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SAFEGARDING CHILDREN ACROSS SERVICES :MESSAGES FROM RESEARCH 6 th February 2012 –Making Research Count Understanding the contribution of Sure Start Local.

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Presentation on theme: "SAFEGARDING CHILDREN ACROSS SERVICES :MESSAGES FROM RESEARCH 6 th February 2012 –Making Research Count Understanding the contribution of Sure Start Local."— Presentation transcript:

1 SAFEGARDING CHILDREN ACROSS SERVICES :MESSAGES FROM RESEARCH 6 th February 2012 –Making Research Count Understanding the contribution of Sure Start Local Programmes to the task of safeguarding childrens welfare Jane Tunstill, Visiting Professor, Kings College, London Emeritus Professor, Royal Holloway; Director Implementation Module NESS

2 Relevance to a post ECM context Background to the study Overview of the methodology Key findings Implications for policy & practice in 2012 ?

3 Although about Sure Start centres, –now childrens centres –study addressed perennial safeguarding challenges The current debate about the ideal balance between centre based and outreach services Dilemnas about the optimum relationship between universal and targetted family support Relationship between newer members of the workforce e.g. FSWs; Early Years Professionals, and traditional members of the workforce e.g. social workers

4 Background (1) –overall NESS method National Evaluation of Sure Start interlinked modules- Implementation/Impact/Local Context Analysis/Cost Effectiveness Looking at roll-out and effectiveness of Rounds 1-4 programmes Mix of quantitative and qualitative methods

5 Background (2) Implementation Module Studied the big policy & practice questions such as: what is an SSLP?, as well as generating input data to inform the Impact study of outcomes; Establishing programmes; nature of partnerships; service delivery ; implementation challenges etc. National survey of case studies of 20+ series of themed studies

6 Background (2 ctd) Key theme to emerge from the overall Implementation Study: the attitudinal and operational challenges (for SSLPs) of establishing a working relationship between their own family support activity and the work of the social services departments in the local authorities in which they were located. The roll out of 3, 500 Childrens Centres, underlined the importance of responding to these challenges, in order to meet the requirements of the Every Child Matters Change agenda

7 Background (3) In the 20 Implementation Module case studies, issues identified by SSLP staff respondents had included : Tensions between preventive and protective roles : programmes were anxious to maintain their current capacity for preventive work- almost all programmes took steps to actively distance themselves from perceived pressure from social services to take on work Tensions between preventive and protective roles : programmes were anxious to maintain their current capacity for preventive work- almost all programmes took steps to actively distance themselves from perceived pressure from social services to take on work Workforce shortages- especially social work shortages which impacted on programmes ; teachers, health visitors, Workforce shortages- especially social work shortages which impacted on programmes ; teachers, health visitors, The need for training and support of staff – eg importance of supervision/ support for outreach workers around DV, CP work The need for training and support of staff – eg importance of supervision/ support for outreach workers around DV, CP work

8 The Safeguarding Study: Aims & Objectives This themed study was designed therefore to examine : how SSLPs and social services departments worked in collaboration with each other, including direct referral rates between the two if SSLPs were represented on LSCBs if SSLPs were represented on LSCBs what concerns about individual children, would be likely to trigger a referral from SSLPs to social care and from social care to SSLPs the range and nature of the contribution of SSLPs to positive outcomes for children, both before and following referrals to childrens social care the range and nature of the contribution of SSLPs to positive outcomes for children, both before and following referrals to childrens social care identify examples of good practice in this whole area

9 Overview of the methodology Data collected between 2004 and March 2007, in a two-part study, comprising : (a) an exploration of the safeguarding policy and practice of 8 local programmes identified by the Sure Start Unit of DfES, as exemplifying relatively good practice; (a) an exploration of the safeguarding policy and practice of 8 local programmes identified by the Sure Start Unit of DfES, as exemplifying relatively good practice; Interviews with key staff; analysis of documentation (b) a in-depth study of 4 local authorities, to enable the fuller exploration of wider partnerships and networking activity across a whole local authority. (b) a in-depth study of 4 local authorities, to enable the fuller exploration of wider partnerships and networking activity across a whole local authority. Interviews with key staff; analysis of documentation; file study

10 A conceptual framework devised by team, based on literature, for exploring good practice in the 8 programmes Clarity & agreement about respective aims and objectives = Having an unambiguous definition around the concept of safeguarding and child protectionHaving an unambiguous definition around the concept of safeguarding and child protection The existence of easily accessible policy statements about child protection in the area Evidence of a robust dissemination strategy for policy statements around safeguarding

11 Transcending barriers generated by traditional ways of working = Operational linkages between child protection and family support Frequency with which staff talk about family support rather than child protection Managing staff with a view to developing flexible forward thinking about the task of safeguarding children Seeing safeguarding services in terms of packages rather than as isolated services

12 Strategic level commitment = Joined up working as a priority for mainstream managers Establishing trust between managers from SSLPs and social services

13 Clearly identified roles and responsibilities= Designating a central point of contact Sharing information about roles and responsibilities Co-working arrangements

14 Protocols/procedures for information sharing= Information sharing with Social Services Departments The Common Assesment Framework as a solution for information sharing?

