065 Dept for Education Review of LSCBs  Alan Wood

065 Dept for Education Review of LSCBs Alan Wood

Alan Wood has been asked by the Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan MP and the Minister, Edward Timpson MP to lead a fundamental review of the role and functions of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LCSBs). This will include the child death review process and consideration of how the intended centralisation of serious case reviews (SCRs) will work effectively at local level.

Alan was a previous guest on the programme when President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

His CV includes:-

2014: appointed, secretary of state to review children’s services, Birmingham city council; 2013: commissioner, children’s services, Doncaster council (appt by secretary of state to review its children’s services); 2006-present: corporate director, children and young people’s services, London borough (LB)of Hackney; 2002-12: chief executive, The Learning Trust (a not-for-profit organisation delivering all education services in LB Hackney); 2000-2001: director of education, LB Lambeth; 1997-2000: deputy director/assistant director of education, LB Lambeth; 1990-1997: head of pupil support and special educational needs, LB Southwark; 1977-1990: history teacher.

President ADCS; 1982-90: Labour councillor, Camden council.

Recorded from his phone in the Dept for Education

Thanks , as always , to Alba Digital Media for technical support in making this Podcast.

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064 Review of Safeguarding Children Boards

064 Review of Safeguarding Children Boards


The Government announced just before Christmas a review of Local Safeguarding Children Boards so I invited David Jones , National Chair of the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs, to be my guest.

David is a registered social worker, qualifying in 1974.  He was appointed in 2010 as the Independent Chair of Leicester Safeguarding Children and Adults Boards. His varied career and substantial experience have focused on social work and social services in general, children’s services and child protection.  He helped launch the Association of Independent LSCB Chairs and is currently the National Chair.

David has worked internationally as Chair, Adviser and Consultant to several groups, policy committees, advisory boards and councils. He retired after 4 years as honorary President of the International Federation of Social Workers in 2010 and continues to play a leading role coordinating The Global Agenda for Social Work.

David has held several national roles in government departments and agencies, working with Parliament, Minsters and government officials, retiring from the post of Deputy Director (Children) and Professional Adviser in the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) in 2010.  He was awarded his doctorate in social work in 2009 for research into the evaluation and inspection of social work.


Thanks, as always to Alba Digital Media for their technical support in making this Podcast.

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063 Michael Hames.  Police pioneer against child abuse

063 Michael Hames. Police pioneer against child abuse

My guest is Michael Hames who I’ve known for 20 years and whom I worked with on several initiatives and investigations starting when he was at Scotland Yard.

He was born in Colchester, Essex and after education at the Colchester Royal Grammar School, joined the Metropolitan Police in 1962.  He served for 32 years  and held a variety of management positions at senior rank from 1970.  During much of this time, he specialised in the detection of sex offenders.

For the last 5 years of his service, he was the Detective Superintendent in charge of the Obscene Publications Branch at New Scotland Yard. During his time there, he re-focussed the work to encompass the proactive detection of paedophile offenders and it has subsequently been renamed the Paedophilia Unit of the Organised Crime Group.  He developed and refined, the use of the first National Index of convicted and suspected paedophiles until the formation of the National Criminal Intelligence Service in 1993, when the Index was transferred to the Home Office Unit.

He supervised the operational unit which achieved outstanding success and world wide acknowledgment of its pioneering work to combat paedophiles.

He was the U.K. Interpol representative  on the Standing Working Group on Offences Against Children.  He chaired the sub-committee on law Enforcement methods and was the leading police advocate of legislation to ban possession of child pornography throughout the member States, as well as extra-territorial legislation to deal with child abusers who travel and commit offences outside their jurisdiction.  He has regular contact with non governmental agencies such as E.C.P.A.T. (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of children for sexual purposes), The National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, in the U.S., as well as law enforcement agencies throughout the world.

He was also  a member of the Sexual Offences Steering Committee at Scotland Yard.  He has carried out research into Organised and Ritual Abuse of Children and is an acknowledged authority on the subject of Child Sexual Abuse.  He has lectured widely at home and abroad and published articles in the press and professional journals.  He frequently appears on Television and Radio.

