There’s a real sense of achievement when we reduce risks to children
Meet Head of Service, David Beverley
We interview David to find out more about what attracted him to the role and why he finds local authority project-work professionally rewarding.
Could you share your journey into social work with us?
Absolutely. Believe it or not, I fell into social work after I finished my BA Degree in Drama. I was engaged in voluntary youth work when the opportunity came up to become an unqualified social worker.
I like to think that social work found me. Taking the step from working with young people in the community into children’s social work felt like a seamless transition.
I qualified as a social worker in 1994 from the University of Lincoln and Humberside and went straight into working at a local council. I stayed for four years, practising the full range of social work from duty and assessment to court work and child protection. Having been exposed to a broad range of social work, the role gave me a good grounding as a practitioner.
From there, I went on to secure the position of Team Manager in a child protection team in Doncaster in 1997, where I stayed for a few years. I then went on to work in various local authorities as a Team Manager until 2012, spanning duty and assessment, fostering, child protection and court work.
During this time, I was a foster panel advisor, chaired adoption panels for a voluntary adoption agency, and completed various courses to become a social work trainer. Combining this experience, I went on to deliver local authority training, initially for foster carers and then practitioners.
Always looking for a fresh challenge, in 2012, I decided to try agency social work for a while. So I worked for six years as an interim Team Manager and Service Manager for many local authorities. I moved around a great deal, which gave me an incredible insight into how different local authorities can be.
I already knew Emma Blakemore from a previous position when she asked me to join Innovate Services in 2019 as a Team Manager in North East Lincolnshire and Wigan. I have been recently promoted to Head of Service.
Why did you take the role of Head of Service?
It’s the ethos behind Innovate Services that appeals to me as a social work professional. My primary motivation for working in social work is to put the child at the centre of every decision and action, and I can do this at Innovate.
Our project work with local authorities and trusts often involves working with children in difficult and challenging situations. There’s a real sense of achievement and pride when we reduce risks to those children and position them in a better place.
I moved to Innovate Services because it represents a more innovative approach to social work delivery. I’ve always enjoyed being able to work in a way that looks at things from a holistic perspective to meet the child’s needs. At Innovate, this means that we consistently achieve positive outcomes for children and their families.
What does your role entail?
I am currently responsible for three projects covering five teams. I work with the team manager to make sure that practice and procedures are delivered against agreed KPIs. I ensure that the work undertaken is child-focused, plans are being progressed, and that we’re doing everything to meet the local authority or trust requirements.
This means having a good working relationship with local authorities. After all, we’re working with them to meet their aims and goals in keeping children safe. Clear, open communication is key.
In addition to this, I also work with our quality assurance auditor to make sure that the practice undertaken is of a good standard. This means reviewing and undertaking casework audits and making recommendations for further development and training.
What’s your personal motivation for your work?
I like to practice social work and lead projects in a way that challenges my thinking and allows me to look at things differently. Working at Innovate Services means I am never standing still.
Working flexibly and in a child-focused way is important to me because all children are different.
Primarily, my work is about children and young people, but I also have a responsibility to the team managers and social workers I manage. I am motivated to help them explore new ways of working and developing themselves.
You have a challenging role. How do you make sure you work effectively?
Innovate Services is not purely about finding new ways to better support children, it’s also about discovering ways to work on yourself innovatively. We’re encouraged to be reflective on how we manage and develop our teams.
Personally, I do a lot of listening and reading on the topics of social work, managing people and mindset. I find this helps me to be a more rounded manager.
How do you like to spend your time out of work?
I read a lot. I find it incredibly relaxing and a great way to switch off. Myself, my wife and my two dogs can often be found walking through the countryside. Our favourite places to holiday in the UK are the Peak District and North Yorkshire. Walking is our thing!
We’ve also travelled a lot, about 20 countries, and there’s still quite a few on the list we’d like to visit when we can travel again.
My other big interest is music. I love going to gigs a lot and have quite the waiting list built up now! I just got Slipknot and Stereophonics in before the first lockdown – I have an eclectic taste!
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