Introduction

TRIC Priority Group 5 (Safeguarding and Child Protection) are committed to supporting and empowering our workforce in the highly complex field of multi-agency child protection.  We are taking a co-production approach, working with First Line Managers and Frontline Practitioners, to improve the culture, ethos and day-to-day practice across Tayside.  

In May 2021, we launched the ‘Priorities for Practice’ – six key practice themes to support a competent, confident and skilful multi-agency child protection workforce.  The Priorities are for everyone who works with children, young people, and their families – Senior Leaders, Managers, Frontline Practitioners and Volunteers. They apply equally to those working in Adult Services and Children’s Services.

These Priorities will support the whole-system change needed to meet the actions of The Promise to equip multi-agency staff to work alongside families more effectively to ensure better outcomes.  

Our Priorities for Practice

Priority One:  Relationship with Children and Families

Focus on the ChildWe will keep the child at the centre of our work. We will see them, listen to them and focus on their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. We will see beyond their outward presentation and seek to understand their lived experience. We will actively seek and support them to express their views, when assessing their needs and any potential risks. We will always involve them in assessment, planning and decision-making. We will be inquisitive, curious and alert to parental disguised non-compliance. The risks of disproportionate optimism, in respect of the parent’s2 potential to improve, will be fully understood and resisted. The child’s welfare is always paramount.

Engagement and Relationship BuildingWe will build and sustain constructive, positive and trusting relationships with children and families; which is both supportive and challenging. We will help parents to engage with services and agencies, as this is central to improving the child’s wellbeing and minimising the risk of harm. We will adopt a trauma informed practice approach and understand the role of fathers, partners and other significant adults in a child’s life.

Assessment and PlanningWe will develop robust, dynamic assessments and plans which take a holistic view of the child’s wellbeing, their environment and the impact of parental issues and behaviours. We will identify and analyse patterns of risk, using shared tools and techniques, being alert to the impact of cumulative and escalating concerns. We will develop robust plans which support and meet need and risk by building on family strengths and resilience, ensuring plans are accurate, evidence based, outcome-focused and SMART. We will always respond flexibly to changing family circumstances, reviewing the assessment and plan to ensure the child is safe and supported.

Priority Two: Working Together

Early Intervention and Support (Right Help at the Right Time)We will have in place early and effective intervention which aims to minimise the risk of further harm and abuse to children. We will refresh and embed the Getting it right for every child approach across all services and agencies to ensure that children get the right help, at the right time, from the right people. This will include widespread use of the National Practice Model and support for those fulfilling the role of the named person and those carrying out the role of the Lead Professional. We will develop a shared threshold and understanding about how to address neglect and enhance wellbeing. We will also have an understanding of the impact of rurality and poverty.

Partnership WorkingWe will work in partnership across children services, adult services and geographical areas in the best interests of the child. We will have a clear understanding of each other’s roles, responsibilities and limitations and work flexibly in the best interests of the child. We will proportionately share and exchange relevant information as necessary. This will be enabled through reasoned, confident and accurate recording of what information is to be shared; why the information is to be shared; with whom the information is to be shared and the likely risks if the information is not shared. We will work together to resolve any disputes or disagreements and escalate concerns where appropriate.

Empowerment, Supervision and LeadershipWe will be enabled and empowered by strong and effective collective leadership which is visible and accessible. We will be enabled by high quality supervision which promotes reflective and critical thinking, professional curiosity and confidence to challenge. We will have confidence to apply professional judgement. A culture of constructive support and challenge will be fostered, which embodies shared values and principles. Peer support will also be made available through networks of support and regular meetings. Clear guidance will support practice and checks, and balances put in place to test out staff understanding. Communication lines and processes will be put in place to listen to and understand staff concerns re workload; working conditions; emerging issues and professional concerns. We will have access to continuous professional development and single and multi-agency child protection learning and development opportunities. We will establish a positive learning culture across services and agencies which improves day-to-day child protection practice.

A PDF of our the Priorities for Practice is also available.

Origins of the Priorities for Practice

The ‘Priorities for Practice’ are founded on research into the lived experience of children, young people, families, and staff across Tayside, and developed from the findings and recommendations of Dr Sharon Vincent’s Analysis of Initial and Significant Case Reviews (Tayside).  More information about the research can be found within these online learning briefings:

Manager’s Briefing Tayside Child Protection Research and Priorities for Practice – Open Manager’s Briefing

Practitioner’s Briefing Tayside Child Protection Research and Priorities for Practice – Open Practitioner’s Briefing

Workforce Development

Over the coming months we will be working together with multi-agency First Line Managers and Frontline Practitioners to develop multi-agency workforce development resources which motivate, inspire and build on good practice.  If you are interested in joining with us to co-develop exciting resources, please contact Michelle Nicol, TRIC Child Protection Learning and Development Lead, MNicol@pkc.gov.uk.

Workforce Development Briefings will be taking place. Please see the TRIC events page for up to date information.