Commenting on the meeting, Councillor Perry said: “As the third largest shire county in the country, our proven track record as a consistently high performing Children’s Services Authority means we are very well placed to influence national policy and play a leading role in the transformation of children’s social care through the Department for Education’s (DfE) ‘Partners in Practice’ initiative. In this, we are one of just seven local authorities to have been selected by the DfE to be a ‘Partner’.”
Councillor Mans added: “We were extremely pleased and honoured to welcome the Secretary of State and the Chief Social Worker to the County Council. We took the opportunity to inform them about the good progress we are making to further improve our work to achieve the best outcomes possible for vulnerable children.
“Thanks to Partners in Practice, we have been able to trial new ways of working, including being able to explore alternative practice and processes that will enable our social workers to be more agile and flexible in how they work. In this way, they are able to spend more time supporting vulnerable families and work to reduce the need for children to come in to the Authority’s care by enabling them to remain safely with their own families.”
Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, said: “Social workers are the heroes, often unsung, of our society. We want every child to have a happy and safe childhood and social workers play a vital role in transforming the lives of some of our most disadvantaged children. I was pleased to see the innovative work being done in Hampshire to improve support for families in need of additional help.
“Through initiatives like Partners in Practice we want to help councils like Hampshire develop new and effective ways of making a real difference to children’s lives.”
Chief Social Worker, Isabelle Trowler, said: “It’s been so inspiring to see how social workers are working hard to turn back the tide towards family support and reunification. I am pleased to see the confident and skilled practice at play here."
Hampshire County Council’s Children’s Services are rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features by Ofsted. As well as being selected by the DfE to be a Partner in Practice, the County Council has also been charged, by the Government, to lead and guide improvements in practice and management of children’s services in Buckinghamshire, on the Isle of Wight, Torbay, Medway, Portsmouth and Southampton.