16th February 2018

Dear Colleagues

Our overall ambition for children in Surrey is that each and every one of them is happy, healthy, safe and confident in their future.

Our absolute priority for all of those children who need our help, care and protection is that they are ‘seen, safe and heard’.

The way we work with children and families is strengths based and child and family focused.

In 2016 we developed our ‘Safer Surrey’ to practice which has been an important stepping stone in helping us clarify our overall ambition, our absolute priority and our approach to working with children and families. More recently we adopted Signs of Safety as our practice model for social work and have been training managers and practitioners to use this.  Both approaches are strengths based and child focused, with some similarities but also some key differences. However I’m hearing feedback that there’s considerable confusion about the relationship between Safer Surrey and Signs of Safety, not least because of some very similar words!

The work on Safer Surrey has helped us develop our practice and make improvements. But, listening to feedback, and after conversations and reflections with Practice leads across our Directorate, the term is no longer helpful in describing our practice and the ways we are developing practice across CSF and with partners. So I’ve decided that we’ll stop using the term ‘Safer Surrey’ as it’s now completed its job in setting us on a road towards a whole system approach to improving outcomes for children and families. We’re only dropping the label – because we will absolutely continue the important work to develop our strength based and child and family focused practice across Children Schools and Families (CSF) and with partners.

Signs of Safety is our practice model for social work and therefore the primary approach used in Children’s Services and areas of Surrey Family Services.  There are also a range of other approaches being used effectively in our work with children and families in social care and right across the directorate – for example, restorative practice, social pedagogy, systemic and person-centred approaches.   

The most important thing now is that we continue to learn what makes a difference for children and families and develop our shared system-wide approach to working with families.  The only difference is we won’t be branding this “Safer Surrey” anymore, it will be the way we do things for children in Surrey, the way we help to change their lives

My thanks for what you each are doing to make a difference to children’s lives and life-chances.

Rose Durban
Interim Director for Children Schools and Families

Surrey County Council