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Our teams

Informal work meeting

We are committed to making a difference to the people of Norfolk. And we're committed to supporting our teams to do this the best we can.

Our teams are based in five localities across Norfolk in the east of England and focus on the Living Well model. Promoting independence is our overarching strategy for working with, changing and improving adult lives.

Our teams cover a wide range of social work activities with teams focusing on Mental Health, Learning Disabilities, Preparing for Adult Life, Older People, People with Physical Disabilities, Occupational therapy and People from Abroad.

Staff from each team are based in each locality, so that together we can provide the best and most appropriate support to residents. Occupational therapists work across all localities.

Our teams

Mental Health Team

The Adult Mental Health Social Care team works with adults aged 18-65 experiencing serious mental health issues and/or autism. The service is delivered through 5 locality mental health social care teams across Norfolk, the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) team and a hospital discharge team in Norwich.

The AMHP team is led by a manager and practice consultant staff who are responsible for the daily triage of MHA assessment referrals. We share offices with our NHS colleagues, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, to ensure the social care voice is represented in multi-disciplinary team discussions. The service has a strong and confident professional social care identify which we use to make a positive difference to the lives of people experiencing serious mental illness and to protect them from harm.

Alison Simpkin, Head of Service says: "It's not just about commissioning packages of care but more often about using our own social work skills to connect with a person to understand their strengths, ambitions and assets. We are passionate about applying the Living Well approach principles and the recovery model, with practitioners demonstrating a skilled approach to taking positive risks to promote a person's independence."

The teams highly value reflective practice, professional development and supports learning by promoting training, progression and placements for students and apprentices. We also encourage social work staff to develop their skills through additional training to become AMHP's, best interest assessors or practice educators.

The Mental Health Social Care service also covers the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguarding (DoLS) team responsible for assessments for those who lack capacity to consent to their care and support arrangements in care homes and hospitals.

Alison Simpkin says: "The strength of Norfolk County Council's mental health service comes from the diversity of the teams and the confidence, knowledge and skill of practitioners to apply legal frameworks in their area of work. As Head of Social Care, I am proud to lead this service and recognise the depth and breadth of expertise, commitment and passion the staff bring to their work. I have no doubt their dedication and drive make a difference to the lives of so many people in Norfolk."


Adult Learning Disabilities Team

The learning disability social care team is a specialist social care team which is integrated with colleagues from the specialist learning disability health service. We all work and support each other to better the lives of people with a learning disability over 18 years old.

The social work teams play a vital role in changing and challenging the outcomes for a people with a learning disability in Norfolk. We use legislation to ensure that people's rights are upheld, and that they are supported to keep safe in their communities whilst achieving the outcomes that are important to them.

We are a Norfolk-wide service, and team members work from the various locality bases. We support each other to ensure the rights of people with a learning disability are upheld and to ensure adults with a learning disability in Norfolk have the same access to housing, work, education, and community as all other residents of Norfolk. We have big ambitions to support people to hold their own tenancies, and to receive paid employment.

Working alongside commissioning colleagues, we are re-imagining our support offer to people to ensure that our provision meets the needs of those with a learning disability in our community and that the ambitions and aspirations of those we support can be achieved.

Head of Social Care for Adult Learning Disabilities, Corinne Avery said: "If you are a person who enjoys advocating for people you support, challenging the status quo, supporting change, and having variety in your work, the Learning Disability team can't wait to hear from you."

We asked the team for some thoughts about working in Adult Learning Disabilities and they said:

  • The management are fantastic, there's a great team spirit and supportive structure, communication and willingness to help each other - Rob
  • Really supportive teams - Angie
  • The work and people are interesting and diverse... it's never boring - Tracey
  • Getting the chance to work in a multi-disciplinary team, focusing on people's future and being inventive - Ebony
  • I enjoy working creatively with people to promote independence. Initially I was apprehensive about working with people with a Learning Disability, now I glow with positivity at the work I do. - Olwen


Preparing for Adult Life Team

The Preparing for Adult Life team was established in January 2020 to support young people with a learning disability, mental health issue, physical disability and/or autism transition from Children's Services, Health and Education to Adult Social Services.

This can be a challenging time with both personnel and services that families and young people have become used to using completely changing once the young person reaches the age of 18.

