Hello, my name is Chris Dupain, I work as a Social Care Assessor in an adult’s community team in East Devon. So, seeing people in their own homes. I am also studying for a Social Work qualification at the same time as working.
When did you start working at Devon County Council?
I started working for Devon County Council in 2013, at first in the Arranging Support Team and then moving on to being a Social Care Assessor at Care Direct Plus, which is an office based role, a year later. I’ve worked in a Community Team in East Devon for the last four years.
What made you choose to work for Devon County Council?
I was working for a private home care agency and I wanted to progress whilst still working close with people and having a meaningful job and working for Devon gave me that opportunity.
Can you give an overview of your role?
My team works with adults over 18, so this will be people with a learning disabilities or physical disabilities but generally I’ve worked with older people. I mainly assess people’s eligibility for packages of care through social services, but it is a lot more than that. I’ll be linking in with GPs, families, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Care Providers and lots of other professionals to see how we can help people. Our aim is, always, to support people in their own homes as much as possible, but we can always arrange residential care when if it’s right for the person.
How did you come to be in this role?
I like hearing about people’s lives and their stories, so I enjoy getting to know them and finding out what’s important. Having been a carer, I know that this is essential. So, becoming a Social Care Assessor felt like a natural progression for me.
What support did you receive when you joined Devon County Council?
I first applied to be a Social Care Assessor in Care Direct Plus, where the assessments are completed over the phone. The workflow in this team is much quicker, but as you’re in an office, there is always a manager or a senior colleague nearby to help you. In the Community Team the work often tends to be a bit more complex when you have a bit more autonomy and flexibility to find the right solution. But, with both teams, as your dealing with people in very different situations, you are not expected to know the answers straight away. When I first started I really valued having the closer supervision at Care Direct Plus, which has really helped me in the long term.
What’s your favourite part of what you do?
Everyone is different so a solution for one person may not be the same for another, so I really enjoy that each day is different and that you solve problems based on each different persons needs. Sometimes it’s finding the right service for them and getting funding sorting out. But, other times it’s about empowering them and supporting them to exercise their rights.
How have you progressed through your role?
The Social Care Assessor role is so varied, so it’s helped me to understand what other jobs there are out there and what training there is. I didn’t know this when I first started, but I found out that I wanted to be a Social Worker. So, Devon County Council is sponsoring me, to become qualified. I do have friends that have gone on to be Occupational Therapists or work in Safeguard and Commissioning in the Sensory Team.
What benefits do you enjoy?
I have young children at home so the role is flexible around family life. I generally work half the week in the office where I get support and talk to colleagues and I spend the other half at home where I can concentrate quietly and organise myself. A huge benefit of working for Devon for me is that they have sponsored me to complete my Social Work training while still earning a wage. So, with a mortgage and family at home this would not have been feasible to do the course privately, so I’m really thankful that I have this opportunity.
What else do you enjoy about your job?
It’s a really hard and challenging job, but if you’re dedicated and motivated, it’s also very rewarding. Looking back at some of the cases I’ve worked on over the years, it’s good to know the differences you can make in people’s lives.
What do you enjoy about living and working for Devon?
My team in East Devon is relatively small, so we have a good team identity and a good bond. But, as Devon is a big organisation I’ve still been able to keep in touch with people I’ve met in different departments or have moved around. Living in East Devon there’s plenty to do with my two young children who keep me busy. In the summer we can go to the beach after school and in the winter there are plenty of places to get muddy, either in the countryside not far from our house or we go up to the Moors if we’re feeling adventurous. I grew up in Devon, so I feel very lucky to be able to live and have a career here.