Health-led teams based in Primary Care Trusts and Acute Trust settings are joined by colleagues from Social Services, Education and the Police. Teams usually have between eight and ten participants. To date fifty-seven professionals in six teams have taken part in the programme, and we envisage that this will lead to real improvements for teams and individual participants as well as developing the delivery of services to children and their carers.
- Qualitative feedback, from both evaluation forms and from summaries written by participants about their achievements during the programme, has been very positive. Participants reported increased confidence as members of the team, in addition to deeper clarity of other team members' professional roles and responsibilities which strengthened relationships and improved communication, especially across different agencies.
- Quantitative data gained from using a pre-validated team climate inventory demonstrates statistically significant changes in five out of six categories in the inventory.
- The challenge involved in maintaining the team's momentum without the support of a facilitator was acknowledged.
- The IPL Programme provided a timely opportunity to reflect upon the interprofessional and inter-agency teamworking needed within Childrens' Trusts, and the implications for staff involved with regard to skills development.
- A range of goals were achieved.
Examples of goals achieved
- Social Work Managers, Health Visitor Team Leaders, Community Midwifes, Health Promotion Nurses: To research and develop an assessment tool for use in assessing risk to children in households where there is domestic violence. Consulting with local experts and instigating appropriate training for piloting a cross-agency tool in South Norfolk.
- Paediatricians, General Practitioners, Social Workers and Police Officers: Improving information provided to the doctor when asked to examine a child where there are suspicions of child abuse. This involved reviewing the process of how information is passed between professionals and agencies during strategy meetings and how referral information is recorded by administrative staff.
- Head Teachers, School Nurses and Social Workers: Teaching and nursing staff at a High School had fortnightly meetings to help support children and young people with problems, including concerns about child protection. This goal was to include a Social Worker at the meetings to provide support, information and advice for school staff and also to provide Social Services input where appropriate.
Examples of feedback from teams
- "I feel that the team is much more inclusive and united in its general aims. The sessions we had challenged our status quo and helped us to examine different ways of doing things." (Senior Nurse, Child Protection)
- "I enjoyed the meetings. They gave an insight into the working practices of others as well as their concerns and frustrations. It was good to see the team – previously so disparate – working together."(Consultant Paediatrician)
- "In the short time we have spent together we have managed to do a considerable amount and to close some of the distance that still exists between the major institutions." (Head Teacher)
- "The links made with individuals in the team can only lead to a better understanding of the roles played in further protecting children's lives."(Education Social Worker)
- "It gave me a better insight into who does what, particularly in health, and the confidence to approach people direct." (Police Officer)