In Norfolk this important transition from special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to services for those with an eligible social care needs (The Care Act 2014) needs is led by Adult Social Services. The Preparing for Adult Life team facilitates regular networking meetings across Norfolk to develop strong relationships across the transitional agencies.

The team works closely with our employment services to ensure that employment, work experience and education is being pursued for all young people in our care as part of their planning for adult life.

Corinne Avery, Head of Social Care for Adult Learning Disabilities, said: "If you are invested in making a better future for young people with additional needs, and supporting them to aspire for more in their lives, Norfolk's Preparing for Adult Life (PfAL) Service could be right up your street. I'm really proud of our new service, and of what we have achieved so far. Our supportive team has big ambitions to do help even more families and young people we move on with their lives."


People from Abroad Team

The People from Abroad Team provides specialist social work services to Norfolk residents who have immigration-related issues. We receive and support refugees under the government's resettlement programmes, support asylum seekers who are placed in Norfolk by the Home Office to access local services and support, provide assistance and support to families with children who have no recourse to public funds, and support other migrants to access services and overcome the additional barriers they may face to achieving independence once they have settled in Norfolk.

We also deal with cases of modern slavery, human trafficking, honour-based abuse, forced marriage and voluntary return where the person is a non-British national. We support British nationals who are returning to the UK following a period of settled residence abroad and provide immigration advice and support at Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner OISC) Level 1 and provide advice and support to our colleagues in Adult's and Children's Social Services.

Qualified social workers and experience support workers on our team include specialists in early years, education, health, housing and employment, as well as people able to speak foreign languages. We aim to find lasting solutions for our clients and to promote their independence through ethnical, human-rights based practice.

Service Manager, Simon Shreeve said: "Helping people from abroad to settle in Norfolk can involve dealing with a myriad of intricate, fascinating issues. The social care system in Great Britain is often very different from the system in the countries where people have travelled from. It can be very confusing and frustrating for people, especially if their English is not quite up to dealing with the forms they are faced with. Having a diverse, supportive, skilled team able to make life better for our clients is essential to our service here in Norfolk."


Sensory Support Unit

The Sensory Support Unit comprises three teams who work with people who are hard of hearing or whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL), people who are blind or sight impaired and those who have a dual sensory loss, for example, deafblind.

Social work in the Sensory Support Unit is much more than assessing a person's needs and identifying a means to support the needs. Each team need specific skill sets and qualifications to practice. Our teams provide direct support and rehabilitation to the people we work with. We could teach people mobility skills, how to cross busy roads or how to undertake domestic tasks like cooking and shopping when you are visually impaired or deafblind.

For the Deaf community, especially older deaf people, the team often gets involved when a trauma occurs, for example many older people may have been educated at deaf school, and not necessarily have learned to read or write. The team is often the gateway for direct communication, and in many cases once we have concluded our input the person is fully independent again.

We work closely with the specialist voluntary sector, audiology and ophthalmology departments and sensory equipment companies, which enables us to find many solutions to challenges. Using our specialist skill set, creating activities and support groups, and providing technical sensory support equipment to the people we work with, and seeing how it can change lives for the better give us an immense sense of achievement.

Paul Bowerbank, County Manager, said: "I thought sensory support would be a good stepping-stone for a career pathway 20 years ago. Very quickly I realised this service involves a little bit of everything and is so rewarding. Many of my team have been here nearly as long, and we still are learning different ways to improve our practice and promote independence.


Integrated Community Teams

Our teams work with older people and adults with a physical disability. Our teams of social workers, assistant practitioners, occupational therapists and reablement staff from Norfolk First Response work across all five localities. In the east we work closely with colleagues from East Coast Community Health Care. Our senior management teams are made up of operational directors and heads of integrated care who either work for Norfolk County Council or Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC). It's a really integrated environment.

We work as part of the Integrated Care System and are also aligned to Primary Care Networks which means the integrated team structures benefits hugely from great collaboration with primary care colleagues. Our teams are strong voices for social care and social work within our integrated model and ethos of prevent, reduce and delay. The teams promote a supportive and learning culture with reflective practice and other learning opportunities such as practice teaching and social work apprenticeships encouraged.

We also have an Integrated Home First Hub of integrated health and social care staff which facilitates discharges from hospital. Our dedicated team facilitates discharges from Norfolk acute, mental health and community hospitals. We are also part of the Norfolk Emergency and Admission Avoidance Team (NEAT) which is an integrated team with health colleagues to prevent admissions to hospital.