LSCBLocal Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire

Interview with Ann Bodsworth, Joint CEO Northampton Women’s Aid

I’m Ann Bodsworth, Joint CEO Northampton Women’s Aid (NWA) Domestic Abuse Service. I’ve worked with NWA since 2007, with families whose lives have been affected by Domestic Abuse.

Q. What got you into safeguarding/child protection in the first place?

I’ve worked with vulnerable families for over 30 years. During that time I’ve seen serious incidents of child neglect, which has led to children and young people growing into dysfunctional adults. My belief has always been that early intervention is the most effective solution.
When the opportunity arose to represent the voluntary sector on the NSCB, I saw it as an opportunity to promote safeguarding in the sector, to really embed the belief that ‘Safeguarding is Everyone’s Business’, not just the responsibility of the Local Authority Children’s Safeguarding. There is so much information available, policies, guidance, toolkits and training, via the NSCB, I’m proud to be part of it.

Q. What are the different things you do in your role?

My primary role is to focus on the strategic direction of the organisation, identifying policy changes, which inevitably impact on funding; identifying opportunities for working together with both voluntary and statutory services, to provide a quality service that enables families experiencing DA to keep safe; attending strategic meetings to identify where NWA fits into the Strategic Plan within the county, as DA impacts across Police, Health, Housing, Adults, Children and Young People’s Services.

In addition I ensure the service we provide is making a difference to the families we work with, in order to evidence outcomes, and to quality assure our service. I also have line management responsibilities for my team. It’s important I keep in touch with them, to ensure they are feeling valued and effective in their jobs.

NWA is part of a national network, therefore keeping abreast with areas of good practise nationally is also a part of my role, identifying new opportunities.

Q. What do you do enjoy most about your role?

The most rewarding aspect of my role is seeing families who arrive in distress, Mum’s who feel they can’t cope, and with no hope for their future, leave our service feeling confident that they can live independently, not afraid for the future.

I am fortunate in working with a positive team, who are adaptable, always willing to take on new challenges, who have stayed with NWA despite the uncertainty of their future employment?

Q. What’s the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make?

The hardest decisions I’ve made is cutting services and making staff redundant. The state of the economy has had a tremendous impact on the voluntary sector.

Q. What are your aims for the next 12 months?

My aim for the next 12 months is to develop an integrated DA service within Northamptonshire through mergers with other organisations, to provide a responsive service, providing interventions that really change lives. To work with partners developing innovative ideas that can make a real difference. Unfortunately we still have far too many families within our Police, Health and Local Authority caseload with DA as the presenting issue.

Q. Who do you rely on when things get tough?

I rely on the team, I couldn’t do it without them, as we bounce ideas off each other, I also have a good work life balance, I have 6 grandchildren to have lots of fun with

Last updated: 05 October 2016

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