Children's Services monthly bulletin

Children's Services
John Gregg


Another year has flown by and we've a lot to be proud of. 

You can see some of our achievements and challenges in the timeline we produced for the recent Department of Education visit.

With so much happening, it's easy to keep moving on to the next thing and not reflecting on what we do and what we can learn from it. It's important we all take some time to do this. I know it's something I'm going to carve out some time for in my diary.

Here's to a productive 2017 where we continue to make a difference to the lives of our children and young people.

John Gregg, Director of Children's Services

News and updates

What life is like in Children's Services

Last year you told us what it's like to work in Children’s Services through a health check survey and focus groups. More than 200 people took part. 

Some of the key things you told us were:

  • your casework is becoming more complex
  • you want to work in a family friendly environment and to have a good work/life balance
  • you feel you do things that other people could do instead
  • you would like to spend more time in direct contact with children and families
  • you feel we have a positive learning culture
  • Signs of Safety has improved your ability to work positively with children and families
  • you feel we need to improve how we communicate, consult and involve you in proposals to change the organisation.

Find out what we are doing and planning to do as a result of what you told us

CS leadership

New year, new leadership team

Children’s Services is welcoming three new strategic leads to its management team this week.

Jane Brooks, Neil MacDonald and Paul Smith joined the Council on 9 January and between them they will bring more than 70 years of experience.

You can also find out more about our new Strategic Leads on Beacon.

Transformation Programme updates

Work is progressing on each of the projects in our work to transform Children's Services and put children and their outcomes at the heart of what we do. Here's a quick round up of what's happening.

  • Early Help - the Connecting Communities consultation has now finished and the feedback is being analysed and will be reported to Cabinet in March. 
  • Business process - focus groups with services have helped us to map what a child's journey looks like across all our services. We're checking these back with the people who took part. 
  • Workforceinitial ideas on our future workforce design are being drawn up and these will be start to be shared for comment and discussion towards the end of January.
  • Edge of Care - we are looking at different options for how we deliver Edge of Care services in the future and will be reporting back to the Transformation Board in January.
  • Fostering - the Everest scheme for fostering children with complex needs is underway and we're working with St Christopher's to recruit carers. Information evenings have taken place and one child has already been placed.
  • Supported Accommodation - we are looking at options to reduce the number of young people in supported accommodation and help them to move onto independent living.
  • Residential redesign - consultation is underway on proposals to change how we provide residential care for children and young people in the city.
  • Recommissioning of external residential care - we have had interest from more than 20 providers who would like to work with us.

If you have questions or comments e-mail

We've also organised a series of briefings about the transformation programme to help keep you updated. You can book a place on Beacon now.

The briefings are on:

  • 12 January 12noon – 1pm - Committee Room 3
  • 16 January 2pm – 3pm - Committee Room 3
  • 18 January 9.30am – 10.30am - Council Chamber
  • 25 January 9.30am – 10.30am - Council Chamber
  • 31 January 4.00pm – 5.00pm - Committee Room 2
  • 2 February 1.00pm – 2.00pm - Committee Room 3 

Requesting an internal transfer

New Council guidance is helping to provide social workers with opportunities to transfer roles within the Council to help them widen skills and knowledge, to tackle new challenges or gain experience to help them get promoted.

Find out more and read the internal transfer request guidance on Beacon. 

Christmas gifts

Santa given lots of presents for city's looked after children

Thanks to all the generous donations received, Father Christmas had lots of presents to take to the annual Christmas party for looked after children.

The party was for children who are looked after aged 12 and under. Father Christmas attended the party and provided presents for all the children. We were able to fill two vans full of lovely presents for children across the city.

Other presents were sent to children’s centres and neighbourhood teams as well. 

A big thank you to everyone who bought presents. You helped to make sure that Christmas was special for our looked after children. 

Top tips for working with young people - from our young people

As part of '11 million take over day' Principal Social Worker Lee Pardy McLaughlin met with young people to find out how we could improve what we do. Here are their six top tips for social workers working with children and young people: 

  1. Where possible, keep siblings together and when not possible, have a proper conversation with the young people involved.
  2. Call if you are running late or can’t get to a meeting.
  3. Be honest about what actions can be achieved and the reasons why some are not.  All actions to be completed within the timescales agreed with the young person, and where there is slippage tell us why. 
  4. Please take time to celebrate our achievements. When we do well share this with us, and tell us we've done well. Find out about our achievements - big and small.
  5. Ensure that children and young people are involved in their plans and assessments.
  6. Send birthday cards and well done cards. This means a lot to us and it shows we know you care.

