Staff Case Study
Jo O’Donnell – Service Manager – Residential Care
“Looking back on all the young people I’ve looked after brings a smile to my face and I’m glad my accidental journey into residential care led me here.”
Prior to joining Restorative SCS in March 2018, Jo had worked for other care providers setting up and managing group living homes. “I started my social care career in 2007 as a casual support worker and worked my way up as a full-time support worker, senior support worker and assistant manager before becoming a registered manager in 2012.”
Jo had no experience in social care before deciding it was something she wanted to pursue. “I had previously worked in banking and in the courts and also spent four years working in Greece. It took me a while to decide on a career path. When I started as a casual support worker, I returned to studying in 2008 to obtain my degree in Health and Social Welfare.”
Talking about how she decided to pursue a career in children’s social care, Jo says, “My career in social care happened totally by accident. I was studying towards my degree and needed a placement. I worked at a six-bed children’s home and also a women’s hostel and made the decision to continue working with children and young people. The role felt more suited to me and I found I took to it well. I could see progression within the industry”.
Jo joined Restorative SCS in 2018 as a dual registered manager in residential care. The role involved supporting an existing home and opening a new one. Jo progressed to be one of Restorative’s senior registered managers and set up the company’s first home in Bradford. This was Restorative’s first residential home outside of Calderdale. Within her senior role, Jo supported the service managers and directors to develop policies and processes. Jo went on to successfully be appointed as Residential service manager to lead and manage Restorative Social Care Services’ Management Teams for the Residential Care Service. As a service manager Jo will also be responsible for leading on quality assurance for Restorative SCS’ Residential Care Service, including case auditing; evaluating the quality and impact of practice for children and young people; and developing related policy and practice guidance. She also helps to develop and deliver many of the organisation’s training courses.
Talking about her development within Restorative, Jo says, “I already had my Levels 3 and 5 when I joined Restorative. However, my learning and development hasn’t stopped. I complete all regulatory training when they pass their expiry date as well as face-to-face courses the company deliver, such as Team Teach, Recruitment & Selection, Report & Recording and many more. I attended the Designated Safeguarding Lead Course with Barnardo’s and also have the opportunity to be involved in external conferences and events, such as the National Missing Person’s Conference 2023 held by West Yorkshire Police. Events like these provide me with information on new policies coming into effect and give the company an opportunity to feed into these”.
What about the day-to-day stuff? “It’s a cliché but every day is different. I love being in the homes getting to spend time with the young people. I love supporting teams to achieve positive outcomes and it’s great to support staff progression and watch people thrive in new roles. I feel as an organisation we are supportive of staff on every level. The support I have received is outstanding and this sets a precedent for how I support others.”