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We find out what it is like to work for the London Borough of Havering’s children’s services.

Read full Council Spotlight feature in the Jan - March issue of Sanctuary Social Work News

Having introduced the first integrated multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) for children and adults in London last year, it is no surprise that the London Borough of Havering has other plans in the pipeline to improve services for families in the community.

We speak to Havering’s newly appointed Assistant Director, Tim Aldridge, about streamlining processes to enable more direct work and how a collaborative, multi-agency approach is inherent across the service.

What are your first impressions of working for Havering?

Since arriving, I have been really struck by the enthusiasm, commitment and passion of the practitioners that I’ve spoken to. There are so many strengths here; Havering feels like a very safe place to practice.

What do you intend to bring to your role?

My key priorities are:
  • Focusing on developing trusting relationships with families. We are planning to streamline processes to give practitioners more time working directly with families to make and sustain positive change.
  • Ensuring that our response is proportionate, allowing professionals the space to decide on the best course of action. Our early help service will be working closer with the social work teams to support families with more complex needs and respond to risk appropriately. 
  • Working towards creating a culture that puts practice first. It’s clear to me that practitioners here choose this career because they want to make a real difference to families, but often the working environment can inhibit this. This work should be about more than conducting assessments and recording plans. We will be supporting practitioners to develop their skills with a whole-systems approach to evidence-based practice. 
  • To collaborate and co-produce wherever possible. I am confident the vast majority of families will respond to genuine efforts to engage with them. This includes involving families and young people more in how the service is developed. 
To read the full interview with Tim Aldridge and to find out what you can expect if you join Havering’s Children’s Services, take a look at the January to March 2016 issue of Sanctuary Social Work News.  

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