Practical discussion with Jenni Randall and David Akinsanya, providing advice for front line staff and students.

Jenni was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her social work services. She is an independent social worker and therapist working primarily with children and young people who are or have been in public care.  David is a successful campaigner for Looked After children having been in care himself. They both are trainers at David Niven Associates, giving the unique perspective that Jenni was David’s social worker. 

The experts begin by giving their perspective of how practice has changed over the last 15 years, most notably how fragmented care work has become. Although this is the case, they believe a long lasting relationship with children in care is what they need most. Having been in care himself, David emphasises that some children in care need professional care rather than foster families. Alternative options appear not to be available anymore and the focus of this work needs to be on what benefits the children.

Jenni discuss the excellent areas of practice, even “against the odds” due to cuts and attitudes in social work.

However they also highlight some very important areas of work with Looked After children which needs improving. For this we hope that those of you in practice can learn from their experiences and continue to help improve the system.


Jenni advises new social workers to be able to put themselves in the shoes of the families, children or adults of those they work with. Develop the skills to listen and understand how they feel, as you will do a much better job as a social worker.

David advocates getting your hands dirty. Building relationships with those you work with is so beneficial and he states that you should aim to work with people directly rather than ‘sitting behind a desk’.


Rolf Harris was convicted this week of all counts against him. I was asked to give a variety of BBC interviews and so have included one at the end of the programme. I do hope that these revelations encourage more people who have experienced abuse to come forward and feel like they are being listened to.


Thank you to Sheena Felton for leaving a SpeakPipe message which I have included. Also to Alba Digital Media for producing this weeks podcast.

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