He is now an independent consultant, advising and training at the request of  Local Authorities, Charities and Private Companies on a variety of subjects including Child Protection, Staffing issues, Strategic Management and Selection of Staff.  His speciality remains the combating of Child Abuse in Organisations.

He holds a post graduate Diploma in Management Studies.  He holds the British Psychological Society’s Level ‘B’ Certificate in psychometric testing.

His autobiography, ‘The Dirty  Squad’ was published by Little Brown in April 2000.

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062  DONALD FINDLATER– Lucy Faithfull Foundation

062 DONALD FINDLATER– Lucy Faithfull Foundation

Lucy Faithfull Foundation believes that child sexual abuse is preventable and that we can have a society where children are free from sexual abuse and exploitation.  Their purpose is to safeguard children and young people from sexual abuse by preventing it and responding to it. 

Their stated mission is to prevent abuse from happening by working in partnership with voluntary and statutory sector professionals as well as the general public.

This week saw the launch of a major initiative by the Foundation—

A national internet video campaign has been launched to encourage people who view images of child sexual abuse online to seek help.

The videos feature warnings of the harm done by viewing such images.

The Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF) said it was aimed to deter would-be offenders and encourage them to seek therapy before being arrested.

Donald Findlater is their Director of Research and Development

For seven years, Donald was Manager of the Wolvercote Clinic, the UK’s only residential assessment and treatment centre for men with allegations of or convictions for child sexual abuse. This followed a career in the Probation Service where, latterly, he was responsible for the development and delivery of Surrey Probation Service’s sex offender strategy. Over recent years Donald has worked as a “subject matter expert” with the DCSF (now Department of Education) in the creation and delivery of “Safer Recruitment” training programmes for Heads and Governors of schools and for recruiters into the wider children’s workforce.

As well as being Director of the child sexual abuse public education campaign, Stop it Now! UK and Ireland, Donald managed the development of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s Circles of Support and Accountability programme. He has also managed a joint project with Securus (a software company) developing and deploying the means of monitoring the home computer use of known sex offenders.

At Stop it Now! UK and Ireland Donald has steered development of the Helpline, as well as the Stop it Now! website and its online self-help tools and resources from their inception. He is regularly in demand from print and broadcast media outlets to comment on all aspects of child sexual abuse and exploitation prevention work and is considered a leading expert in the field, both in the UK and internationally.

Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support

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061 A Magazine for Autumn

061 A Magazine for Autumn

Hello again after the Summer! I thought I’d use this chance to reflect on a few of the significant events over the last month before we get back into the regular pattern of Podcasts.
The worldwide refugee crisis—-More thoughts on abuse by priests—A Freedom of Information request by the BBC about the increase in numbers of abuse cases reported in schools and an interview I did about it—Finally, news that I’ve been appointed as Chair of a second Safeguarding Children Board–Bradford–and am really looking forward to working there.

Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support.

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060 Dr Simon Lenton – Child Friendly Health Care

060 Dr Simon Lenton – Child Friendly Health Care

 Interview with Dr Simon Lenton  MB, ChB, DRCOG, MRCP, MPH/DLSHTM, FRCPCH, MFPH

He completed his medical training in Aberdeen in 1977 and was appointed as a Consultant Paediatrician in Community Child Health (CPCCH) in Bath in 1987 after training in New Zealand, Canada and the UK.

Between 1996 and 2000 he completed Public Health training with a Masters in Public Health (MPH) from LSHTM and placements with the commissioning arm of Wiltshire Health Authority and a further placement Southwest Regional Office.

Between 2000-3 he worked as a Policy Adviser in the Department of Health and helped develop the Children’s National Service Framework (NSF) providing advice to Ministers on a wide range of issues relating to the health and well-being of children across a number of Government departments.

In 2003 he was elected to Vice President (Health Services) within the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and led “Modelling the Future” which identified the problems facing children’s health services in the UK and sets out a vision and strategy for the future development of children’s health services.

Between 2009 and 2011 he chaired the expert working group on “Child Friendly Health Care” (CFHC) on behalf of the Council of Europe. CFHC translated the values contained within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into a practical framework for service delivery. This piece of work has now been endorsed by 47 health ministers across Europe through a Declaration signed in October 2011.

