Effective Multi-Agency Partnerships: Putting Every Child Matters into Practice

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Rita Cheminais

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    About the Author

    Rita Cheminais is a leading expert in the fields of inclusion, Every Child Matters and special educational needs (SEN) in primary, secondary and special schools, and in local authority Children's Services.

    With a background as a teacher, a SEN Co-ordinator, an Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) Inspector, a Senior Adviser and a School Improvement Partner, Rita has over thirty years of practical experience.

    She is a prolific writer and respected author of journal articles and books in the field of inclusion, Every Child Matters and SEN. Rita speaks regularly at national conferences and was one of the three ‘Ask the Experts’ participating in the Becta National Grid for Learning (NGfL) live online national inclusion conference in 2003. She provided consultancy on inclusion to the national Rolls-Royce Science Prize initiative for schools in 2004.

    Currently, Rita is an independent education consultant with Every Child Matters (ECM) Solutions. She provides keynote presentations at conferences as well as offering support and consultancy to educational settings wishing to achieve the Every Child Matters Standards Award.

    email: admin@ecm-solutions.org.uk

    web: http://www.ecm-solutions.org.uk

    Dedication

    I would like to dedicate this book to my late mother, Joan Cheminais, who during the last months of her life continued to ask me about the progress of my writing. She never failed to support, encourage and inspire me throughout my working career. Life will never be the same without her, and whatever the future may bring, I am truly indebted to my mother for giving me the benefit of her infinite wisdom over the many happy years we spent together.

    Acknowledgements

    I wish to acknowledge the appreciation and the positive interactions I have experienced with the many audiences I have spoken to across the country, and within Tameside. The interaction and discussions with school leaders and managers, teachers, teaching assistants, governors, parents, front-line practitioners and professionals from local authority Children's Services have helped to shape my thinking during the writing of this book.

    Many thanks also go to the following for allowing the reproduction of materials with kind permission:

    Anne McMurray

    Cambridgeshire County Council

    Centre for British Teachers (CfBT)

    Continyou (Table 2.4)

    David Wilcox

    DCSF

    Educe Ltd

    Phil Lovegrove

    Lilani Wijayatilake

    National Foundation for Education Research (NfER)

    Times Educational Supplement (TES)

    I am eternally grateful to all those friends and colleagues who I have worked with, for their continued interest, enthusiasm and encouragement in keeping me focused to write practical books on Every Child Matters for busy practitioners.

    Last but not least, I would like to thank Jude Bowen, Senior Commissioning Editor and Amy Jarrold, Editorial Assistant at Sage Publications, for their support, advice and guidance in making my initial book proposal become a reality.

    Introduction

    This book is for all those senior leaders and managers, teaching and support staff, including multi-agency front-line practitioners from health, social care, education and voluntary and community sector (VCS) organizations, working in partnership within a range of educational settings and children's centres, to improve the Every Child Matters outcomes for children and young people. The key message of this book is that multi-agency partnership working will not be effective unless it is based on trust and mutual respect between each children's workforce practitioner, who is clear about their role and the value they add in improving children's well-being.

    ‘Partnership’ as a term means different things to different people, working in different contexts. In relation to multi-agency partnership working it is about different services joining together in order to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

    Of all the different professional working partnerships in existence, multi-agency partnership working is the most complex and challenging process to manage and co-ordinate, within an educational setting, as evident in this comment by a full service extended schools (FSES) co-ordinator: ‘It's hard work. It is constantly talking, emailing, communicating with them, being positive, keeping them involved, making sure they're happy, that they've got their office space, and their time slot. It's time consuming’ (CfBT, 2007: 93).

    The dynamics and outcomes of multi-agency partnerships can be unpredictable, unique and sometimes unknown, due to them being organic and continually evolving. Educational organizations from early years settings, Children's Centres, mainstream schools, academies, special schools and pupil referral units (PRUs), through to further education (FE) and sixth form colleges have numerous partnerships with external agencies, that is, anything from 50 to 150 different partnerships in a full service extended school.

