Our Teams

Within the Children & Young People Directorate we have a number of dedicated teams. Please read more information about each team below.

Early Help

The Early Help Service in Herefordshire is a targeted service to support children, young people and their families, with their consent to bring about sustainable change to improve outcomes for all the family.

The support is accessed through an Early Help Assessment which assesses all the family and identifies all their needs then a plan is drawn up with the family to address their needs. 

The service can support families with:

Family relationships, challenging behaviours, housing and financial matters, emotional and mental health issues, keeping children safe (both on line and in the community), child wellbeing and development and any other issues affecting the family.

The service consists of:

The Children’s Help & Advice Team; Early Help Coordinators; Early Help Family Support Teams; Children Centre Services who work directly with families with children, Supporting Families who manage the programme and Advanced Practitioners who approve all early help assessments that are referred into the service and lead on the step-down process from social care.


The MASH service is the first point of contact for the public and professionals who have concerns about a child.

MASH service triages information gathered to determine next steps, this will include identifying immediate and levels of risk and ensuring consent has been gained from the parents/carers when professionals refer or dispensing with if necessary when a safeguarding matter arises. In some instances, the MASH Social Workers will undertake screening checks, for example with police, health, education and other partner agencies to enable the manager to make a decision about next steps.

The MASH service completes decisions about all ‘contacts’ within one working day, this will include the decision to transfer directly to the Assessment Service or Early Help.


Assessment teams complete holistic child-centred assessments, incorporating the child’s identity, ethnicity, gender and culture. This is done by triangulation of information gained from: visiting and speaking with the child to build meaningful relationship throughout the process, consulting with parents/carers, including non-resident parents, step-parents, family members and other professionals who know the child well to inform an outcome focused SMART plan or next steps.

Child Protection and Court

When significant harm has been identified, child protection planning is considered to safeguard the child in line with Working Together 2018. This service actively promotes multi-agency working to ensure the right people are in place to reduce risk for children. All children are encouraged to attend or contribute to their child protection plans either in person or via an advocate.

Child protection processes aim to work preventatively with the child’s family and wider community to allow the child to remain within the family and/or wider network. Where plans are not successful in reducing risk, social workers access legal advice with some children becoming subject to pre-proceedings and/or Court.

Children with Disabilities

For children 0-18 yrs, with a disability and/or complex health conditions following assessment are able to access individually tailored support packages in and/or out of the family home. Social workers and support workers who hold specific knowledge work closely with specialist health professionals and colleagues in education ensuring the impact of a child’s needs are understood, and any risks are managed.

This service will work across the child’s journey, completing assessment work, including short break assessments, child protection and court work, ensuring there is consistency in social workers leading to relationship based model of practice.

Corporate Parenting

This service provides support for children who live with families and a range of services to children we care for and those that are care experienced and often living, studying and working successfully. We work with children and young people, foster carers, independent review officers and Homes staff to ensure we are progressing our children’s plans.

As good corporate parents’ the service strives to achieve the best for children and young people and hope that they will be healthy, safe and do well at school. As good corporate parent’s we hope children and young people will have good friendships and enjoy a range of hobbies and interests and to grow towards adulthood equipped to lead successful lives and make their way as adults in higher education in good careers and jobs, and be financially secure.


There is an in-house fostering service, who care for many of our children and young people. Social workers within the fostering service complete assessment of carers, statutory checks, support foster carers and complete annual reviews of foster carers.

It is the vision of the Council to grow the service, securing families for children and young people who are cared for within their local communities to enable them to build resilience and success.

Quality Assurance

This service encompasses a range of professionals working in partnership, including Independent Reviewing Officers and Child Protection chairs who work closely with the Social Work teams to ensure children and young people’s plans are of high quality, deliver the change identified to impact upon, and secure good outcomes. It also has responsibility for embedding the quality assurance framework and a range of approaches to ensure we have good quality services and experiences for young people.

The framework sets out how the Council learns from all activity completed to ensure children and families are supported in the right way at the right time, and understand what difference interventions have made. The framework sets out the approach and how learning is embedded and then evidenced in practice.

Social Care Skills Academy

The Social Care Academy are a team of Advanced Practitioners who support the Social Care Workforce with their continuing learning and professional development.  The Academy aims to provide a structured career pathway and continuing professional development that is mapped to the improvement plan and the needs of the service.

Advanced Practitioners offer tailored support to NQSW’s during their ASYE year offering a bespoke 52 week development programme whilst supporting NQSW to complete portfolios aligned to the Skills for Care ASYE programme.  The Academy also support different routes into social work e.g. it  facilitates social work apprenticeships.  We currently have three cohorts of Apprentices and will shortly be recruiting to our next apprenticeship programme which is due to start in September 2023.  In addition the Social Care Academy also facilitate the government programme “Step up to Social Work” which is an intensive full-time, fully funded, Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work that allows you to become a qualified social worker in 14 months.  The next Step to Social Work programme is due to start in January 2024 and recruitment for this programme will take place next year.  Finally the Academy work closely with our neighbouring Universities to provide good quality student placements for both BA and Masters social work students.

Learning and Achievement

This is a small team of education specialists focused on improving education standards and ensuring children are effectively safeguarded in their educational settings.  Our aim is to ensure that all children and young people get a great start in life and have the knowledge and skills needed for a successful transition into adult life.

The team works largely with educational settings from the Early Years sector including child minders, schools and colleges as well as alternative provision providers.
There are seven smaller teams within this team: The Early Years Team, The Education Safeguarding Team (including the education MASH, elective home education and Inclusion), The School Admissions Team, The EAL Team, Off site visits Team, The Virtual School for looked after children and The School Improvement Team.

Schools Effectiveness

The Schools Effectiveness Service is an outward-facing business function which aims to consult and provide a ‘one stop shop’ for schools and educational establishments to access services including specialist support solutions. We provide advice, guidance and training opportunities to business professionals within schools, to support best practice and continued professional development.

The team lead on the work experience provision for young people upwards from key stage 4. Our service offers the provision for general advice for work placements to all schools and colleges, compliance with health and safety regulations and close partnership working with neighbouring local authorities regarding placements for Herefordshire students in other counties.