‘It’s a false economy to make cuts to social work teams’ : Community Care

There’s excitement in the air within Hampshire County Council children’s services. After two years of careful preparation, the department’s Transforming Social Care programme is about to become reality.

The programme will see the department and its staff embrace a new strengths-based approach to practice that’s been built on extensive research and consultation with social workers, children, families, academics and partner agencies.

“We’ve taken our time on this and gone about it in a really considered way,” says Steve Crocker, director of children’s services. “We’ve taken the time needed to think about how and why we would change the service and to ask how the changes will improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families.

“We’ve also spent time talking to social workers, managers and service users about their experience of children’s social care and asking them how we can do it better.”

Strengths-based practice

Stuart Ashley, assistant director of children’s services at Hampshire County Council, says the move to more strengths-based practice is an important one.

“By our very nature social workers – and I include myself in this – want to fix things, but sometimes we’re not best placed to solve the problems families have,” he explains. “So, our approach is now much more about empowering families to begin to help themselves in different ways. It’s about unlocking some of the great potential that all families have and all children have.


Source: ‘It’s a false economy to make cuts to social work teams’ : Community Care

Built to last: Hampshire’s social work practice framework : Community Care

Something’s afoot in Hampshire. Across the county social workers are experimenting with new ways to work with children and families.

In Fareham and Gosport, they’re working collaboratively with families to create their own safety plans. In the New Forest, teams are discovering new strength-based tools to use with families; and in Havant, they’re challenging each other to use strengths-based language so that they focus not on reducing the number of children in care but on how best to keep children safely at home with their parents.

Bit by bit what these frontline social workers are finding is feeding into the creation of Hampshire’s new practice model – a model shaped by social workers and informed by an extensive evidence review.

Hampshire is developing its new model as part of its activities as one of the Department for Education’s Partners in Practice and, crucially, the model is designed to be ever evolving.

Social worker feedback

“In Hampshire we’ve not really ever said ‘this is


Source: Built to last: Hampshire’s social work practice framework : Community Care