What a day!

Today I attended the GIRFEC/Signs of Safety (SoS) event I mentioned in my last blog.  Terry Murphy was interesting, down to earth and inspirational.  He talked about the core principles of SOS and different ways to implement the approach, including a systems wide implementation.  Sean Rafferty (Service Manager) talked about how we were implementing SoS; Carol Bathgate (Child Protection Manager) gave a case example of a SoS case conference; Shaun Thomas (from our partner agency, Children 1st) showed examples of the 3 houses – a very powerful tool to get children’s views; and then I said a bit about the evaluation I did last year and this project.

Shaun, Carol and I were very nervous,  and all have stinking colds so we took our minds off the impending presentation by trying to decide which of us was to blame for infecting the others.  Of course, we decided it must have been one of our colleagues that was not present!

Alison (Director of IRISS) was there and I was delighted to introduce her to Terry.  He was really interested in IRISS and said he thought it was a great idea – and very innovative (but IRISS is the Institute for Innovation, after all) for a research organisation to have a practitioner in post.

How did it go?  There were representatives from around 15 authorities I think.  Great sigh of relief, we got lots of positive feedback and people even stayed after lunch for the afternoon session!  What more can I say.

Social work and IRISS

Now here is post number two – at this rate I will be really used to this ‘blogging thing’ quite soon!

I got home from a pretty difficult day at work, my diary had gone out the window and one of my families had been annoyed that I could not drop everything while I was in Glasgow yesterday, so refused to see me today!  A quick check of school/nursery/health visitor tells me that the crisis is not really so bad, not really a crisis at all in fact.  Any C&F social worker reading this will be oozing sympathy right now and nodding in total understanding.

Now, I want to put on my IRISS hat – the online survey had an amazing 185 responses, so if you were one of the participants, thank you.  I am now looking at arranging focus groups with Vivien from IRISS and we are in the unexpected position that we will not be able to include everyone who has volunteered to take part.  We will be getting in touch with people next week.

This project is beginning to feel very real and quite scary too.  I am taking part in a presentation on Wednesday, Terry Murphy is coming from Western Australia to talk about implementing Signs of Safety.  He was the Director General of Department of Child Protection there until earlier this year and now works full time with Prof. Eileen Munro and Andrew Turnell.  I first met him when I went to Western Australia thanks to the Kay Carmichael Travel Award in 2012.  East Lothian is doing a presentation about how we are implementing Signs of Safety and I have a 10 minute slot to talk about the previous evaluation and this project.  I love doing the project but having to present to lots of people……

My introduction to blogging

As a social work practitioner in a local authority working with children and families,  now on a half time secondment with IRISS as practitioner in residence,  I feel like I have one foot on two very different planets.  Alison Petch, Director of IRISS and my very patient, tolerant ‘mentor’ here has said since I started that it would be a good idea for me to do a blog.  Well, it has only taken me seven months but here is my first attempt – ever!

When preparing to do this, I have looked at lots of people’s blogs to see if I could get some tips.  I think social workers like templates, previous examples of things. We are not used to freestyle.  It did not help much really as everyone seems to do their own thing, and even then, how they write seems to depend on some random factor, ie what side of the bed they got out of?

Alison, in one of her early IRISS blogs, ‘The art of the blog’ suggested that there are three categories of blogger:

1. Those that ‘desire to create a strong web-based persona’ – no, don’t see myself in that one.

2. Those that blog as a  ‘mechanism for communication and reflection on the core business of the organisation they represent’ – the first bit of this – maybe? I don’t think I can really talk about the core business of either IRISS or East Lothian, but I can talk about my part in both, and about the Planning in Child Protection research project.

3. Those that blog as a ‘mechanism for letting off steam’ – definitely.  It is not often a local authority worker can let off steam publicly – what an opportunity!

Well, that is my first blog.  Will there be another? Watch this space….