23 July 2019
Jersey’s Children’s Minister has announced that 17 new social workers have so far been recruited to permanent positions following a hard-hitting international and local campaign.
The Let’s Be Honest recruitment campaign was launched earlier this year by the Government of Jersey to build a substantively permanent and highly-skilled workforce of social workers.
More than 300 qualified and newly-qualified social workers enquired about the roles, and the campaign is continuing with further recruitment fairs due to take place this autumn.
Children's Minister, Senator Sam Mézec, said: “Having a stable and highly-skilled workforce of social workers is crucial as we seek to protect the welfare of our most vulnerable children and young people in Jersey.
“These latest figures show an increase in confidence in the improvements in Jersey’s Children’s Services and is excellent news as we work towards building a sustainable workforce. The recruitment and workforce strategy is beginning to impact upon staff stability and is providing a platform on which good practice can develop and flourish.”
The recruitment process for a permanent Director of Safeguarding is well underway with longlisting/technical interviews taking place this week.
In the meantime, a social worker who helped to transform and lead a national Children’s Service out of crises to excellent results has taken on the temporary position of Interim Director of Children’s Safeguarding.
Sue Butcher, a former director and chief officer, has achieved major improvements in children’s services at local authority, regional and national levels and has extensive experience over many years working in various local authorities.
Sue replaces Nancy Meehan, who is returning to the UK after leading the improvement journey for 16 months in Jersey.
In 2016, Ms Butcher led a successful improvement journey as Deputy Director of Children’s Services in Dudley, following an Ofsted “inadequate” judgement.
This led to her being personally praised in the Ofsted report.
Over the next couple of months, Team Jersey and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) will also be working with Children’s Service on a new Jersey Practice Model. This is a major piece of work that is ongoing with staff to agree a practice model, which will define and frame the professional identity of the service.
Mark Rogers, Director General for Children, Young People, Education and Skills said that important progress is being made across Children’s Services.
He said: “Living options for children in the care of the Government have been the subject of a review and a new Sufficiency Strategy is being implemented which will ensure that more children will have access to a broader range of foster care, including a soon-be-supplemented intensive fostering scheme. Smaller children’s homes are already offering a more tailored personal service akin to family life; whilst the important contribution of the edge of care team has been successful in maintaining more children in their own homes and communities whenever it is possible and safe to do so.
“Child protection planning has been properly re-established, and work is now more effective in identifying and responding to the risk of significant harm. Significant work has been necessary to understand the child in need population and progress has been steady in securing plans for each child and a visiting frequency to ensure the delivery of good quality services. Work is now progressing to build on the successful implementation of services to children who go missing by extending the service to vulnerable children.
“Performance management and quality assurance have been strengthened and are yielding valuable insights, which support managers and practitioners as they seek to continue to improve services.”
A team from Children, Young People, Education and Skills, accompanied by Human Resources officers, have attended two recruitment fairs in the UK and will attend two more later this year in London for the Let’s be Honest Campaign.
During the first recruitment fair, in Birmingham, the team registered more than 177 enquiries. They had 131 enquiries at the second fair, in Manchester.