Then Chair the British Association for Community Child Health (BACCH) and now Co-chair of The British Association for Child and Adolescent Public Health (BACAPH).

We talk of his commitment to child and family friendly health care and the background to this internationally endorsed initiative with its relevance to multi agency work in safeguarding.

Further helpful links:-

Child Friendly


Family Friendly


You Tube



My thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for their technical assistance in this Podcast.

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059  Papyrus– Youth Suicide Prevention Charity

059 Papyrus– Youth Suicide Prevention Charity

I talked to Alice Newton , the suicide prevention training co-ordinator for Papyrus, a national charity dedicated to supporting young people contemplating suicide and raising awareness about the level of need.

They provide confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person, help others to prevent young suicide by working with and training professionals as well as campaigning to influence national policy.

The 2015 PAPYRUS conference will be held on 27th June 2015 at Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA.

National Confidential Helpline –- HOPELineUK. If you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide: 0800 068 41 41

or Papyrus on 01925 572 444

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058 Professor Harry Ferguson on social work practice.

058 Professor Harry Ferguson on social work practice.

This is another podcast from the highly successful BASPCAN Congress held at Edinburgh University.

Professor Harry Ferguson on social work practice in families , how social workers engage with children and what the landscape of the profession is like today. Harry joined the university of Nottingham in November 2008 as Professor of Social Work. Prior to that he held posts at the University of the West of England, Bristol and in his native Ireland at University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork. He is a qualified social worker and completed his PhD in the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge (1987-1990), which was a historical sociological study of social work and child protection. His teaching and research interests lie in the areas of child protection, domestic violence, social interventions into fatherhood and men’s lives, and the social science of social work.

Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support and podcast production. Don’t forget Voicemail on the left of this page if you want to leave a comment.

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061 A Magazine for Autumn

056 Social Work in Scotland and N Ireland

Following the general election I thought it interesting to hear about what’s happening in these two countries.

Alan Baird.

Alan Baird 300

The Scottish Government’s Chief Social Work Adviser. Previously Director of Social Work, Dundee City Council for the previous 11 years and Past President of the Association of Directors of Social Work.

In general, his role is to advise the Government on social work issues as they arise. To help him do this, he has a staff of nine civil servants and meets on a regular basis with Scottish Government Ministers.

Sean Holland.  Sean Pic

Before training as a social worker at the University of Ulster in 1987 Sean Holland worked as a residential worker for homeless charities in Nottingham and Belfast. After qualifying Sean worked in family and child care, disability services and training.

As Chief Social Services Officer of Social Services (CSSO) for Northern Ireland, Sean leads a team which supports Ministers, the Department of Health, other Government Departments and agencies working in the fields of social care and social work. Sean also has responsibility for policy for family and child care, mental health, older people and people with disabilities within the Department of Health.

Sean has an LLM in Medical Law, has worked with government departments on the development of social services in Bulgaria, Croatia, Azerbaijan and Jordan and is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Child Protection Centre at the University of Edinburgh.

Also in this programme I’ve included a Speakpipe request and would welcome more of them to hear your thoughts and ideas.

As always my thanks to Alba Digital Media for technical support in making this podcast possible.

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061 A Magazine for Autumn

055 Self Leadership in Social Work

“Self Leadership in Social Work” , subtitled “reflections from practice”, a new book by Bill McKitterick that offers a fresh and innovative view on leadership for social workers and managers.It’s a call for confident, skilled and knowledgeable practice in social work. Published by Policy Press.

Bill is a social worker now working in supervision and leadership. He has been a director of social services for ten years, including leading workforce development. He has worked in programmes to improve social work practice in local authority services following critical inspections and has contributed through the British Association of Social Workers and the College of Social Work to the national reform programme.


Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support, audio production and podcast syndication.

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054 Mandatory Reporting Debate

054 Mandatory Reporting Debate

The formal debate on mandatory reporting took place at the BASPCAN Congress in Edinburgh  where a packed theatre voted substantially against the proposal initially and , at the end, still voted against but with a much reduced majority.

This debate, whoever wins the General Election, will continue to divide the professional community.