15 Having a multi-disciplinary team based in one building= Understanding advantages of co-location for informal contact Understanding the advantages of co- location for formal contact

16 A robust training strategy= Programme-wide encouragement and enthusing of staff to access opportunities for training A strategic approach to capacity building through training Harnessing the potential of induction training Having a comprehensive and integrated training scheme in place

17 Using referral systems to build bridges not barriers= Shared understanding and acceptance of thresholds Confidence in information sharing both with parents and other professionals Systematic recording systems

18 Phase 2- exploration through the other end of the lens- 4 local authorities 4 different authorities: county /metropolitan borough/2x London boroughs Study of documentation/interviews/file study

19 Overall Findings Collaboration between SSLPs and social services departments around safeguarding has posed challenges for many local authorities, which reflect longstanding tensions between services designed to support families and services designed to protect children Collaboration between SSLPs and social services departments around safeguarding has posed challenges for many local authorities, which reflect longstanding tensions between services designed to support families and services designed to protect children Staff see the concept of safeguarding as everyones business as a helpful one which provides a new framework within which their agencies can develop collaborations, and overcome old barriers BUT

20 Key findings The four study authorities had adopted three main styles in their collaborative relationships between childrens services (social care) and SSLPs/childrens centres, reflecting local characteristics and existing relationships : parallel development; aspirational engagement- development; maximum collaboration. The four study authorities had adopted three main styles in their collaborative relationships between childrens services (social care) and SSLPs/childrens centres, reflecting local characteristics and existing relationships : parallel development; aspirational engagement- development; maximum collaboration.

21 Key Findings A range of strategies help overcome staff resistance to collaborating in safeguarding activity : 1) operational linkages between child protection and family support; and: 2) managers helping staff see safeguarding services in terms of packages, rather than isolated services. 2) managers helping staff see safeguarding services in terms of packages, rather than isolated services.

22 E.g. of helpful operational link Since the early days of the SSLP a social worker has been out posted on a half time basis to each SSLP and this arrangement continues with the childrens centres in each cluster area. Other half of their time is as a Family Support Team member. She occupies a crucial liaison and expert advisory role on child protection & family support issues to colleagues This has increased the confidence of CC staff re CP

23 Managers helping staff see the importance of service packages Programme manager; in all honesty we didnt set out to provide packages of support- that developed; because we were keen to tailor services to individual needs- and now we are able to offer amazing support to families

24 Family support panels The multi-agency panels established to work within the same boundaries as the childrens centres, had an emphasis on early intervention. Different providers in the area met to share information about the families /children they were working with in their own organisations-panels allocate preventive Tier 2 services to vulnerable children and all professionals in area able to refer a child or family to the panel

25 Best inter-professional/ inter-agency collaboration requires a shared understanding/acceptance of thresholds; confidence in information sharing with parents and other professionals; and systematic recording systems.

26 Getting forms right Forms can help as well as hinder: In one authority all the agencies used a standardised referral form- demonstrated the link between record keeping and access to services, and increased the reach of the programme, and in particular to parents who may have been more challenging to engage

27 Social services manager: We have a common view with all our partners down the road about what we are striving to achieve around safeguarding- it really helps- one of the good things about the Sure Start programme is it has made us all reflect on what we are doing and on common terms

28 Key Findings The CAF can provide a bridge for communication between members of the childrens workforce in respect of individual children; and underpin the provision of a seamless service at Tiers 2& 3.

29 Co-location of multi-disciplinary teams has both strengths and limitations-- the consequences for different groups of families should be carefully thought through, so practitioners can offer a choice of routes to services for parents in different circumstances. ?? Possible role for family centres alongside-or at least careful thought about delivering targetted support in a universal setting

30 Implications for future policy ( & evaluation) Advantages and pitfalls of retrenchment to reactive services-unintended consequences………….. Added value of systemic service delivery + childrens centres across all boroughs and robust commitment to working with childrens social care staff Narrow service menus unlikely to meet the challenges

31 A full copy of this and all the NESS reports can be downloaded from the NESS website : And see also : And see also : for correspondence


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