16 Days of Activism – Day Five

Shining a light on services

Day in the Life – Operations Manager

Ranjit is the Outreach Community Services Manager for Changing Pathways. She studied BTEC National in Social Care, and went on to complete BA (Hons) in Applied Community and Youth Studies and recently accredited in SafeLives Service Manager.  Her passion is to empower Women, particularly women from BAME (Black and Ethnic Minority) communities and those who face multiple disadvantages. Ranjit has 15 years of working in the domestic abuse services, six years of which has been management; and is Level 3 Safeguarding Lead for Children and Adults.

Whilst I’m driving to work I start to prepare mentally for the day running through the first emails I will need to respond to that were outstanding from yesterday. It’s Friday which can be our busiest day with an influx of referrals and safeguarding actions. Safeguarding is a huge part of our role as we work with both adults & children who are at risk. One of the things I often reflect on is the huge impact on children from domestic abuse.

I’m pleasantly welcomed by some children in the reception area and I say my good mornings and quickly catch up with the IDVA manager in regards to staffing, HR actions and ensuring office cover.

This morning I am trying to co-ordinate a meeting with an Inspector from Essex Police and a manager from Mental Health Services for a complex case I am overseeing, as well as reply to other emails. I check my outlook calendar and see that I need to get moving with setting up Group work and I also have a supervision & support meeting booked for 2-3pm with one of my team, I purposely keep the rest of the afternoon free to allow for me to oversee and manage any new referrals that may need emergency intervention as its vital that we risk assess and safety plan all new referrals before the weekend.

I phone to check in with the team who are based in Harlow and I am told that there will be a safeguarding alert coming my way. Part of my role is to check that safeguarding actions have been completed and advise on next steps. This might be as a result of a client advising they are suicidal due to the ongoing abuse or that one of their children is at risk from the alleged perpetrator.

I get a call from our BAME IDVA, who is currently supporting a Punjabi speaking client and I am acting as a translator until a formal meeting can be booked.  I know the case well as I initially took the referral and completed the risk assessment, the client feels comfortable with me as I understand the cultural dynamics that she has to deal with.

Whilst on the phone I check my secure emails and I find two internal safeguarding alerts; I also have a trainee DAP (Domestic Abuse Practitioner) waiting to discuss a case, there are always competing priorities! I see if the case that needs discussion can wait or if there is another manager to case consult with. Then onto the safeguarding issue which is the next priority. I carefully read through the information and check the case notes, I advise that one case is referred into the high risk (IDVA) service due to recent escalation. The other safeguarding concern, I advise needs to be a Children’s Social Care referral out and I follow up to ensure this has happened.  I update the case notes before taking my lunch.

Right I’m ready to carry out the diarised supervision meeting, get all the necessary paperwork in place and find a quiet and confidential place. Supervision meetings are for managers to discuss cases with their team members, individually, and look at other options we have to support the survivor, whether the case can now be closed and any concerns that the practitioner may have in addition to looking at how we are supporting the survivor. Today the practitioner is feeling unsure in regards to some cases that she is holding so we both agree that it would be helpful to review some of these. A couple of cases are challenging due to not being able to get hold of the clients, I look at the case notes and it’s now the 3rd week that we have not had contact, I check over the risk assessment and it was standard risk as the perpetrator is no longer around but the client was looking for support due to the impact the abuse has had on her emotional well-being; we don’t like closing cases but if we cannot get hold of a survivor there has to be a cut-off point so that they don’t feel harassed by us. Not everyone is ready for support and also people lead very busy lives. I suggest that we send out a text as survivor had informed it was safe to do, stating that we would be closing the case in the next 5 days if we had not heard back but she could refer back in any she was ready.

After the meeting I head to the kitchen for a cup of tea, the phones are ringing and the front door buzzer is going, I answer the intercom and it’s a local donator, with boxes of food donations, I gratefully accept these as we act as a foodbank for many of the survivors we support.

Finally, I grab a tea and catch up with the team in the main office, at this point we all get a bit giggly and there’s lots of laughter in the office which enables us to have moments where we de-stress!

There are a multitude of actions to complete but it’s important to take time for self-care, so I have a few minutes away from the screen, walk around the block and then come back in more energised for the last hour of the afternoon.

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