Bexley - getting to the heart of it

A paperback book has been published to capture the fundamental principles in practice that have helped make the work with children and families in Bexley more effective. It’s been written by people who work with and for children, young people and their families in Bexley.

The book, titled ‘Getting to the heart of it’, includes compelling stories from practitioners, managers and children representing a range of teams across Children’s Services. It includes accounts of the reality of life on the frontline, the challenges of dealing with long-term and complex issues and the challenges involved in making a difference to the lives of children, young adults, carers and families.

Stories in the book include working with children in the Council’s care, helping them to find their independence and learning to trust, to honest tales of slowly gaining the confidence of unhappy families through communication, to growing up in care and the support the team offer along the way. The stories reflect emotions, thoughts and reactions from people who work with the councils children’s services.

The book will be used as supporting material for training courses, improvement work - both internal and external - and to help individuals, managers and teams sustain the quality of practice and relationship led work with families.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Teresa O’Neill said: “This book tells the story of the transformation journey that led to our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted judgement in 2018. The stories within come from Children’s Services colleagues and Councillors, as well as from the young people with whom we work and who have first-hand experience of how we work. I hope the book shows how we have grown, how we continue to grow and achieve and how we never stop aspiring to be better for the sake of our children, young people and their families.”

Director of Children’s Services, Jacky Tiotto, said: “I thank everyone who has taken part so willingly and I hope this is useful to others trying to make transformative and sustainable change. We wanted to try to share our learning about the important changes we have made which enables us now to focus always on our relationships with each other and with children and their families. Nothing can be transacted in our work unless there is connection through relationships. How to improve practice and culture are both really hard to describe. Stories are an easier means of seeing through the eyes of others.”

“I’m immensely proud of our Children’s Services here in Bexley and the way they care. I hope this book gives an insight into how we work and that it helps others who work in the extremely demanding, fascinating and rewarding world of children’s services.”

The book is available for free

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