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 work.  We are taking a Co-Production approach, working with First-line Managers and Frontline Practitioners, to improve culture, ethos and day-to-day child protection practice across Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross.   

In May 2021, we launched our ‘Priorities for Practice’ – six key practice themes to support a competent, confident and skilful multi-agency child protection workforce.  Our Priorities for Practice have been developed to empower and support a confident and skilful child protection workforce and enhance the safety, protection and wellbeing of Tayside’s children.  They are founded on research into the lived experience of children, young people, families and staff across Tayside.  

They are for everyone who works with children and their families across Tayside and can be applied to a diverse range of Agencies and Services: from housing support to midwifery, addiction services, and beyond.  They apply equally to every Practitioner, Manager and Senior Leader working in Adult Services and Children’s Services, helping everyone do more of what is needed to keep children and young people safe and protected and provide the right support to families.

The Priorities can be used as framework to achieve high standards of day-to-day child protection practice and effective leadership across the Public, Private and Third Sector Agencies and Services of Tayside.  

Our six Priorities for Practice are founded on principles of good practice and are ethically sound.  They align closely with the vision of the Tayside Plan for Children, Young People and Families; are  compliant with the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 and uphold children’s rights as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Furthermore, they are compatible with Scotland’s Health and Social Care Standards.    Staff at all levels of responsibility will be supported through the Tayside Child Protection Workforce Development Programme to apply the six ‘Priorities for Practice’, which will assist with changing the culture, ethos and day to day working practices required to implement the requirements of GIRFEC, the UNCRC and support the ambitious targets set to achieve the whole-system change needed help Tayside ‘Keep the Promise’ to Scotland’s children; equipping 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.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.

PDF of our the Priorities for Practice is also available to view and download. – view PDF.


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. 

Find out more about our progress and connect with this work through our Supporting our Child Protection Workforce Newsletters

 

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.