategic aims for children and young people with SEND.

"Sam embodies the council’s values and behaviours in everything she does. SEND is an area of work which specifically requires working in a multi-disciplinary way both within the council and with our partner organisations, including schools and parent/carer organisations.  It is very citizen focused.  Sam has successfully worked with all parties, gaining their confidence.  She has striven to ensure that there are sufficient places to meet the growing need for special school and specialist provision places for Hertfordshire’s children with SEND. 

"She has commissioned work which has saved revenue funding and has used limited capital in the most efficient way. She conducts herself with integrity, takes great pride in getting things right and coming up with good solutions to problems. These achievements deserve to be recognised with a ‘You’re a Star’ award."

Well done Samantha.

Edward Nicholls - You are a star!

Congratulations to Edward (Eddie) Nicholls who wins October's `You are a star' award. 

Eddie, a Support Officer, was nominated by Kath Gould who said:

"At the beginning of lockdown, CSS was bombarded with new ways of working, risk assessments, guidance, resources for children and families etc.

"I sent all of these documents to my Eddie who devised a directory called: Resource Toolkit during COVID 19. It has since been circulated to all teams across the county. This took Eddie hours and hours to complete and is an amazing piece of work, appreciated by all of the managers who have received it including Jenny Coles and Matt Ansell.

"The above demonstrates how Eddie has compiled a document that saves social workers considerable time from searching through all of the separate documents received since March 2020. The form is uploaded to the Shared Drive, is therefore accessible to all and will be updated on a monthly basis. Other teams will now be using this document as a foundation to build on.  Eddie continues to update the directory and when it was initially completed in August, it was sent to all Assessment and FSS teams as a foundation for them to build on too.  Eddie is a valued member of the Business Delivery Team."

Useful Links

Children's Services COVID-19 Testing

In order to ensure you have access to the latest information we have set up a COVID Testing page within the Children’s Services intranet page. We will ensure that the latest position on testing is hosted here so that you can access this information quickly and with ease.

You can find the page at:

SEND News Bulletins

19 October -

Send News Bulletin

Connected Bulletin

The latest addition of Connected, our Continuous Improvement bulletin, is now available containing examples of good practice from across the service, updates on Ofsted activity, learning from audits and Practice Weeks as well as the 12th issue of the performance newsletter.

Read the full newsletter at:


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