Peter Garsden, the President of the UK Association of Child Abuse Lawyers has represented over 25 class actions of survivors of abuse and speaks for the introduction of legislation to make this compulsory with sanctions imposed on professionals who knowingly fail to report abuse.

Dr Jill McLeigh, a clinical assistant professor at the Kempe Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse at Colorado University argues against the proposal citing the unsatisfactory situation in the USA where it has been Federal Law since 1963.

Associate Professor Ben Mathews from the Australian Centre for Health Law research at Queensland University of Technology has researched this comprehensively and draws on over 10 years of data to argue the case, though not speaking in the main debate.

The podcast is a bit longer than usual but , I hope you agree worth it.

Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support, audio production and podcast syndication.

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053 BASPCAN Congress interviews

053 BASPCAN Congress interviews

John Devaney MBE, Director of Social Work Education at Queens University , Belfast who Chaired the Congress gives his thoughts on the success of the event.John Devaney twitter

John was 20 years a social work practitioner and joined the University in 2006. He is also National Chair of the British Association for the Study of Child Abuse and Neglect.


Then, to follow, Sue Berelowitz, the Deputy Children’s Commissioner for England, talks about new initiatives and improved chances to hear the voice of the child in their “see me hear me” “no longer invisible” programme.







As always, my thanks to Alba Digital Media for  their technical expertise and all audio production and syndication of this podcast.

Many more top interviews from this prestigious conference to come.

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052 Child Trafficking & Modern Slavery

052 Child Trafficking & Modern Slavery

The practice of child trafficking and modern slavery in the 21st century at the level that it exists is one of the most appalling and shameful indictments of the worldwide human condition.

Bharti Patel is CEO of ECPAT UK. Bharti has more than fifteen years’ experience working to address human rights abuses around the world, leading high-profile research, campaigning and advocacy organisations in the UK and India. Bharti’s passion to challenge the root causes of child exploitation and abuse underpins her leadership role with ECPAT UK, where she has overseen important changes to law and policy in the area of child protection and trafficking prevention. In the UK, Bharti’s prior achievements include successfully lobbying for Britain’s first-ever national minimum wage legislation and helping secure basic employment rights for low-paid and part-time workers. In India, Bharti worked on sustainable development programmes addressing the strengthening of food, water and livelihood security for vulnerable communities. An accomplished speaker and writer, Bharti has featured widely in the British print and broadcast media, and is regularly quoted in articles on poverty, inequality, child trafficking and child protection.

My thanks , as always, to Alba Digital Media for technical support and all podcast post production in making this podcast possible.

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061 A Magazine for Autumn

051 Child Protection

It certainly has been child protection week! With the Prime Minister announcing his ideas for professionals in child protection to be charged with ‘wilful neglect’– carrying a prison term of up to 5 years if they fail to report a child in danger. The fact that the Oxford cases that sparked this latest thinking specifically said that there was no evidence of wilful neglect and with all safeguarding training emphasising the necessity to share even the hint of concern with a colleague, it seems a wrong direction to take. I’ve no problem with anyone being held to account for deliberately not helping a child at risk but the terrible shortfall in staff numbers and the great need for more human and training resources would seem to be the way to go.

Then, I was invited on BBC Newsnight   http://tinyurl.com/kheq4gl (32.5 minutes in)      to talk about the first conviction of a sex offender resulting from vigilante entrapment. Interesting!

Finally, and I’ve included the interview on the podcast, I talked to BBC Wiltshire about a perceived  high growth in the numbers of Children in Need referrals in their region.

Thanks, as always, to Alba Digital Media for their technical support in producing this Podcast.




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050 A Story of Historic Abuse

050 A Story of Historic Abuse

With the announcement of the new Chair of the Historic Abuse Inquiry this is a story that should be referred to that inquiry as I think it typical of the unfinished business that this country is awash with and the hundreds, if not thousands, of survivors out there still living with the legacy of what was done to them.
Usually I give interviews to the media on child protection, cases, policy or other concerns but this time I thought I’d look at a current case. Pam Caulfield ( pictured ) is an investigative journalist with the BBC in Hereford and Worcestershire and has been reporting, presenting and producing for 7 years. She has researched the story of St Gilberts approved school in Worcestershire, run until 1975 by the De La Salle Order of Christian Brothers–a teaching order still active today. She found a shocking history of sexual and physical abuse, perpetrated at the school, with rape and sadistic beatings commonplace. Two former pupils talked of their ordeals and many more are still living with the legacy. I’m going to follow this story as it unfolds and as the (belated) police investigation by West Mercia Police continues. All praise to Pam Caulfield as she describes her long journey of discovery.

