Our response to the NAO's report exploring pressures on children’s social care
This is the first in a series of short interviews with iMPOWER staff to share their work and expriences. This first is with Senior Consultant, Debbie Crossan.
What were you doing before you joined iMPOWER?
I started my local government career as a graduate trainee working for Haringey’s housing ALMO, where I gained experience of project management and performance. Subsequently I worked in the Council’s corporate centre and for the Children & Young People’s Service in a variety of project and programme management roles. I worked for a significant period on children’s services transformation, during a pretty difficult time for my employer.
What made you want to join iMPOWER?
I’d always regarded iMPOWER as an innovative and exciting place to work, with a strong public sector ethos. I knew it would give me a great chance to develop my skills and knowledge, as well as to work with great colleagues who have a range of backgrounds and knowledge. The opportunity to work with great people made a big difference.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on a major children’s improvement programme with a local authority and their partners. My role is varied, it involves providing subject matter expertise on developing an effective multi-agency safeguarding hub, improving the wider front door and supporting a project to fully understand unidentified risk.
Changing a system structure or behaviour can be both challenging and time consuming for local governments, yet it can be all too easy and comfortable to revert back to old behaviours and systems. In your experience, how do you ensure that changes are sustainable?
In a nutshell? You need to do it collaboratively with the client (and where appropriate their partners) so that there is a common understanding of why change is needed. People need to buy in to the work you’re doing and the changes that are being made. In addition, it’s important that when clients recruit new staff, they are full inducted into the work being done. If something is going to be sustainable it needs to become part of the fabric of the organisation, this is about getting people engaged right on the first day.
Tell us something unique about you?
I have played full contact women’s rugby for over 12 years and still play. Unfortunately this does mean that that I often look rather bruised and stiff on client site – especially on a Monday!
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