And you can find more about how our children and young people got involved in takeover day on the Council's website.

Frances goes paperlite

Maternity leave led to a fresh paperlite start for Frances

Social worker Frances Virnuls decided that returning from maternity leave was the perfect time for a fresh start – so she took up the challenge to go paperless. 

Frances, a Senior Caseworker with the Family Placement Service’s Recruitment and Assessment Team, was off work for 14 months having her second baby, and when she returned she found things had changed. 

She said: “Having just returned from maternity leave, I was hit with new hardware, new software and a service restructure!" 

Read more

Your learning

LCS MOT days 

Start the New Year with a refresh of your LCS work tray.

If you are overwhelmed with the tasks that you have in your work tray in LCS, then book an 1 ½ hour slot with LCS Help, who will take your work tray through an MOT to help identify improvements and changes you can make to the use of LCS.

The MOTs take place on:

  • 17 January 
  • 26 January 
  • 7 February 
  • 15 February 

You can book one of the following times:

9.30am – 11am; 11am – 12.30pm; 1pm – 2.30pm; 2.30pm – 4pm

E-mail to book your slot.  

Assessment and Accreditation Briefings

The government’s plan is that all Social Workers working in statutory child and family social work should be assessed and accredited by 2020.

We've organised some briefings to update you on the proposals and how we will support you.

Briefings for practitioners

  • 26 January, 10am -11.30am, Moat House Leisure Centre 
  • 30 January, 2pm – 3.30pm, Moat House Leisure Centre  

Book a place through Resourcelink. Limited spaces available.

Read the knowledge and skills statements for child and family social work 

Putting practice first

Putting Practice First 

We have organised a conference for practioners across the country that will look at how we can improve outcomes for children, young people and their families

Key speakers at the event on 24 January include:

  • Isabelle Trowler—Chief Social Worker for Children and Families
  • Dez Holmes—Director Research in Practice
  • Professor Sue White—University of Sheffield

Find out more about the conference and how to book on Beacon.

Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty (DOLS) training

At the end of this bitesize training course you will be able to understand:

  • the legislation and recent case law relating to Mental Capacity Act, and Deprivation of Liberty
  • how this legislation impacts on young people and their families
  • the learning and apply this into professional practice and decision making.

The course takes place on 27 February, 2pm to 4.30pm in New Committee Room 3. You can book a place on Beacon.

Leadership in Practice

Coventry is part of the West Midlands' Social Work Teaching Partnership, along with the University of Birmingham and councils across the region.

The partnership wants the West Midlands to become a nationally recognised centre of excellence and innovation for practice leadership. The approach will be reviewing the effectiveness of current methods of teaching and learning and introducing new and creative approaches to build a practice learning culture from the student and newly qualified social worker level to Assistant Directors in both Adult and Children's Services.  Social workers will have opportunities to lecture and co-deliver at the University and University teaching staff will work alongside social workers back in practice. The aim is to meet the needs of local employers to attract and retain the very best practitioners by offering a career pathway with stronger links between academia and practice.

There will be secondment opportunities advertised shortly for eight regional Learning and Research Associates, supported by a Project Manager and an Administrator. If you are interested or would like to find out more contact Lee Pardy-McLaughlin.

In case you missed it...

Get in touch

Email with your updates, comments or suggestions.

January 2017


Our performance - December 2016

Average caseloads:
- RAS - 25
Neighbourhoods - between 17-20
- IRO  (CP) -  71
- IRO (LAC) - 67
-CDT – 18
-LAC – 19
-R21 - 19

Children and Family First assessment timeliness 


Child Protection Plans



27.1% of all CAFs were held by either Health or schools against a target of 40%


Number of Looked After Children



At the end of December,

39 children have been adopted, 19 children placed for adoption and 27 applications have been lodged with the court (since April 2016).

Children's Services training

*New updates*

Children's Services Learning and Development Portfolio

The Children’s Services Training Portfolio is available on Beacon so that the service can view the training offer and how to book onto the sessions available.
Access the portfolio

Children’s Portfolio 2016 – 17

Foster Care Portfolio

Useful links
British Association of Social Workers
Research in Practice
Community Care
Family Law Week
Health and Care Professions Council