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Interview Article April 26th, 2022
Delivery • Health • Justice • Legitimacy

Stories of change in children's social care: Kim Quigley, ASYE Coordinator at Warrington Borough Council

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.@CPI_foundation, @FrontlineSW and a team of social workers have been supporting local authorities around the UK to make small changes in the sector. Read their stories.

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"Small changes could achieve a shift in people’s thinking, how we communicate with each other, and how we respect and value each other." @WarringtonBC

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.@CPI_foundation @FrontlineSW & a team of social workers are working with @TowerHamletsNow @wandbc @WarringtonBC to understand how system change in #childrenssocialcare can happen in their local context

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What do you think about the process of making small changes?

I’ve really enjoyed the process, it's made me reflect on the specific changes I could make in my role and within the service. It’s also been an opportunity for managers and colleagues to come together and think about how we could make things easier for our children’s teams. So I think it’s already having an impact because it encourages us to think differently.

For my role as the assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) Coordinator, it allows me to be objective when advocating for newly qualified social workers, but also helps me to remain neutral, listen to the challenges, and support them to take it back to their manager.

In terms of how we can make small changes for the newly qualified social worker cohort, that’s something I’m really keen to work on. They’re very new into this career and it's a particular challenge trying to learn the role as well as adapt to the changes that COVID-19 has brought. I would like to have an impact in making sure that we can make life a little easier for them to do their job, go out there and work with families.

What are your hopes for the project?

My hopes would be that social workers see a difference, morale is high and we retain staff through what’s been a difficult two years. I also hope that every ASYE social worker feels well supported, feels valued and is given every learning opportunity -  this is something we’re doing a lot of work on already. We should always be open to looking at what else we can do differently.

What small changes are you interested in that your local authority is focusing on?

I attended the vision workshop with one of the newly qualified social workers and other practitioners across the service, and I could really see the issues and ideas they had about what they hoped would be different.

In my role, I would like to explore feedback further as this is so important in ASYE. It helps to build confidence and recognises the work the social workers are doing. It's important to know that you’re doing okay in your profession. I would like to make small changes to see that carry on and increase, not just at those points where it's required, but we do that more regularly and that becomes the norm.

There will be an ASYE refresh from September, so there’s going to be changes in the programme. It seems like a really good time for Crescendo and the ASYE refresh to bring me to the forefront of implementing some of those changes across our service at the same time.

What do you think that small changes could achieve, and why does that matter to you personally?

Small changes could achieve a shift in people’s thinking, how we communicate with each other, and how we respect and value each other. One of our strengths as a local authority is that we’re very supportive of each other, and we use a systemic practice model so that relationships are at the heart of everything we do.

The small changes will be the things that matter to the frontline workers. Make their job a little easier to free up time to work with families. It matters to me personally that I have a role where I can influence that and make those changes. If a social worker is having a challenging time, I want to be able to do something about it.

"Small changes could achieve a shift in people’s thinking, how we communicate with each other, and how we respect and value each other."

What has your journey with Crescendo been like?

I’ve done three sessions and I’ve found it really helpful to collectively as a service explore barriers to doing our job effectively, and ideas for how we can make it work better. So I’ve really enjoyed it, and it's given me food for thought in my own role. For example, I facilitate peer group supervision for ASYE social workers. When I bring them together in May, we’re going to explore what could be different about the programme. I want them to give me feedback on the changes they’re seeing in their teams and the impact that’s making.

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Stories of change in children's social care

How can real system change be achieved in children’s social care, so that services prioritise relationships and empower practitioners? We are supporting local authorities to unlock social workers’ potential.

Read their stories

Written by:

Kim Quigley ASYE Coordinator at Warrington Borough Council
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