We recently sat down with our new Lead Consultant, Beena Patel, who gave us an insight into her role at Antser and what drew her to working with us.
What is your role at Antser?
I am a Lead Consultant at Tri.x, part of Antser. We work with 90 plus percent of children’s Local Authorities, supporting them to write their policies and procedures for social workers.
Tri.x works with both adults and children’s policies and procedures, supporting the development of new policies and procedures and providing 6 monthly reviews to ensure everything is up to date.
Why did you choose Antser?
I was a social worker prior, for about 11 years. Previously I worked for Warwickshire, who write their own policies and procedures. I heard through an agency about Antser and the work they do, Tri.x in particular. I wanted to stay in social work and keep an eye on what was going on, so this opportunity was ideal. I researched into what Antser do and this really appealed to me; I wanted to continue to support Local Authorities.
As a social worker, I didn’t get to do a lot of reading on any changes due to the pressures of the job. When moving to a role in Birmingham, their policies and procedures were provided by Tri.x. I realised how important it was to have all the procedures readily available online, not only in adapting to a new role, but keeping up to date on any changes in the sector or within my Local Authority.
Accessibility is a big sticking point for me, and the fact you can have it on your phone made everything so much easier. If you’re out and about you can just take out your phone and use the Tri.x manuals on the go. From this experience, I gained an interest in Tri.x and the brilliant tools they can provide for social workers. I wanted to support other Local Authorities to also have this tool, and so Anster was the obvious next step in my career.
How did you get into your chosen career and why did you choose it?
I always wanted to do things that helped people. When I was younger I lived in a community where there were a lot of older – and younger – people who needed additional help.
A lot of older Asian women in my community didn’t speak English. I would help them with doctors and hospital appointments, interpreting and ensuring they had the care they needed. A desire to want to continue helping people grew from this.
I attended university and undertook a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In our final year we could choose a specialism, and I chose mental health. My placement found me in a children and families team in Birmingham. This experience highlighted a sector that I was really passionate about and found really interesting. The children’s sector is very structured and I really liked the process involved.
The way I see it, if you make a positive difference for children, they’re going to grow up to be adults and support the change.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career?
There have been a lot of little things that have been difficult. When I worked in Warwickshire, the local community I worked in relied heavily on assistance from children’s centres and family support; things like courses on cooking and life skills. Money cuts meant these services struggled to continue. This had a massive impact on the community and the families who depended on these resources. I had to research and get adventurous with what we had available to support people.
Then COVID was also a big challenge. Social workers have continued to run a service without the usual support from others; health sectors and schools. It was difficult to get in and engage parents without this additional backing.
I worked in a disadvantaged area with a lot of young parents. It was difficult keeping families engaged whilst managing a pandemic and the restrictions that went alongside this. Just doing home visits, gathering information and building up relationships proved particularly tough as families didn’t want additional people in their homes from fear of COVID transmission, but they needed our help and support.
With regards to your new role, what are you most excited about?
As a social worker I didn’t really get chance to look through research and get involved in the guidance for social workers. I have the time to do all that now, and that excites me. Making things easier for social workers, having these policies and procedures that they can simply pick up and read, is a really big focus for me. Having been in this profession, I know how invaluable the Tri.x manuals can be when you’re on a busy schedule.
The role itself is not so different; I’m still in touch with social workers often. Although I might not still be practicing, I’m still on the same career path, still helping and supporting people, and that I’m really happy about. Things change really quickly and I like to be a part of that, filtering that change down; I’m excited about that.