Tag Archives: work

The weekend

I feel like I have been somewhat neglectful of this blog recently. Life has just been so incredibly busy and I am trying to pack up my flat a bit and get things a little more organised. The Mister came down this weekend and helped me out with this, mainly with moving some of the stuff I don’t need to a friends garage. It is amazing how much crap it is possible to shoehorn into a small space. Every single corner had crap in it! So far I have put 5 bin bags full of stuff into the bin and 5 bin bags to a charity stuff, and a pile of stuff on ebay. I think I am getting there though, but it is tiring, and boring!!

Other than packing this weekend The Mister and I went to the christening of one of my client’s daugther. It was such a pleasure to be able to share this experience with her and her family, and to see just how far she has come in her recovery. Moments like these are what make doing the job worthwhile. Seeing people retrieve their lives and make something out of themselves is undeniably pleasurable and so satisfying. I am so proud of her, as I am of all my clients who manage to pull themselves out of the disasters they have often made for themselves. Seeing her up there with her beautiful little girl, and her son with whom she has recently resumed contact, makes me so proud to have been part of her life. It makes work bearable, as well as making it hopeful.

Busy, busy

Well things have been pretty busy in Doris-land. I have been up in Leeds because I had an interview in Northallerton. I didn’t get the job because, of all things, I messed up a Child Protection question. I guess in some ways it made things a little easier for me because I wasn’t sure I wanted the job anyway, and I wasn’t sure what I would have said if they offered it to me. However, the team manager gave me some very helpful feedback about the interview, and said that she would shortlist me again if I applied for another job.

I have also been looking around Harrogate and Leeds for places for us to live. We were considering buying up here, but trying to sell my flat and buy another place was all becoming a bit much, so I think we are going to try and rent in Leeds for a few months. At least it will give me a chance to move up here and get my head straight, as well as giving us a chance to decide where we want to live.

So, I am feeling a little better. A little more in control, and I guess we just have to take one thing at a time. So, we need to find somewhere to rent and I need to get my CV done so that I can put my application out to a few agencies. I think I might do temp work for a little while. The money is reasonable, and there would be no responsibilities other than turning up and getting on with my work.

Life is busy, but it is also good.

Slight stress

I have had a bit of a meltdown today. I think everything has just moved up a gear or two and I am feeling a bit stressed.

I applied for a job on Saturday, was informed yesterday that I have been shortlisted and have been offered an interview next Wednesday. This is all well and good but I am suddenly feeling a bit panicked that their timescales are going to be totally different to mine. There is absolutely no way that I can pack up my life and put my flat on the market and move to Yorkshire in one month. The enormity of the next few months kind of struck me today and I started feeling a bit sick.

I am convinced that I am making the right decision in moving north, but I am starting to think that this job might not be the right one for me if it puts pressure on me to move very soon. I think I need to have a bit more time to get my head around things. Not to mention the fact that they point blank told me that they wouldn’t consider offering me travel expenses for interview, let alone relocation expenses.

Maybe I just have an attack of the nerves. I know everything will be ok in the end, but it all seems to be happening very quickly!!! I am not that good with change, and there are a lot of changes in the offing!!!!


I have had a really difficult week. It seems that it has just been a load of little things piling up on me all at once and I am not coping terribly, terribly well.

Work has been really difficult. I know I have moaned in the past about the amount of paperwork that I am having to do, but it is now getting to ludicrous proportions. I had supervision with my boss on Monday and pretty much he went on and on about all the things I hadn’t done. Not to mention that I have a caseload of 35, half of which are child protection or pregnant, about another third of them are on drug treatment orders and I seem to spend most of my time at meetings. Not to mention that I have to produce prescriptions for all of them every week, keep my notes up to date and ensure that they get seen once a fortnight. Oh no. He only mentioned all the pissy statistics that I haven’t been doing. So, that was Monday morning and it set my week up badly.

I think I might be hormonal but I am not sure and when I get angry and frustrated I just cry. I have cried every day this week at work and last night I had a really vivid nightmare about my Mum dying and when I woke up I was literally sobbing. It was awful because in the half-wake-half-sleep-like-state I couldn’t work out what was real and what was the nightmare. So, today I has been horrid. I have cried numerous times and I am just feeling a bit wrung out.

Fortunately I am off to see The Mister tomorrow. I need hugs and I need lots of them.


I woke up this morning to several inches of snow. I had a pretty hairy drive back from Oop Norf yesterday and did wonder whether we might get a snow day. It is quite a relief to be honest as I feel absolutely shattered. I am sure I could get to work if I really put my mind to it, but I hate driving in the snow and as they have shut all schools and stated that non-essential travel should be avoided I think I will stay at home. I am not sure that I am convinced that work is essential. So, instead I shall do some work at home, and go out for a nice walk and take some photos.


