Averil, Head of Service, Referral Assessment & Intervention

“Hello, my name is Averil Kathan and I am fortunate enough to be the Head of Service for Referral, Assessment and Intervention, in the London Borough of Sutton, and have been for the past four years. I am responsible for the Children's First Contact Service, the Referral and Assessment Team, Out of hours Children’s Emergency Duty Team (covering Richmond, Kingston, Merton and Sutton), and our early help service, making a difference in young people’s lives before any statutory interventions are made.

I am also the lead in the Borough for Missing children, child sexual exploitation, FGM, PREVENT agenda, the ASYE academy and Private Fostering. I have lovely stable teams with good managers that are clear about thresholds for safeguarding. I am also fortunate to be part of a senior management team that is supportive, and we work well together.

My teams know that I will always support them when it comes to safeguarding a child or a young person. We operate within a culture of encouragement, whilst still ensuring that our social workers remember that good practice is a requirement of their profession. I encourage creative practice, and whilst being diligent about timescales and performance indicators, I place value on good quality practice, clear report writing, meaningful assessments, and timely and appropriate interventions.

We work well together and encourage the career development of our staff. We have seen good practitioners go on to become Assistant Team Managers, and Team Managers, so Sutton is clearly a borough that values the development and reward of high performing staff. As a senior management team, we share our information and knowledge as we are aware that unity is strength. Our vision for our children and young people is aspirational and we believe that our practice needs to lead by example. We are responsible for the leaders of the future, and weave this into our daily practice.”