    Implementing effective multi-agency collaborative partnership working in any setting, as an aspect of the Every Child Matters Change for Children initiative, takes considerable time, and is not without its problems in removing cross-service barriers and redrawing boundaries. The practicalities of adopting a multi-agency approach can be problematic initially, as illustrated by this Sure Start project manager's comment:

    The availability of teaching staff is often different to the availability of social services staff, which is often different to the availability of health staff because of the demands that these professions have at different times of the day. It's about breaking down the behaviours that we have known for a long time. (Coleman, 2006: 27)

    On a more optimistic note about multi-agency working, a behaviour support worker commented: ‘The multi-agency approach means that we can look more holistically at the problem and talk as a team holistically about the problem … ’ (DfES, 2005: 55).

    A director of a children's centre in Thanet also remarked: ‘When you can hear a community worker, play worker and health visitor discussing plans for a child – no hours on the phone or reams of paperwork – you think, “Yes,” this is the model of practice for the 21st century’ (Sure Start, 2006: 13).

    This book will enable busy practising, and aspiring, practitioners from education, health, social care, voluntary and community organizations to adopt a solution focused approach to multi-agency partnership working in order to:

    • understand and value the different contributions each agency brings
    • know how best to work collaboratively together
    • know how to evaluate the impact of interventions and partnership working in relation to improving the Every Child Matters outcomes.

    There are a number of detailed guidance documents and tool kits available on multi-agency partnership working, which can be downloaded from the government's Every Child Matters website (http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk).

    This book will appeal to practising and aspiring front-line children's workforce practitioners as it brings together in one concise volume a wealth of information and good practice, and presents this in a no nonsense, at-a-glance, user-friendly format, which makes sense of multi-agency partnership working in an educational setting.

    What matters to every children's workforce practitioner is knowing, through telling evidence, that their collaborative support and interventions really do make a difference to the lives and well-being of children and young people. Enjoy using this practical resource to guide and inform your collaborative working practice, in securing better Every Child Matters outcomes.

    How to Use This Book

    The Every Child Matters change for children initiative is a huge agenda, and is still evolving, after it was first introduced by the government in its Green Paper Every Child Matters in September 2003. There is an overwhelming amount of information about Every Child Matters, with 600 documents available on the government's website. This book aims to demystify inter-professional working by helping all those practising and aspiring children's workforce practitioners involved in removing barriers to learning and improving children's well-being, to understand the principles, practice and expected outcomes from effective joined-up collaborative multi-agency partnership working, within a range of educational settings and children's centres.

    The book considers the developments in multi-agency partnership working, providing a brief overview of the origin, concept and principles in Chapter 1. It looks at the benefits and challenges of multi-agency partnership working in an educational setting in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 focuses on the practicalities of operating and managing productive multi-agency working, and offers useful strategies for sustaining successful partnerships. Chapter 4 takes a closer look at the Team Around the Child aspect of Every Child Matters, and the implications for settings. The features of good practice in multi-agency partnership working is covered in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 provides advice and offers useful tools for evaluating the impact and outcomes of multi-agency provision and partnership working.

    The format for each chapter is similar:

    • The main points of the chapter are highlighted at the beginning.
    • A checklist of practical tips for best practice is provided.
    • Exemplar resources and materials for inter-professional development work are included.
    • Signposting to further information, resources and websites are offered.
    • Points to remember at the end of the chapter are provided as prompts.
    • Further activities provide questions for reflection and future inter-professional multi-agency development work, which are appropriate for those who are trainee and practising children's workforce practitioners.

    All chapters include photocopiable resources, which provide a useful starting point for inter-professional discussion and further development work. These resources can be customized and adapted to suit the context of the educational setting, where multi-agency practitioners are working in partnership.

    I hope the book will give all those practising and aspiring children's workforce practitioners involved in improving children and young people's Every Child Matters well-being outcomes the confidence to understand the complexities of multi-agency partnership working, by enabling them to make informed choices about the best collaborative approaches to adopt in the particular educational setting they are working in.

    Downloadable Materials

    Downloadable materials for this book can be found at http://www.sagepub.co.uk/cheminais for use in your setting. For a full list please see below.

