What has made you feel proud to work in Children’s Services in the West Midlands?

We recently asked colleagues working in Children’s Services in the West Midlands what’s made them proud this year – here are some of the highlights.


“The Placements Portal is the project I am most proud of, having moved it from a very poor place to one that people want to hold up as an example of West Midlands authorities coming together.

The people I am most proud of are the members of OCCG (Childrens Operational Contracting and Commissioning Group) as they are a working network which is self motivated and resourced.”

Tony Ashfield, Regional Programme Manager,


“Warwickshire % of good or better schools has gone up to 89% from 82% in March 2015.  We have also got 4 new teaching schools and three more applying!” 

– Jane Spilsbury, Service Manager – Learning and Performance,
Warwickshire County Council


“A real collaborative, supportive and proactive network with improving outcomes for children and young people across the West Midlands at the heart of the work. An example has been the work under the Adoption Leadership Board with the development of the RAA projects. “

Emma Bennett, Service Director – Children and Young People,
City of Wolverhampton Council
“Being involved in Care Leavers’ Week where many of our young people joined in activities throughout the week and made cakes for a Macmillan cake stall raising over £200.”
– Marie Hatton, Principal Social Worker,
Telford and Wrekin Council
“I’m proud of the whole programme of work I have supported with ADCS over the last year whilst on secondment. It has been great working with this group to ensure real progress as a region and I have huge job satisfaction. I feel valued, supported, have learned a lot, and am proud of our role in regional improvement.”
– Paula Whitehouse, Programme Manager – Children’s Services,

“In Sandwell I am very proud of the Targeted Support Services that I have been privileged to lead these past three years. Despite the pressures upon Children’s Social Care and the uncertainties around Children’s Trust status, the six locality ‘targeted early help’ COG Managers, the Youth Service and Youth Offending Service have built strong relationships with partners.

For the year to September 2016, for example, the COG Teams worked with nearly 1300 families, 88.6% of which where not escalated to children’s social care, nor back to targeted services when stepped down. At the same time, the YOS has worked with partners and continue to perform well around key indicators such as offending and re-offending, despite a more complex cohort.

Meanwhile the Youth Service have continued to have an impressive reach, with a continued universal offer whilst focusing with ever stretched resources in a more targeted way, including towards care leavers up to 25 years.

So what I am most proud of is the positive spirit of staff and managers to get on and do a great job despite very difficult circumstances. I am taking up a new role in Sheffield from January so may I take this opportunity to wish the regional partnership every success.”

– Tom Common, Group Head of Targeted Services,
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

“Our recent celebration event (pictured below) for all children’s frontline workers who have achieved awards/certificates, such as competing ASYE; practice education etc.”
– Angela WhitfordWorkforce Development Lead – Learning and Development,
Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  “I would say the proudest moment for me has to be everyone working together to tackle CSE; staff have worked really well as I only started in June 2016 and there have been so many changes in tools, pathways and training in general. Professionals from across Wolverhampton have worked together and made sure they receive up to date information to be able to provide the best possible support for young people.”   
– Sandeep Kaur Gill, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Coordinator,
Wolverhampton Safeguarding Children Board
“I have been proud of the way we have worked together to create our team with Frontline, which will improve the quality of practice across the West Midlands.”
– John Dixon, Strategic Director, People Group,
Warwickshire County Council
“We are proud of a social work student unit, which we successful piloted across two Children’s Teams (duty and care management), to offer a robust, varied and creative placement experience to a group of students.Bolstered by additional tutorials and practice workshops to facilitate their learning as a group; with experienced practice educators supporting both students and the fledgling new practice educators.”
Fiona Metcalfe, Learning & Development Consultant, 
Warwickshire County Council

“I am always immensely proud of the work all of us in the region/ nationally  around sexual exploitation, but feel I would like to share with you the recognition that the CSE team, Coventry Horizon,  have had in the recent  National Social Worker Awards.

The team have worked so hard over the past year and a half since they evolved and continue to work hard to ensure that young people who are at risk of being groomed and exploited are recognised. We have through our journey learnt so much from partner agencies and the children we work with.

So my highlight of 2016 would be the team having that national recognition that I believe they deserve.”

Sue Whitmore, Service Manager – People Directorate

Coventry City Council