I joined the Institute in 2002 after more than 20 years post qualifying experience in direct practice, management and consultancy. During that time I held a number of practice appointments that included working in a specialist child sexual abuse team and work as a children’s guardian.
As a manager I occupied a number of positions including that of Head of Performance Review for a large local authority. This job involved unit and service reviews as well as responsibility for career progression amongst practitioners, running the Staff Counselling Scheme, coaching and mentoring and managing a group of principal officers. Later I was appointed as a Special Projects Manager - a post that was essentially concerned with organisational change, but also came with a brief to develop the user involvement agenda. During this period I continued to maintain a foothold in direct practice through co-working cases with colleagues in the field.
Immediately prior to moving to the University, I worked as a freelance consultant combining work as a children’s guardian with organisational development commissions. This latter work included a range of service reviews in the public sector. During this time, I was also able to undertake 15 projects that enabled me to develop my skills in using the Future Search Conference methodology; and complete postgraduate studies in organisational psychology. As a children’s guardian I took appointments covering the full range of applications but was especially interested in applications involving infants and toddlers.
Throughout my career, my thinking has been particularly informed by firstly, what I have learnt from the children and young people and families that I have worked with; and secondly, what I have learnt from various courses and colleagues. From an academic perspective systemic thinking, narrative practices, attachment theory and psychodynamic ideas have all been particularly influential. I have also been fortunate to attend a variety of training institutes to code various attachment measures.
Examples of consultancies, commissions and presentations since 2000:
2000 – 2001: Various Future Search Conferences (with Steve Gosling) for a variety of public sector agencies.
2000 – 2006: Various appointments as a Children’s Guardian.
2002: Review of a local authority emergency duty team.
2002 – 2005: Four linked Future Search Conferences for one local authority aimed at promoting user involvement in service development.
2006 (various dates): Consultancy aimed at developing attachment minded practice within a family support team.
2007 (various dates): Practice standards training, multi-site public sector organisation.
2008 – 2011: PQ seminar series for local authority managers.
2008 (March): Cafcass research conference presentation – Promoting Attachment Minded Practice (with David Black). NEC Birmingham.
2008 (March): Worcestershire County Council conference presentation – Promoting Resiliences in Children. Worcester.
2009 (June – October): Developing attachment minded practice (Local Authority commission).
2010 (June): Seminar for EPD practitioners: Using Research to Promote Attachment Minded Practice. CWDC: West Midlands.
2010 (July): JSWEC conference workshop: Using Coaching with NQSWs and Practitioners in Training. University of Hertfordshire.
2011 (January): Skills for Care Presentation: Coaching Skills. Skills for Care West Midlands: Birmingham.
2011 (May): PQ Seminar for practitioners and managers: Deliberate Practice. University of Birmingham.
2011 - 2012 (various dates): Attachment Minded Practice and Attachment Minded Supervision (two separate LA commissions).
2012 (May): PQ Practitioner conference organiser and chair – Contemporary Risk Assessment and the Signs of Safety Approach. University of Birmingham.
2012 (July): PQ Seminar: Does the Signs of Safety approach have anything to offer adults safeguarding work? (Delivered with Matthew Gibson). University of Birmingham.