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049  Young adults & learning disability

049 Young adults & learning disability

This episode has a conversation about a non profit company working with young adults with a learning disability and a bit from me about the comments of Simon Bailey, Chief Constable with a leading role in combatting child sex abuse. He advocates that some “non-contact” paedophiles who just download child porn should be referred to the Health service rather than the criminal justice system. I disagree.
But first……….
George L Livingstone, Consultant is a qualified Social Worker and Manager, with over 35 years’ experience in the Social Work, Social Care, Child Care and Quality Assurance Sectors at a range of levels in addition to over 10 years as a Senior Manager, Director and Managing Director in the Adult Education Sector. George provides Management Training, Health and Social Care Training, Tender Writing Training, Tender Writing Coaching, Policy writing and Review, Tender Writing and Conference Organisation. One of his responsibilities involves consulting for
Nansen Highland, which is a non-governmental organisation based in the Highlands of Scotland.
It is a company originally motivated by the life and work of the Norwegian humanitarian and explorer, Fridtjof Nansen.
Nansen Highland principally provides training for young adults with learning disability and related difficulties.
Nansen Highland is set up to train and assist in the training of young adults so to develop their physical, mental and spiritual capacities that they may grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society, and to instruct and to assist in instructing young persons in the principles of discipline, loyalty and good citizenship.

Nansen provides training through its Day Education Centre, Residential Care through 2 small residential units and Home Based Support for those young adults with their own tenancies.

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048 Jane Devine Social Work Scotland

048 Jane Devine Social Work Scotland

What’s the picture of social work in Scotland? After a monumentous year for the country, how is the profession shaping up in Scotland?

Jane Devine is the Business Manager for Social Work Scotland, the successor organisation to the Association of Directors of Social Work.

She talks of initiatives, political support, policy priorities and hopes for the future in a wide ranging interview. She also focusses on the specific work being convened regarding the image of social work and its crucial role in the community.

This is definitely a set of challenges for us to keep an eye on and I’ll follow up as 2015 progresses.

My thanks as always to Alba Digital Media.

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061 A Magazine for Autumn

047 BASPCAN Congress

An excellent interview with Julie Taylor who Chairs the Congress Committee for the BASPCAN Congress 2015 at the University of Edinburgh. BASPC AN stands for the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. You can find it at www.baspcan.org.uk . Its Facebook address is its full name and the Twitter handle for the Congress is #9ed2015. This prestigious event takes place every 3 years and is packed full of top speakers and excellent topics concerning child protection.

Julie Taylor is the inaugural chair of the Child Protection Research Centre, an innovative partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the UK’s leading child protection charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Before taking up post in early 2013, she was Head of Strategy and Development (Abuse in High Risk Families) with the NSPCC whilst on a three year secondment from her post as Professor of Family Health in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee. Until March 2010 she was Research Dean and Head of Division (Research and Postgraduate Studies) and led the University’s first submission to the Nursing Unit of Assessment in the national research assessment exercise (RAE 2008). She trained as a nurse in the 1980s at St James’ University Hospital Leeds and held a number of increasingly senior nursing posts before entering higher education in 1992 at the University of York, moving to Dundee in 1997.

Thanks, as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support in making this Podcast possible.

Remember to leave feedback and keep up on Twitter @daveniven.


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061 A Magazine for Autumn

046 Social Work & Media Training

Social work and Media Training. What is the image of social work in the media? How long will social workers be the targets for allowing children to be abused or the elderly to be dehumanised? Probably as long as we avoid looking too closely at ourselves and demand scapegoats. We do love to cultivate our blame culture.

Given all this, how happy are social workers with the image of the profession portrayed by the media? My company commissioned a survey aimed at those in and close to social work to see if the perceptions were right and what measures were needed to improve things.

