Avocet have over 20 years of experience working with children, young people and their families in residential and community settings. Our Independent Social Workers have a developed knowledge of child social work services and complex family issues. This can include children in need of services and protection, children with physical and emotional disabilities, children and parents with learning disabilities and mental health concerns.
Codes of Practice and Ethics
Avocet adhere to, and fully supports the GSCC code of practice for Social Care Workers, as well as the BASW Code of Ethics for Social Work. These can be found on their respective web sites at -
Equality and diversity in Social Work
Avocet embraces equality and diversity. Our Independent Social Workers work respectfully with diverse family groups, encouraging participation and inclusion in all work undertaken. Through transparent Social Work practice we aim to empower individual family members to achieve the best outcomes for children.
Avocet was formed in 2004 by Paul Levy and Nicci Murphy, who between them have over 45 years experience in Social Work. To find out more about Paul and Nicci, you can view their biographies below.
Paul Levy – Director of Avocet
Paul Levy has been in Social Work for over twenty years. He began in 1984 as a residential Social Worker with adults with learning disabilities. In 1985 he moved into residential Social Work at a Barnardos school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties where he progressed to the position of Deputy Team Manager. In 1998 he gained the Diploma in Social Work and he remained employed by Barnardos where he moved on to the position of Deputy Project Manager of a residential unit/fostering service and then the position of Learning and Development Consultant for Head Office delivering management training courses and taking a lead role in introducing NVQ to child care departments.
In 2004 Paul started working as an Independent Social Worker carrying out various Social Work tasks for statutory children and young people departments and a number of voluntary organisations; including Social Worker in leaving care, child protection and care planning and unaccompanied minors teams and Duty Manager in a leaving care team; undertaking Initial and Core Assessments, risk and viability assessments and kinship and parenting assessments. He has been involved in a number of Form F assessments, represented the views of many children in private and public law proceedings in the preparation of section 7 and 37 reports and carried out the role of Investigating Officer in the Stage II Complaints process.
Paul has also developed and delivered training courses in personal safety at work and child protection.
Paul holds a BSc in Social Policy, Psychology and Sociology from the Open University, a Postgraduate Certificate in Therapeutic Communication with Children from the University of East London and The Tavistock Clinic, the Post Qualifying Award (PQI) in Social Work from Bournemouth University and the Postgraduate Certificate in Evidence Based Social Worker and Post Qualifying Child Care Award from the University of Sussex.
Nicci Murphy - Director
Nicci Murphy has been in Social Work for over twenty years. She started as a volunteer in a residential establishment for adults with physical disabilities and then went on to study the Certificate in the Residential Care of Children and Young People (CRCCYP) with Scope. In 1988 she became a residential Social Worker at an NCH residential school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties where she progressed to the position of Unit Manager. She then went to work as a Deputy Team Manager with the same client group at a Barnardos residential school. In 2002 Nicci gained the Diploma in Social Work at Greenwich University and after qualifying worked in the area of child protection and care planning in Local Authority children and young people services for six years, making assessments and preparing reports for Court; three of these years were spent as a Deputy Manager in a safe guarding and care planning team in a London borough. Nicci now undertakes the role of Independent social worker as well as carrying out the role of Investigating Officer in the Stage II Complaint process for a number of Local Authorities; her Avocet role also involves working with a number of voluntary and statutory agencies.
Nicci holds a BA (Hons) in Child and Adolescent Studies from Luton University and the Post Qualifying Award in Social Work (PQ1) and the Undergraduate Enabling Others qualification.
BBC News reports: Children caring for a relative could have their education and job prospects permanently damaged, a charity warns. The Children’s Society says one in 12 young carers in England spend more than 15 hours a week caring for a parent or sibling, and one in 20 miss school. Its new report says that [...]... read more
Thousands repeatedly run away from care, police figures reveal By Tristan Donovan, Wednesday 24 April 2013 Nearly 3,000 children repeatedly went missing from care in 2012 according to police figures obtained by the NSPCC. Police recorded 28,000 incidents of children running away from care in 2012. Image: Alex Deverill/Posed by model Freedom of Information requests [...]... read more
Children and informal kinship carers speak out ‘Successive governments have never ever wanted to acknowledge this underclass of caring that is going on. I can’t tell you how hard it’s been…and the eternal phrase ‘But this is a private arrangement’. (Grandmother bringing up 14 year old) ‘I worry about money every day. There’s not been a [...]... read more
Article in Community Care this week: What social workers need to know about the new NHS 1 April saw the biggest reform to the NHS in its 65-year history, bringing substantial changes for health professionals in England. But what does it means for their social care counterparts and for integrated working between the two services? [...]... read more
The following article was published by BASW on 18 March 2013: One of the world’s most troubled zones, an estimated 60,000 people have died in Syria since the uprising of March 2011. Save the Children has warned of a “collapse in childhood” in the country, with one in three children having been hit, kicked or [...]... read more
Article in Community Care 04.03.13 Practitioners must take time to find out disabled children’s perception of events, understand their wishes and feelings, and support them to participate. It is cause for concern that there is so little research in both the UK and further afield about safeguarding disabled children. Nonetheless, consistent findings emerge throughout the [...]... read more