Gladstone Child Care

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Gladstone Child Care's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Gladstone Child Care is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
Project Manager Paula Lowe
Reach for the stars
Care, commitment and nurturing: that is what the
dedicated staff team at Gladstone Child Care provide
to the young people who find their home across their
three projects in Fife. Project Manager Paula Lowe heads up a
team of 47 across these three sites – Thornton, Anstruther and
Crail – where children and young people are given both a safe
and caring home and a solid platform to live their lives. Paula
The Parliamentary Review
that Gladstone and its team work
tirelessly to maintain a safe environment – one that is safe from
abuse and that never compromises when it comes to respect
and dignity.
We were established in August 2006, with the aim of providing vulnerable young
people with a safe space in which they could live, grow, develop and aspire to
achieve in every aspect of their lives. Our three projects are situated throughout
Fife, providing residential care to 12 children and young people.
Over the past 13 years, we have continued to grow, develop and invest to enable
us to meet the needs of those we support. The key elements of our care are the
provision of a high-quality environment and the care and support that are right for
our young people.
Involving our young people at every stage
During July 2018, we moved four of our young people to a new home that had
been purpose built for them, with all of the staff team and young people being
»Project Manager: Paula Lowe
»Established in 2006
»Based in Kirkcaldy
»Services: Residential care for
young people
»No. of employees: 47
Gladstone Child Care
involved throughout the development.
They visited the site frequently while
it was being built so they could
visualise the project and its outcome.
Our service users’ views on what they
needed from their home were also
taken on board. For example, the
young people requested that at least
one of the bathrooms had a bath. They
decided on the decoration, furnishing
and layout of their bedrooms and also
had an input into the use of space
in the remainder of the house. The
staff who support and care for the
young people were also involved in the
planning of the new house to ensure
that the environment would not only
be warm and homely, but also safe
and secure.
In addition, we have made further
investment in our other two projects,
fully refurbishing their kitchen areas.
One house now has a more open-plan
layout to meet the needs of our service
users and to facilitate their interaction
with the adults.
Another development is being
undertaken to extend the space the
young people have access to in one of
the projects. This is to ensure a good
mix of private and communal areas,
allowing them the space to receive
high-quality care and support.
Promoting from within
An important element of the care we
provide is that our young people have
confidence in us to support them. In
order to achieve this, we have staff
who are knowledgeable, confident and
skilled in meeting the young people’s
needs and who aspire in terms of both
growth and leadership.
During the last three months of 2018,
we undertook a restructuring process,
which involved a change to the
staffing within each project. We added
another senior practitioner into each
house, meaning each residence now
has two senior practitioners and one
team leader.
Individualised, safe space
environment is
not only warm
and homely,
but also safe
and secure
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
The reasons underpinning this change
were to offer further promotional
prospects for all of our staff while
aiding staff retention and supporting
our senior staff during their shift to
become project workers. We have
always sought to promote internally
where possible, whether for a senior
practitioner or team leader role.
As an organisation, we believe in
the capabilities of our staff; they
have the opportunity to achieve
promotion, learn new skills and
I am pleased to add that in December
2018 we successfully recruited three
senior practitioners from within our
staff teams.
One of the key challenges going
forward, not only for us, but also for
the wider residential childcare sector, is
staff recruitment. We work alongside
other organisations within Fife who
provide residential childcare, and
during the past 12 months, recruiting
staff into this field of work has proved
to be very challenging.
The role of a residential childcare
worker requires compassion, empathy,
knowledge and skill. The dedication of
our staff, and their investment in our
young people, is consistent. Striving to
recruit resilient staff with the potential
to fulfil this role is proving extremely
difficult. Recently, the number of
applicants applying for this role has
been low and the number of those
with experience or qualifications has
been even lower.
While the factors behind this challenge
are unclear, there are some key issues
we have considered:
»the level of historical abuse that is
being reported and investigated;
»salary, including terms and
»the qualification criteria now
»the demand for further qualifications
– Level 9 becoming a requirement in
Scotland, for instance.
Financial constraints are widespread
throughout the UK, and local
authorities who place young people
into our care face their own financial
challenges. Residential childcare
organisations now tender for contracts
and as a result they are tied into
costings, which leads to constraints
around salaries and increments.
To attract a skilled, qualified and
knowledgeable workforce that will
work shifts, weekends and public
holidays, the terms and conditions
need to meet the demands of the
role and recognise the hard work and
dedication that is required to be a
residential childcare worker.
We believe in
the capabilities
of our staff;
they have the
opportunity to
learn new
skills and
Teamwork leads to

This article was sponsored by Gladstone Child Care. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development