Ten questions were asked, on topics including image and the voice of frontline workers, and we received 356 responses. Answers were given on a scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”, and each question also got between 40 and 70 voluntary comments. Ninety per cent of respondents were in social work as frontline workers, managers, students, academics, independent case workers and retired staff.

For the question: “The image of social work in the media is satisfactory”, 90% of respondents strongly disagreed or disagreed. Comments included:

Furthermore, 90% strongly agreed or agreed with the question “Employers should be more open with the media about the work social workers do.” Respondents commented:

“Issues pertaining to confidentiality, information sharing and data protection are used too regularly as an excuse to avoid media engagement.”

And 76% strongly agreed or agreed with the question “Frontline social workers should be seen and heard more in the media.” As one respondent said: “Frontline workers should be heard to aid better understanding in communities.”

Kieran File is a media linguist and communication consultant. His PhD research explored the language of media interviews. His first thoughts on the survey feedback showed the following sentiments were common. Participants “have no doubt that aggressive media targeting of social workers in the wake of scandals and tragedies makes the job of practitioners more difficult”. The consequences for morale are evident:

We need to share the vast collection of positive social work stories with the public to improve understanding and balance. I’ve no problem in suggesting the reverse and inviting journalists to talk with social work students on the issues. It’s a two-way street.

There are many good journalists who would be willing to give an honest account if they felt they were being included, within reason. And there are many good social workers who are mature and aware enough to share our world with the media without being shackled by employers. They can offer local success stories. Others at a higher pay grade can deal with complaints. Trust is possible. This is where social work and media training comes in.

For every scare story that isn’t balanced, it makes it just that more difficult for the social worker on the doorstep the next day to gain the trust of a family.

David Niven Associates offers social work media training in association with Compass and the British Association of Social Workers. The full results of the survey are on the website.

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045 Tessa Munt MP

045 Tessa Munt MP

Tessa Munt serves as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills.Tessa  was inspired to pursue a career in politics by her grandfather who took up politics in his adopted country, Kenya, serving as Minister for Finance & Development through the 1950s.Elected the MP for Wells Constituency in May 2010.

A strong supporter of social work, Tessa talks of her commitment to protecting the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities. A survivor of childhood abuse herself, she was one of the seven MPs who drove the campaign to establish the current Government enquiries into historic and institutional abuse.

The interview ranges from major resource issues to coping on a personal level and how survivors today need all we can give to get to a point where they can talk in safety and with confidence.

Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for their technical support in  creating this podcast.

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040 JSWEC Part 6 Social Media

040 JSWEC Part 6 Social Media

JSWEConference Part 6. Thoughts of newly qualified workers and social media in social work education.

A final roundup of interviews from the conference. Firstly an interesting discussion with three newly qualified social workers from the University of Dundee, Leanne , Nicola and Will. The next interview is with six authors launching their new book at the conference “Social Media in Social Work Education” and finally, Pauline Franklin- Senior Social Work Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church along with two young care leavers from the charity Catch 22–Holly Dixon and Ben Middleton–and all three look at using social media to promote the voice of young people in social work education.



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044 Chair of BASW

044 Chair of BASW

An interview with Guy Shennan, the recently elected Chair of the British Association of Social Workers. Then, a short interview I gave on the situation in Birmingham concerning stress in social work and its impact on morale and service delivery.

Guy Shennan qualified as a social worker in 1989, having trained at the University of Sheffield. He worked in Derbyshire for nine years, mainly in children and families teams, before moving to Leicester to work for the Family Service Unit there in 1998. At this time he was developing his specialism within solution-focused practice, and he now works as an independent consultant, training and using the solution focused approach as a practitioner and supervisor. His recent practice has ranged from groupwork with children in primary schools to individual solution-focused sessions in prisons with prolific offenders. His book, Solution-Focused Practice: Effective Communication to Facilitate Change, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in September 2014. A member of BASW since 1992 and of SWU since its inception, Guy was an active member of the Derbyshire branch during the 1990s. His active association with BASW resumed in 2011 when he joined with other members in forming links with the Palestinian Union of Social Workers and Psychologists, which led to the formation of the Palestine-UK Social Work Network. Guy became chair of BASW in June 2014.


Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support—they also can teach and support Podcasting !!

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040 JSWEC Part 6 Social Media

040 JSWEConference Part 5

Three more great interviews from this year’s JSWEConference. Such a rich vein of content. I hope you enjoy them.

Today’s interviews  include Juliet Koprowska , Senior Lecturer in Social Work at York University talking about exploring the use of self, revealed through examination of real social work encounters.

Sam Baeza, from the University of Chichester whose session “swimming with sharks” examines what social workers experience when assessing families where sexual abuse is the primary factor. He also continues to work as an independent assessor of sexual offenders.

Jane McLenachan, head of Social Work and Health at De Montfort University looks at the public perceptions of thresholds for abuse within Child Safeguarding and Domestic violence.


Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media.

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043 Ruth Smith Editor Community Care

043 Ruth Smith Editor Community Care

RUTH SMITH is Editor and Content Director of Community Care, the multi-award winning information service for social workers. She is responsible for all content and digital products across Community Care, from the news website communitycare.co.uk to the paid for information service Community Care Inform Children and Inform Adults.

Her expertise includes how to make information accessible to busy professionals when and where they need it. She’s also experienced at talking about social care to the wider media.

She won New Editor of Year at the PPA’s New Talent Awards 2013 and with the Community Care team won team of year at the Association of Online Publishing Awards 2013. She first started her journalistic career writing about children’s social care soon after the green paper Every Child Matters was published in 2003.

She is a trustee and director of the Social Worker of Year Awards charity, which celebrates the fantastic, but often unsung work of the sector.

We talk of violence against social workers, the quality of new social workers, challenges, investigations she’s been proud of ,the impact of traumatic stories on journalists and much more.


Thanks as always to Alba Digital Media for technical support on this podcast.

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061 A Magazine for Autumn

042 Alan Wood President ADCS

An interview with Alan Wood, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services. Currently DCS for Hackney and previously Chief Executive of the Learning Trust credited for taking education in Hackney from the worst in the country to a position of excellence in 10 years.

He also caused a storm with quoted comments in a Guardian article calling in to question some newly qualified social workers ability to do the job, labeling them”crap”.

I pressed him on this and he stuck to his opinions although accepting that his language was inappropriate. He praised some schools of social work education saying that they turn out high quality social workers but repeated that he and colleagues feel that too many turn out newly qualified workers “ill prepared” for the workplace.

He added that as there is fantastic expertise among social workers and some do a stunning job, why, if we do it for some, can’t we do it for all.

With so many more issues talked about–have a listen to the full interview with Alan Wood.

Thanks , as always , to Alba Digital Media.


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040 JSWEC Part 6 Social Media

040 JSWE Conference Part 4

Three more interviews from the Joint Social Work Education Conference.

Firstly Clare Parkinson,Lucille Allain and Helen Hingley-Jones exploring contemporary uses of baby and young child observation.

Secondly, David McKendrick talking of a mixed method evaluation of Twitter chat designed to encourage connectivity and professional identity in new social work students.

Finally, John Dow, a service user, asking “where is the evaluation and communication of New Partnerships in the delivery of Social Services . Is there something missing?”

So much is going on! More to come as well as the regular podcasts.

Thanks for listening and keep the feedback coming. Remember SpeakPipe beside the podcast.  Let me hear your views.

As always Alba Digital Media were a great help on the technical side of the Podcast.


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This is the article I produced for the Guardian online yesterday about the Rotherham report:-

“When Alexis Jay talked to her report on Rotherham you could see and feel the emotion behind it.

The very thought of hundreds of young children being raped , traded and consistently disbelieved, struck deep into the comfort zones of all who listened.

Inevitably , the litany of failures by political and officer leadership led to media outrage and it probably didn’t need to go far to tap into large swathes of the population given Professor Jay’s

Add to this the fact that most of the perpetrators were of Pakistani heritage , one immediate conclusion was that, due to political correctness, the minimising and regular underplaying of the problem had been because all involved had been scared to say anything in order to avoid serious community tensions.

If this, in addition to the police failing to act on many occasions and dismissing the children when they complained  is true and the alleged suppression of previous reports is also true then I agree

that all involved need to be dealt with according to their failings.

