Multi agency working is an effective way of supporting children and families with additional needs. It brings together practitioners and professionals from different sectors to provide an integrated way of working to support children, young people and families.
The Children and Young Peoples Board in Birmingham comprises of different partner agencies and organisations that each have a duty to cooperate under the Children’s Act 2004 in strategic planning, service developments and consideration of emerging issues around children and young people. Partner agencies include:
▪ Birmingham Children’s Safeguarding Board
▪ Education Representatives
▪ Birmingham City Council Representatives
▪ NHS West Midlands Strategic Health Authority
▪ NHS Birmingham East and North Primary Care Trust
▪ NHS Heart of Birmingham Primary Care Trust
▪ NHS South Birmingham Primary Care Trust
▪ Learning and Skills Council for the West Midlands
▪ West Midlands Probation Service
▪ West Midlands Police
▪ Family Justice services
▪ Job Centre Plus
Other adults or professionals who may be involved in working together to support the child and to provide the best outcomes for the child or young person include:
▪ Parent or carer
▪ Carers/other colleagues from early years setting
▪ Health visitors/workers
o speech and language therapist (a professional who support children with communication difficulties)
o Psychiatrist (medically trained doctor who specialises in mental health and may diagnose mental health problems and/or support, young people and their families who are dealing with mental health problems)
o Physiotherapist (a professional who is trained to maximise the body’ movement and skill level. They may help a child with problems controlling their movements such as a child with cerebral palsy)
▪ Educational psychologist (a professional who supports children who have difficulties with behaviour or learning)
▪ Social workers (a person employed by a local authority to support children, young people and their families)
▪ Additional learning support teams and representatives from other voluntary organisations (offer a range of services in and out of schools and care settings for children who may have specific needs, they can provide specialist tutors, mentors or advisors who visit settings and support staff)
▪ SENCO (a person in an education setting who has responsibility for organising identification and support for children with special needs).
When concerns about a child’s welfare are raised by a practitioner, these concerns should be discussed with a manager or other senior colleague. If the practitioner no longer has concerns then no path is taken into social care, but appropriate services are recognised to support the child, young person and/or family. Where the practitioner’s initial concerns are still present a referral will be made to social services and followed up in writing within 48 hours.
Even as we ensure to protect children, there are still barriers that we may come across which could prevent the smooth management of issues and challenges that multi agency working is supposed to allow.
• Poor communication
Communication is a key element to multi agency working and all communication between professionals and agencies should be open and clear. Professionals need to be able to process the information they receive and work effectively with other colleagues, where these professionals and agencies aren’t providing clear and open communication and are not communicating important information quickly enough, it is likely to lead to unnecessary delays. In this position poor communication could become one of the biggest barriers to ensuring the protection of children. • Resourcing
Adequate resourcing in...