Meet Martin, our Head of Children’s Services

What is your most significant professional achievement to date?

I have been in social work for over 30 years and have worked in most child protection areas in that time. Working with families to help them overcome severe difficulties and finding ways to stay together has been my main focus.

The work that gave me the most satisfaction is complex child protection cases and seeing the child through the entire process up to adoption. It is rare that social workers who do the initial child protection work see the child placed in a long-term permanent solution. I have been at the adoption court on several occasions in my career and have seen the happiness and security that permeance can bring to the child and the adoptive family.

Thanks to social media, I have on occasion, been contacted by adults who I placed for adoption as children. It has been great to hear that the families I chose for them gave them stability and love and that they had flourished within the adoptive families.

What do you love about your role?

As a social worker, I always focussed on child protection and court work. As service manager, I was incredibly proud of how I was involved in developing multiagency work in Child Sexual Exploitation. As the Head of Service for Xyla Health and Social Services (formerly ICS Assessment Services), I enjoy creating teams and delivering solutions to some of the challenges that our clients have identified.

How do you choose your team for each client?

The teams are often asked to take on complex child protection and court work. The quality of the team managers and social workers we recruit is crucial to me. I look for social workers who are clear analytical thinkers and are passionate about delivering excellent outcomes for the children we are responsible for. The teams can work to suit the group’s individual and team needs.

Xyla Health and Social Services (formerly ICS Assessment Services) empower our project teams to ensure our social works and project managers have a shared purpose. Our purpose is to develop trusting relationships with children or young people which is the cornerstone of any work towards a permanence plan.

What do you wish people knew about being a Head of Children’s Services?

Although a social worker of 34 years this year with a wealth of experience managing child protection services, my role stretches beyond the day-to-day of children’s social care. I am also involved in marketing, forecasting, planning, service development, team recruitment and line management. Being part of a cross-functional team has allowed me to add more value to deliver high-quality social work services across the country.

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