All this, however, seems to take the focus off the needs of all child victims and survivors of sexual abuse who have to live with the consequences for life. Our duty of care, even if our duty of protection fails, is to provide the best possible help and support and do all we can to try and enable them to achieve something resembling a normal adulthood.

When the Somerset levels flooded we called it a national disaster and channelled funds to help. I think that the scale of child sexual abuse in our country equates to a national emergency and there is strong argument to resource the needs of survivors to a much greater level.

All the children will have individual needs and so a menu of support , properly resourced and away from front line services would be a start. This could be any combination of therapeutic help, practical support, mentoring, group work or any number of other mechanisms. All of this exists already but not in the quantity or commitment needed to sustain the level of need. The shockingly underfunded children and adolescent mental health provision and the far too thinly spread youth services are all casualties of spending cuts. Provision such as The Green House charity in Bristol ( previously the Avon Sexual Abuse Centre ) that provides psychotherapeutic counselling for victims of sexual abuse—children, women and men—is an example of an excellent provision that always has to have one eye on raising funding as well as delivering services.

The thousands of people, many now in adulthood, who still live day in day out with the demons created by their abuse in childhood and who’ve never had the opportunity or the trust to seek help

deserve better. The scale of the problem is huge. When the Register of offenders was created in 1997 it was not made retrospective. The word at the time was that if it had been there would have been 250,000 names on it.

We are getting better at working with sexual abuse—assessing risk and employing far more sensitivity and understanding towards the victims—but data collection is still hugely sparse and badly coordinated so the building blocks of solutions are shaky.

If we could get on with the all encompassing root and branch national Inquiry announced by Teresa May that would at least be a focal point for progress but since Elizabeth Butler –Sloss stepped down we seem to have lost momentum.

In the meantime much of our media gets consumed by the need to blame or cul de sacs about race whereas the truth is that all men who abuse children are equal as criminals. Sure, we need more understanding of individual abusers behaviour—which is where another under resourced facility like the Faithful Foundation does excellent work —or recognising the part played by organised crime in trafficking children from town to town—and looking into some specific behaviours where groups are involved. There’s increasing information out there ( and I haven’t even talked about the continuing problem of hundreds , if not thousands, of men who go abroad to abuse children and ,of course, don’t stop when they come home)but I’m not sure how much wisdom is around.

There’s always the “just bring back hanging” cry and the sometime simplistic “ find some official to blame” shout but even if the latter happens it doesn’t move the chronic problem forward.

I’m all for the” find them, interrupt them and jail them” plan but its got to be supported by the

“ beleive the child, support them and give them real help” plan

The problem is certainly of a scale to merit significant resources and the fact that we currently indirectly abandon so many who deserve so much more gives substance to Alexis Jay’s sensible recommendations for improving our performance.”

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040 JSWEC Part 6 Social Media

040 JSWEC Conf Part 3

Three more excellent interviews from the Joint Social Work Education Conference at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Firstly, Tim Kelly , Dean of Social Work and Community Education who Chaired the whole event, talks of his vision of social work.

Then Amanda Taylor discusses the value she has found in social work book groups and all the possibilities that stem from it.

Lastly Pam Trevithick , a retired academic , looks at the landscape of social work and the challenges facing it.

As always I could only let you hear so many at a time but there are more to come as well as the regular podcasts looking at the issues of the day.

Thanks for listening and keep that feedback coming !

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061 A Magazine for Autumn

041 Influential abusers and Neglect.

This episode has two interviews I gave on topical child care subjects.  The first talks about the influence of Peter Righton , a convicted abuser who was influential in changing systems of care for looked after children in the 1980s and 1990s. There still could be much to discover about not only his behaviour but networks and contacts he had at all levels of influence and seniority.

The second is about the case of neglect which prompted a serious case review that was published this week. It criticised all agencies who, it said , missed many opportunities to interrupt chronic neglect in a family with several young children and talked of the manipulation and deception by the parents who were jailed.

There will be the next installment of the special Joint Social Work Education Conference podcasts in the next few days as well !!

Many thanks to all of you for listening. The audience is still growing. Keep the feedback coming !

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