Today I am working at home as it is my admin day. It is almost impossible to get my paperwork done in the office because people keep asking me to do things, so this year I have been given permission to work at home one day a week. Last week was a bit of a write-off because I did bugger all, but this week I seem to have got into the swing of things. I decided to set up my table with my lap-top and got all my paperwork out last night so that it was all ready and waiting for me when I got up this morning. I have managed to write up several assessments and do some letters, but I still have all my client notes to do. It is so deathly boring. No wonder the NHS is generally rubbish. All the workers are drowning under a sea of paperwork and requests for statistics.

So, far today I have eaten a yoghurt, a banana and an apple and I am still hungry. I will go to the gym later. The diet and exercise routine seems to have been a little slow in getting started this year, but we are getting there.

Also, I am waiting for the man to come and install Sky+ for me.  Very exciting indeed!

That’s all for now. A day in the life of Auntie Doris. Not very exciting is it?


I only have one day left at work. I am asbolutely knackered and I still have masses of work to do before I can clean my house, pack, go to London on Friday night for a carol service, drive to the airport on Saturday, catch a flight and go to sleep on the plane.

I wish I could click my fingers and have everything done. Either that or I need staff.


I hate the last couple of weeks before Christmas with an absolute passion. I have a serious amount of work to get through and I am feeling the pressure of not making much headway into it. Every time I look at my desk I keep wondering how I am going to get through it all.

Admittedly I have added pressure to myself by making a load of presents this year, but I have enjoyed it so much and it has given me a creative outlet. Also, I haven’t been to the gym in over a week and only managed to go swimming once in that time. I feel like I have put on weight and I feel like a gigantic blob. Not good in so many ways.

I know the end is in sight because I fly home a week on Saturday, but that feels like a long, long way off.

The Baby P aftermath

I was just listening to the news and they stated that there has been an increase in the amount of children removed into care since the end of the Baby P trial – about a 30% increase.

This I am not surprised by. I spent part of my morning in a child protection meeting trying to plan what is going to happen to one of my clients when she has her baby. Whereas before the media reaction to Baby P (in my professional opinion) there was little interest in my client other than the usual, “oooo we must monitor” blah blah blah, suddenly we are all being railroaded into a very heavy-handed approach to child protection. I sat in this meeting and by the end of it I had been channeled in the direction of considering residential rehab for mother and baby… at an extortionate cost. Money that we don’t have, and if social services want to go down this route then they can fork out for it.

It just seems to me that instead of being measured in responses and considering families on a case by case basis everything suddenly is blown out of proportion. I understand it and yet it makes me quite cross. We fight and fight to get appropriate services to support clients and yet the minute something terrible happens they aren’t even given the option of trying to be a good parent. I have no doubt that under that much scrutiny many parents would make monumental mistakes.

I am not sure we will get any balanced response in the next few months. The icing on the cake was the suggestion (however “unsaid” it was) that I was being unprofessional in suggesting that my client should be given the opportunity to parent before she is cast in a negative light.

In my experience, I just can’t win!

Baby P

The news is full of the tragic story of Baby P who was killed after sustained abuse. Once again Haringay Council is under investigation after the child was seen over 60 times by social workers, health visitors and a paediatrician who failed to diagnose a broken back and ribs just two days before he died.

The story is absolutely tragic, but sadly not unique. In fact one of the most significant child deaths, that of Victoria Climbie, was also in Haringay. The investigation into the death and Lord Laming’s recommendations led to the Every Child Matters report which has been one of the most significant initiatives around child protection and child welfare.

I have listened to a few different radio shows today, and one earlier in the day was asking the question “What is it like to be a child protection social worker?” The discussion was interesting with many people providing horror stories of massive caseloads, lack of resources, support etc. It was a well balanced discussion. However, this afternoon on the same radio station I have just listened to the presenter slating social workers and holding them fully responsible for the death of this child. Not mention of the vile people who actually battered this small child… oh no! It is the social workers’ fault that they did not prevent it.

I have no doubts that there were massive failings, both on the part of the local authority, but also on the part of all other professionals involved. What some of these people don’t seem to realise though is that being a child protection social worker is a scary profession. In fact, being a social worker in general is a scary job, but CP social workers have it especially bad in my opinion.

CP social workers have to death with aggressive people who don’t want social services input into their lives. They have to deal with traumatised, neglected children who have poor attachments and are needy and difficult. They have to deal with vast quantities of paperwork and bureaucracy. Even when they identify risks to children the process of being able to remove them is complicated and contentious and very often they do not have the resources to do it. Money is a big issue and it seems to me that most departments are more concerned about saving cash than saving lives.

Social workers have to cope with a severe lack of staff, and those who are recruited are often newly qualified and inexperienced in dealing with front-line CP work. Stress-levels are high and people are regularly off sick. On top of all this they have to live with the knowledge that a failure or bad decision on their part could mean that a child could die. And the icing on the cake is the possibility that that information could end up in the public domain and their name could be spread across the paper, along with questions asked about their competency to do their job.

Don’t’ get me wrong. I am not justifying what happened. I am just saying that being a social worker is a difficult job at the best of times. Being vilified in the press does not help and it certainly doesn’t promote social work as a positive profession. Child protection social workers deserve better.