Team Leader of the Year, Children’s Services
ORGANISATION: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
AWARD(S): Team Leader of the Year, Children's Services
In 2014, the Leaving Care team in Rotherham was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted. The well-documented struggles faced by the local authority – and the work needed to improve the Leaving Care team – might have put some practitioners off, but not Louise Pashley.
Instead, Louise built her team at the height of these difficulties and became “more tenacious, more committed and even more unapologetic about what she expected” for care leavers. Her hard work paid off – when Ofsted returned four years later, the service was deemed outstanding, with inspectors praising the team for their high aspirations.
This success is perhaps no better summarised than in the words of one of Louise’s colleague’s, who wrote, “she took the team from a place of darkness to a place of light”.
Louise, who was born and bred in Rotherham, only ever wanted to work in Leaving Care. She started out as a personal advisor, before qualifying as a social worker and progressing to team manager – a post she has held since 2012. Her 20-year stint with the service speaks volumes about her commitment to her home town, and she is clearly trusted, valued and respected, by both her colleagues and the young people she fights so hard for.
WHAT THEY SAID:
A Rotherham resident committed to seeing through the struggles of her hometown despite intense public scrutiny. The team trusts, values and respects Louise - “she is our home, our heart”. Endorsements from young people and her colleagues are genuine and heartfelt.
Sherry Malik, Director of Children’s Services, NSPCC
Louise has been team leader for the after care team in a very troubled authority at a very difficult time. She has shown strength of character by not running away from it, but by staying and embracing the challenges ,and demanding the best for the young care leavers of Rotherham.
Carol Long, Researcher, Durham University
She gives advice and gets me thinking.” “She is dead welcoming and she does this for everyone.” “She will always take time to sit with me, even if she’s dead busy.” “Louise is the sweetest, kindest most honest women I know.” “She said yes about supporting me with getting a flat. If I’d have been there when she told me I would have hugged her!” “Louise has always been in my corner and I can’t thank her enough.
Feedback from young people
I have watched her focus and unerring commitment to getting what is right for our young people. I have watched her support her team during times of triumph and through grief, personal and professional. I have watched her team care for her. The team and young people are all incredibly proud of Louise. We are lucky to have her in our service.
Sharon Sandell, Service Manager Leaving Care, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
SILVER AWARD WINNER
Hannah Gregory, Gloucestershire County Council
Justin Colman, London Borough of Lambeth
Laura Bissell, Darlington Borough Council
Loredana Grigore, Essex County Council