Swan Family Centre – Croydon South is overseen by Swanstaff Recruitment which operates within a wide range of sectors across the UK. Swanstaff has many service level agreements with local council authorities in England and Wales and is a growing contact service. The centre works closely with the centres located in Lambeth and Croydon North with staff working between all three centres. Croydon is served by East Croydon, South Croydon and West Croydon rail links and has many buses that run from Central London to Croydon and the South West.
At the centre’s entrance, clients can view the ground rules and sign in via the book located by the small office. They are then buzzed through to the main centre. A selection of rooms are available – in total nine or ten over the two floors of the centre. There are two good size rooms on the ground floor for clients/staff who cannot manage the stairs to the upper floors. The disabled toilet is on the ground floor along with adult toilets on all floors of the building. Call telephones are on each floor level which are connected to each floor and reception. The centre has a good variety of equipment for all ages with a strict cleaning regime. There is no outdoor facility available at the centre but there are local parks within a short walking distance away along with a large shopping complex, cinema and sports arena. At the time of the visit staff and clients were no longer required to wear face masks although social distancing was still in operation.
The centre’s main referrals are from local London boroughs which Swanstaff contact services has contracts with. The centre has a referral form for looked after children in care proceedings. Families that are going through or have gone through the court can complete a referral on-line securely or request via email.
Swan Family Centre’s website has clear information about operating operations, where centres are located, pictures of rooms and facilities available. It also has a map showing the location of the centre and relevant transport links. The centre has leaflets for parents/referrers and information on charges are given to families/referrers when an enquiry is made to the centre for possible contact sessions. All families are clear about these charges, opening hours and contact details for the centre. Prior to using the services all families are given information about the procedures that needs to be followed by all clients and staff to ensure the safety of all at the centre.
A high proportion of looked after children attend the Lambeth and Croydon centres. They rarely can visit the centre prior to contact sessions due to their circumstances. Where possible with private referrals, children will visit the centre with the resident parent/carer when the pre contact visits are being completed. This gives the children an opportunity to look at the facilities available and to meet the contact supervisors. The centres continue to use the children’s journey planner format if requested by the referrers. The centre uses child evaluation forms for feedback.
During the pre-contact meeting families are informed of the processes and services they will be getting and by whom. Contact plans are put in place including for any handovers and indirect contact being provided. Risk assessments are completed prior to contact being held in the community or in family homes with a clear procedure in place in case of emergencies. Staggered arrivals and departures are put in place. Staff at the centre do not use their own vehicle for transporting children. Children are either brought to the centre by the resident parent or if the centre is facilitating a contact session for the local borough, children are brought to the centre by their foster carer or use the allocated taxi firm registered with the local social services borough. Reviews are completed for private referrals and staff attend Looked After Children (LAC) reviews with a prepared report sent prior to the meeting. The manager liaises closely with social workers allocated to families. Signed copies of all in attendance are given to relevant parties with detailed summary of future work where applicable.
As in the team at Swan Family Centre Lambeth, the staff at Croydon South also work between these centres along with Croydon North. The team comprises of a good selection of qualified staff, qualified in NVQ Level 3 health and social care, social work, to staff with law degrees. The centre staff team reflect the diversity of the local community. The centre manager ensures that workers are allocated to families with two named workers for consistency. They ensure all contact workers are clear of what needs to be observed during the contact sessions and potential risks.
The assessor reports that it was a pleasure visiting the centre and meeting the staff team. The centre has a clear management structure with undertaken responsibilities of the service. The Director of Contact Services continues to work closely with the Divisional Manager and the management team of each centre to ensure the management of the centre, which includes training programmes, recruitment, complaints and compliments, health and safety and service delivery is of a high quality. The manager at the centres manages all aspects of the contact services from referrals, pre visits, allocation of staff to clients, liaising with professionals and evaluations once clients are due to move on. The centre provides a good quality service for their users and staff. Any recommended actions following the visit are now complete meaning the service meets the standards for enhanced (supervised) accreditation.