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Maureen Roscoe-Goulson manages the Children and Young People Services (CYPS) North & East Ipswich Social Care Team at Suffolk County Council and was awarded Team Leader of the Year 2015 at the Social Worker of the Year Awards. Her nomination highlighted excellence in coping with organisational change, securing positive feedback from Ofsted and investing in staff. We find out more about the woman behind the award in Sanctuary Social Work News, who is also Suffolk’s longest-serving Child In Need team manager. 

My journey into social work... 

Was a little unconventional. In many ways, social work was a second career for me. It was a career choice I arrived at after having my daughter and arriving back to the UK following a life abroad. I had always been interested in social work as a career, and wanted to be part of something rewarding and that I could develop with. Like many people though, I didn’t know exactly what was involved until I researched the profession and took a year’s voluntary role at what was then, a family centre. 

After very little deliberation, I started my training and qualified in 2003, studying whilst my daughter was at nursery. I started within frontline child protection work and never looked back; it’s hard to believe that was 13 years ago now!

My typical day... 

Has to be planned with flexibility in mind. It is a large team with ten social workers and other supporting staff, and as with all frontline social work teams, we have to adapt very quickly to whatever needs our attention. Sometimes, my carefully laid plans for my day will need to change when I walk in the door but the variation of the work means every day is different.

My team is incredibly busy as we take on all new assessments for the area and every case remains with us from the initial contact through to the first court hearing, if required. If a Supervision Order is granted by the Court, this will come back or remain in our team to manage. Crucially, this offers the child, their family and/or carer a consistent point of contact with the same social worker. We also take on private law cases as well (Section 7s and Section 37s) where parents have been unable to resolve disputes and the court asks for the local authority’s assistance.

My proudest moments... 

Often come along unexpectedly. I occasionally read about children, who following assessment and the court process, were adopted and are now leading very happy, safe and fulfilling lives. Other times it’s seeing families in the community that have come through difficult times and are still together. It’s in those moments that you know the work you do really counts and makes a difference. 

Winning Team Leader of the Year was a personal highlight. In all honesty, reading the testimonials from my peers was enough for me. When I discovered I had been shortlisted I remember saying to my line manager “I really don’t think I’ll win”, and so when my name was called out at the awards I was incredibly shocked, happy and humbled; all in that order.

The most challenging part of my job... 

Is trying to maintain an overall good standard of practice with a high workload; a challenge most social work professionals will empathise with. To address some of the pressure points, I work closely with my equivalent in the Early Help Service. Just as an example, together we attend a forum with all the high schools and junior schools in our area. This helps them understand the context in which we’re working and vice-versa. In fact, we proactively encourage such organisations to regularly remain in contact with us. I also meet monthly with Ipswich Hospital Maternity Services to encourage greater sharing of information to ensure children receive the best possible service.

My main motivation... 

Has changed over the years, although my desire to make a positive difference to children remains unchanged. 

My main motivation now, as a team leader and a practice educator, is seeing those I support develop. Supervision is incredibly important here; not just for newly qualified staff, but for experienced practitioners too. It’s a chance to think about what we are doing and what we hope to achieve.

Words cannot describe when you’re supervising and working with somebody and you can see when they’ve just ‘got it’ and that you’ve helped them get there in some small way. None of us are here forever, but in my role I feel like I am somehow leaving a small footprint for others to follow. I want people to come into the service, stay here and pass their knowledge onto others.

After work... 

It’s so important to find a work life balance. This is why I encourage my team to arrive and leave on time rather than being overrun. Me personally, I enjoy spending time with my family, walking my dog and absolutely love a good crime thriller. Ian Rankin is one of my favourite authors and believe it or not, reading helps me decompress before I go to sleep!

Email a friend
Beverley Williams MBE, 18 August 2016, 07:52 PM
It was so inspiring and refreshing to read the article on Maureen Roscoe-Goulso. She appeared to have captured her day so accurately.
Sanctuary Social Care, 19 August 2016, 09:07 AM
Hi Beverley,

Thank you for your comment, we're glad you enjoyed reading our blog!

Kind regards,
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