I have known Agi Gault for about 15 years, from the time she was working as an IRO in a statutory agency to the current day in her role as trainer and consultant working with Local Authorities throughout the UK and Ireland as well as with individuals and jurisdictions around the world.
There are two particular things that stand out to me about Agi’s work. The first is that she will never lose sight of the child, so whether she is providing reflective supervision or consultancy to the front-line worker or to the Director of Children’s Services, Agi will gently and skilfully guide the person in front of her to always stay focused on doing the very best for each individual child.
The second thing is just how skilled Agi is in connecting with people at all levels of an organisation, gaining their respect and helping them to become the best that they can be. Agi is kind, gentle and intelligent and uses those attributes to both compliment and to challenge; she brings a safe pair of hands.
In the years we have worked together I have seen Agi hone her skills in all areas and this happens because she continually reflects on her own practice and looks for opportunities to strengthen and grow.
In whatever way you choose to have Agi work with you, I am sure you will find her experience and her quiet intelligence of immense benefit.
Viv Hogg, Former Regional Director, Tyne and Wear
I am a member of police staff currently working for Wiltshire police. I have been with Wiltshire police for 42 years retiring as a detective specialising in the investigation of child abuse. Post retirement as a police officer I remained with the police as a civilian investigator in the same role and specialising in the investigation of child sexual exploitation.
In my role I have huge experience of partnership working and specifically working with social workers in children services. It was in this role that I first met and worked with Agi. This was as part of joint investigations between police and children services looking at allegations of sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. As a detective at that time I always found Agi to be utterly professional. She always knew the history of the family being investigated and knew her responsibilities in that role working with me. She had excellent communication skills in working with families in trying circumstances but always remaining focussed on the welfare of the children we were dealing with. She had excellent knowledge and was totally reliable in recording what we had done.
I carried on working with Agi as her career progressed as a manager and also as a chair at child protection conferences. I have attended strategy meetings for complex serious cases chaired by Agi where she showed huge experience and leadership managing critical decisions in deciding future actions. In meetings she always had a complete grip of the broader picture and would allow everyone present to engage and contribute valuing what they said accordingly. She always inspired confidence. Even for myself from another agency she was always totally approachable and ready to advise or discuss issues being investigated.
In case conferences which can be volatile and heated she always managed to maintain a calm atmosphere reassuring families present that their voices would be heard but also ensuring that professionals shared their information properly.
I have also attended training delivered by Agi and it is refreshing to listen to trainer who has the credibility of having done what she is training at “The front line”. She is knowledgeable and credible and delivers with an easy engaging style. I would have no hesitation in recommending Agi for any role. She was inspiring to work with and this was echoed not only by me but also my colleagues in the Child Protection Unit at that time
Dharyl Davies, WIltshire Police
I met Agi about 6 years ago when I joined the Signs of Safety Licensed Trainers world, she was already working as a Consultant then. Over the past 6 years I have had a number of opportunities to provide 5-day courses alongside her, stepping into the Consultants world in which she is exceptionally able and respected by her colleagues.
A number of qualities really stand out about Agi which I’d like to spend a moment reflecting on. Firstly, her priority is always, unapologetically, the children and young people we are all working for. Whether you a social worker bringing a case forward in a training situation, or a Trainer working alongside her, she will always bring your focus and attention back to, what difference will your actions and decisions make for that child or young person on a day to day basis, and holding you accountable for those choices in a firm but very safe way. She’s one of the best "Critical Friends” I’ve ever had, and I’ve worked in Children’s Services for over 15 years and provided training in the UK and Internationally for over 6.
I’m always impressed with how up-to-date Agi’s theoretical and “real world” knowledge is, she knows what the recent research is, any changes in legislation and Local Authority Duties and she has to be the most involved person I know, in continuous learning. If she’s not taking a new degree, she’s involved in several courses as well as developing and facilitating her own.
She is a skilled facilitator of taking you on a personal and professional journey by knowing the right questions to ask, and at the right times, it is an honour to know her, to work alongside her, and to grow because of her support to me as a trainer, a practitioner and a person. Thanks Agi
Hayley Muir, Signs of Safety Trainer, Tyne and Wear
I have worked with Agi a number of times over the course of a decade. My first experience of her was as mentor for myself and a number of other newly qualified social workers in the child protection field. I found her to be very knowledgeable, and well researched.
She had a capacity to assist us in feeling protected and supported whilst stepping out to take case responsibilities for the first time, ensuring statutory duties were followed and assisting in risk analysis to build on our practice skills.
Since then I have known Agi in the role of Conference Chair. I am now a safeguarding social worker with 12 years experience. I have vast experiences in child protection conference and was always confident in Agi’s ability to maintain control of the conference ensuring the family understood the purpose, assisting them in having their voices heard within conference. Keeping all involved on topic and assisting all involved to build on the family strengths and put in realistic achievable safety plan. Her capacity to retain the key detail identified in conference and provide concise verbal and written summaries aided the child protection process. She is one of the most efficient and effective chair’s I have worked with.
More recently I have sought clinical and case supervision from Agi when required by me as an Independent Social Worker. Her support and guidance has assisted my critical thinking skills, grow my confidence as a practitioner and she has undoubtedly assisted me to build on resilience skills and remain in the frontline of child protection work.
Lucy McDonald, Social Worker, Wiltshire, UK
I worked for many years with Agi and watched her grow. She has a natural understanding of young people particularly of children who have lost much. She never believed it but I learnt a great deal from her. We can always learn can’t we? Agi never stops.