Social services pioneer nominated for top gong

Bucks County Council's Terri Cartwright
Bucks County Council's Terri Cartwright

A pioneering social services boss is up for a top national newspaper award for creating a service that has so far helped over 70 children stay out of the care system in Bucks.

Bucks County Council’s Terri Cartwright who developed the authority’s Children and Teenager Community Help (CATCH) Service in a bid to improve its provision, has been shortlisted in the Public Servant of the Year category in the Guardian newspaper’s Public Service Awards.

CATCH is an early intervention service, set up to support families in crisis and prevent young people, aged 11-17, from entering the care system unnecessarily. Its seven members of staff aim to respond within three hours of getting a phone call.

The service was launched in 2011 to serve the whole of Bucks and has since helped around 240 families ‘get their lives back on track’.

Earlier this year, Ms Cartwright launched a junior version of the service for children aged from birth up to 11 and says winning the award would send out an ‘important message’.

Ms Cartwright said: “Winning the award would give an important message that social services aren’t just the bad guys, and that given enough creativity and the authority to do things, we can make a difference for children.”

Angela Macpherson, BCC’s cabinet member for Children’s Services said the award would be ‘well deserved’.

“The CATCH service has been very effective in helping families move on from their difficulties to lead happier and more positive lives. I wish Terri lots of success with her award.”

The council has also been shortlisted in the HR Excellence category of the Public Services Awards for its contribution based pay scheme.

Vote for Ms Cartwright