    • Figure 1.2 Checklist for developing effective multi-agency partnership working
    • Table 1.3 Joint inter-professional visioning and development activity
    • Table 1.4 Common core of skills and knowledge for multi-agency working
    • Table 1.6 Professional Standards for Teachers and multi-professional knowledge
    • Table 1.7 National Occupational Standards for Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools – working with colleagues
    • Figure 2.1 SWOT analysis for multi-agency partnership working
    • Figure 2.2 Force-field analysis framework for multi-agency partnership working
    • Figure 2.3 Diamond ranking template
    • Figure 2.4 Checklist for building the multi-agency team
    • Table 2.1 Benefits practitioners bring to multi-agency team-working
    • Table 2.2 Benefits of collaborative multi-agency partnership working
    • Table 2.3 Personal profile for multi-agency practitioners
    • Table 2.4 External service/agency information sheet
    • Figure 3.1 Checklist for operating a multi-agency team in an educational setting
    • Figure 3.2 Checklist for managing change for multi-agency collaboration
    • Task 3.1 Changing practice
    • Task 3.2 What helps to effect change?
    • Task 3.3 Managing change in the multi-agency team
    • Table 3.4 Multi-agency benchmark self-assessment
    • Figure 3.5 Model partnership commitment agreement
    • Table 3.5 Skills and knowledge audit for multi-agency partnership working
    • Table 3.6 Collaborative working survey
    • Figure 4.1 Team Around the Child pupil-friendly plan
    • Figure 4.2 Team Around the Child questionnaire
    • Figure 4.4 Checklist for confidentiality and information sharing team around the child development task
    • Table 5.1 Summary of effective multi-agency practice strategies
    • Task 5.1 Group practical task – multi-agency working: good practice outcomes
    • Table 5.2a Template for sharing good practice in multi-agency working
    • Table 5.2b Multi-agency good practice template
    • Table 6.1 Every Child Matters outcomes
    • Table 6.2 National Service Framework for children, young people and maternity services
    • Table 6.4 Mapping and evaluating the impact of multi-agency provision
    • Table 6.5 Evaluating the ECM outcomes in a children's centre
    • Table 6.6 Evaluating partnership working in a children's centre
    • Table 6.7 Example of an extended school evaluation profile on external partner agencies’ collaborative working
    • Figure 6.5 Checklist for monitoring and evaluating multi-agency provision
    • Table 6.8 Evaluating the effectiveness of a multi-agency partnership
    • Table 6.9 Evaluating multi-agency partnership commitment and contributions

    Key for Icons

    Chapter objectives
    Further activities
    Further information
    Photocopiables
    Tasks
  • Acronyms and Abbreviations

    ASTadvanced skills teacher
    BESTBehaviour and Education Support Team
    BSFBuilding Schools for the Future
    CAFCommon Assessment Framework
    CAMHSChild and Adolescent Mental Health Services
    CEDCCommunity Education Development Centre
    CfBTCentre for British Teachers
    CLLcommunication, language and literacy
    CPDcontinuing professional development
    CRBCriminal Records Bureau
    CWDCChildren's Workforce Development Council
    DCSFDepartment for Children, Schools and Families
    DfESDepartment for Education and Skills
    DHDepartment of Health
    ECMEvery Child Matters
    ESextended school
    EWOeducation welfare officer
    FEfurther education
    FSESfull service extended school
    FSPFoundation Stage Profile
    GPgeneral practitioner
    GSCCGeneral Social Care Council
    GTCGeneral Teaching Council
    ICTinformation and communication technology
    INSETin-service education and training
    ITinformation technology
    LAlocal authority
    LAClooked after children
    LDDlearning difficulties and disabilities
    LGNTOlocal government national training organization
    LSCLearning and Skills Council
    NCSLNational College for School Leadership
    NEETnot in education, employment and training
    NFERNational Foundation for Educational Research
    NGfLNational Grid for Learning
    NHSNational Health Service
    NMCNursing and Midwifery Council
    NOSNational Occupational Standards
    NQTnewly qualified teacher
    NRTNational Remodelling Team
    NSFNational Service Framework
    NUTNational Union of Teachers
    OFSTEDOffice for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills
    PCTprimary care trust
    PIPerformance Indicator
    PRUpupil referral unit
    PSAparent support adviser
    PSEDPersonal, Social and Emotional Development
    PSHEPersonal, Social and Health Education
    QTSQualified Teacher Status
    SEFself-evaluation form
    SENspecial educational needs
    SENCOspecial educational needs co-ordinator
    SIPSchool Improvement Partner
    SLTsenior leadership team
    TAteaching assistant
    TACTeam Around the Child
    TDATraining and Development Agency for Schools
    TESTimes Educational Supplement
    TFCTogether for Children
    VCSvoluntary community sector
    YOTYouth Offending Team

    Glossary

    Agency – a statutory or voluntary organization, where staff are paid or unpaid, work with or have access to children, young people and families.

