Integrated and Collaborative Working
What is integrated and collaborative working and why is it so important in childhood practice? The numerous well-publicised child protection cases such as Baby P and Daniel Pelka have emphasized just what can happen when services fail to work collaboratively and this shows why integrated working and collaborative practice is vital and imperative. The outcomes of fatal accident enquiries, like the cases of the children mentioned, continually conclude that a lack of communication between agencies with regards to sharing of relevant information and concerns regarding vulnerable children are one factor which requires to be addressed. The idea behind multi-agency working is that children and families who may require additional assistance are supported effectively and efficiently, therefore minimising or even preventing any difficulties from arising. Children develop in different ways and achieve developmental stages at different rates therefore a diversity of skills and support from a range of different professionals is required in order to successfully meet these needs. On 10th December 2008, the Scottish Government launched The Early Years Framework to highlight the importance of working in professional partnership to give children the best possible start in life. The Scottish Executive’s concern for social inclusion and desire to promote ‘joined up’ policies, an increased demand on services from service users and not to mention the focus on child-centeredness are just a few justifications for such a focus on and drive towards collaborative practice.
The benefits of integrated working are enormous as all professionals implement a holistic approach, and working in partnership creates better quality services. Integrated working ensures early identification of any difficulties by efficient sharing of relevant information, thus ensuring that appropriate intervention can be delivered timely. Families also develop closer relationships with a variety of agencies throughout