    Change – is a process designed to improve practice, introduce new policies and functions and alter the existing practice.

    Children's centre – a one-stop shop and community service hub for parents/carers and children under 5, offering early education and childcare, family support, health services, employment advice and specialist support on a single site, to improve their life chances.

    Children's trusts – help to bring together schools with specialist support services, voluntary community sector providers, who can help; they broker imaginative solutions to provision.

    Collaboration – a process of working jointly with others, including those with whom one is not normally or immediately connected, to develop and achieve common goals.

    Colleagues – all those professionals with whom a teacher may have a professional working relationship with. They may include teaching colleagues, teaching assistants, and the wider children's workforce from education, health and social care working with teachers within an educational setting.

    Commissioning – the process of defining priorities, and determining how services are delivered, particularly by allocating resources differently, in order to achieve better outcomes and results for children, young people and their families.

    Common Assessment Framework – a holistic assessment process used by professionals and practitioners in the children's workforce to assess the additional needs of children and young people at the first signs of difficulties.

    ContactPoint – a quick way to find out who else is working with the same child or young person, making it easier to deliver more co-ordinated support.

    Extended school – a school that provides a range of core universal services and activities, often beyond the school day, to help meet the needs of its pupils, their families and the wider community.

    Federation – a group of two or more schools, with a formal agreement to work together to raise standards. They may share services.

    Information sharing – the process of passing on relevant information to other agencies, organizations and individuals that require it, in order to deliver better services to children and young people.

    Inter-agency working – when more than one agency work together in a planned and formal way.

    Integrated working – when agencies work together within a single, often new, organizational structure.

    Joint working – when professionals from more than one agency work directly together on a project.

    Lead professional – a designated professional (usually from health, social care or education services), who has day-to-day contact with a child or young person, and who co-ordinates and monitors service provision, acting as a gatekeeper for information sharing.

    Multi-agency managed model of leadership – a model of leadership that entails a greater degree of multi-agency working, and a more diverse children's workforce, being based in the educational setting. A school's senior leadership team is likely to have representatives from the multi-agency services on it, in this type of leadership model.

    Multi-agency working – where those from more than one agency or service work together jointly, sharing aims, information, tasks and responsibilities.

    Multi-agency/cross-agency working – when a number of services provided by agencies, act in concert, and draw on pooled resources or pooled budgets.

    National Service Framework – a set of quality standards for health, social care and some education services, and is aimed at reducing inequalities in service provision in order to improve the lives and health of children and young people.

    Outcomes – the identifiable (positive or negative) impact of interventions, programmes or services on children and young people.

    Partnership – where two or more people or organizations work together towards a common aim.

    Practitioner – anyone who works directly with children, young people and their families, whose primary role is to use a particular expertise or professional skill in order to help promote children and young people's well-being.

    Stakeholder – any person, group, organization or institution that has an interest in an activity, project, initiative or development. This includes intended beneficiaries and intermediaries, winners and losers and those involved or excluded from the decision-making process.

    Team Around the Child – an individualized, personalized and evolving team of a few different practitioners, who come together to provide practical support to help an individual child.

    Vulnerable children – those children and young people who are at risk of social exclusion, those who are disadvantaged and whose life chances are likely to be jeopardized unless action is taken to better meet their needs. This includes those in public care, children with learning difficulties and disabilities, travellers, asylum seekers, excluded pupils, truants, young offenders, young family carers, children living in families experiencing stress and children affected by domestic violence.

    Well-being – having the basic things you need to live and be healthy, safe and happy. Every Child Matters has five well-being outcomes: be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being.

    Young person – someone who is under the age of 18, that is, aged between 14 and 17.

    Further Reading and References

    Arnstein, S.R. (1969) ‘A Ladder of Citizen Participation’, Journal of the American Planning Association, 35(4) July: 216–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01944366908977225
    Atkinson, M., Wilkin, A, Stott, A and Kinder, K. (2001) Multi-Agency Working: An Audit of Activity. LGA research report 1 7. Slough: NFER.
    Atkinson, M., Wilkin, A, Stott, A, Doherty, P. and Kinder, K. (2002) Multi-Agency Working: A Detailed Study. LGA Research Report No. 26. Slough: NFER.
    Atkinson, M., Jones, M. and Lamont, E. (2007) Multi-Agency Working and Its Implications for Practice: A Review of the Literature. Reading: CfBT.
    Blair, T. (1997) Bringing Britain Together. Speech by the Prime Minister, The Rt. Hon. TonyBlair MP.Stockwell Park School, South London. 8 December 1997.
    Brown, K. and White, K. (2006) Exploring the Evidence Base for Integrated Children's Services. Edinburgh: Scottish Executive Education Department.
    Cambridgeshire County Council (2006) Good Practice Examples in Cambridgeshire. Cambridge: Children and Young People's Services.
    CEDC/ContinYou (2003) Parentaid: A ‘How to’ Guide. London: Community Education Development Centre and ContinYou.
    CfBT (2007) Schools as community Based Organisations. Reading: Centre for British Teachers Education Trust.
    Cheminais, R. (2007) Extended Schools and Children's Centres. A Practical Guide. London: Routledge.
    Children's Rights Alliance for England (2005) Ready Steady Change. Participation Training Handbook-Adults. London: Children's Rights Alliance for England.
    Coleman, A. (2006) Collaborative Leadership in Extended Schools. Leading in a Multi-Agency Environment. Nottingham: National College for School Leadership.
    ContinYou (2005a) How are we doing? A Self-Evaluation Toolkit for Extended Schools. The Framework. London: ContinYou.
    ContinYou (2005b) Working in Partnership to Support Families. Flexible Materials. London: ContinYou.
    Craig, J., Huber, J. and Lownsbrough, H. (2004) Schools Out. Can Teachers, Social Workers and Health Staff Learn to Live Together. London: DEMOS/Hay Group Education.
    CWDC (2007) Multi-Agency Working. Fact Sheet. London: Children's Workforce Development Council.
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    DCSF (2007a) Integrated Working Exemplar: Young Child with Behavioural Problems. Integrated Working to Improve Outcomes for Children and Young People. London: Department for Children, Schools and Families.
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    GTC (2007b) Inter-professional Values Underpinning Work with Children and Young People Joint Statement. London: General Teaching Council for England.
    Harris, A., Allen, T. and Goodall, J. (2007) Understanding the Reasons Why Schools Do or Do Not Fully Engage with the ECM/ES Agenda. Nottingham: National College for School Leadership and the Training and Development Agency for Schools.
    Her Majesty's Government (2005) Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children's Workforce. London: Department for Education and Skills.
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    Huxham, C. and Vangen, S. (2005) Managing to Collaborate: The Theory and Practice of Collaborative Advantage. Abingdon: Routledge.
    Jones, J. (2006) Children and Young People's Views about ‘Team Around the Child’. How You Have Helped Make a Difference. Leicester: Mindful Practice Limited, Shropshire County Council and Telford and Wrekin Council.
    Joseph Rowntree Foundation (1998) Housing officers and Multi-Agency Work with Children and Young People on Social Housing Estates. York: Chartered Institute of Housing in association with Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
    Kendall, S., Lamont, E., Wilkin, A. and Kinder, K. (2007) Every Child Matters. How School Leaders in Extended Schools Respond to Local Needs. Nottingham: National College for School Leadership/NFER.
    Limbrick, P. (2001) The Team Around The Child: Multi-agency service co-ordination for children with complex needs and their families. Worcester. Interconnections.
    Limbrick, P. (2005) Principles and Practice that Define the Team-Around-the-Child (TAC) Approach and their Relationship to Accepted Good Practice. Worcester: Interconnections.
    Limbrick, P. (2007) The Foundations of the Team Around the Child (TAC) Model. Worcester: Interconnections.
    Lord, P., Kinder, K., Wlkin, A., Atkinson, M. and Harland, J. (2008) Evaluating the Early Impact of Integrated Children's Services: Round 1 Summary Report. Slough: NFER.
    McInnes, K. (2007) A Practitioner's Guide to Interagency Working in Children's Centres: A Review of the Literature. Barkingside: Barnardo's Policy and Research Unit.
    Moran, P., Jacobs, C, Bunn, A. and Bifulco, A. (2007) ‘Multi-agency working: implications for an early-intervention social work team’, Child and Family Social Work, 12: 143–51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2206.2006.00452.x
    NASEN (2004) Draft Policy Document on Partnership Working. Tamworth: National Association of Special Educational Needs.
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