Coventry Compact Award
CSCB has been granted a Compact Award for the joint working between the Board and Voluntary Action Coventry to offer training to voluntary and faith organisations around their roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children and young people.
Compact Awards are granted for joint working between a statutory organisation and a voluntary or community organisation to achieve more together than each could have achieved alone.
Training has been delivered to a range of voluntary and faith organisations and has included recognising concerns, knowing how to respond, knowing who to refer to, establishing a safeguarding link person in their organisations, knowing what policies and procedures should be in place and safer recruitment practices.
Awarded 2 West Midlands Safeguarding Awards (April 2010)
Coventry Safeguarding Children Board are delight to have been awarded 2 West Midlands Safeguarding Awards and a Highly Commended in a regional ceremony in April 2010.
These were won in the category of 'Training and Development Supporting Safeguarding/Child protection ' and 'Strong Partnerships/Innovative Practice'
The awards were hosted by the West Midlands Children and Young People’s Forum and aimed to showcase good and promising practice in safeguarding as well as promote shared learning between colleagues and agencies.
Coventry took an award for our focus on strong partnership and innovative practice to improve safeguarding solutions for children involved in domestic abuse.
The other award was for our focus on workforce training and development – for an inter-agency programme supporting safeguarding and child protection.
The team was also highly commended for our focus on engagement of children, young people and families, and work to improve interventions and engagement with families.
Colin Green, Chair of Coventry safeguarding Children Board said:
"In Coventry we place great importance on training our staff to work well on a multi-disciplinary basis to safeguard children and we ensure that tackling issues like domestic violence includes all agencies that need to be involved."
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We have spent time producing a training and development framework, which includes single and multi-agency training, we have categorised our courses into 3 levels, giving practitioners and managers clear guidance on the courses staff should attend depending on their level of responsibility and contact with children.
We have worked extremely hard at developing our pool of trainers and currently have a highly skilled group of 45 trainers from 16 of our agencies from statutory, voluntary and commissioned services. This shows how our training programme is truly rooted in interagency working.
Where possible we also adapt our training programme to meet the needs of the attendees for example we have provided lunch time sessions for FGM which has proven to be very popular, we have also held training on weekends and evenings to meet the needs of the workforce.
Coventry's training programme was one of eight chosen to participate in a recent DCSF commissioned national research looking at the effectiveness of interagency training - comments from the research were that our training courses are effective and economical.
The research also highlighted that there was a substantial and observable change in knowledge, attitude, skills and self-confidence for individuals which was attributable to the effects of the courses. This was measured both immediately afterwards and 6 months later.
In 2006 the West Midlands Police implemented the Domestic Abuse Risk Indicator Model (DARIM) and routinely notified Children's Social Care Services of all domestic abuse incidents where a child was present or normally resided within the household. This prompted the need for a joint agency approach to handling the notifications, which could promote safeguarding and provide a timely and appropriate response to children at risk.
A joint screening protocol and pilot was set up in October 2006 and aimed to:-
Ensure timely sharing of information.
Promotes the well-being and safety of the victim.
Identify the children most at risk and safeguard them.
Improve timescales for information sharing between Police and Social Care
Ensure a consistent application of the Joint Protocol for D/V notifications
Ensure a consistency in the application of child protection thresholds
Assess risk and respond to the needs of children affected by the domestic violence and abuse within the CAF and Integrated Children's System
Measure the correlation between the Police DARIM Assessment and the level of need outlined in the Promoting the Well being of Child and Young People model and the Social Cares response
Reduce re-referral rates related to DV in Social Care
The pilot has been positively evaluated by Warwick University and concluded that the Pilot has succeeded in doing what it was initially set up to do. There is consistency in the screening process and the ‘intensity’ of the intervention is aligned to the seriousness of the risk assessed. Better quality of information is being passed on with specific actions resulting in improved safeguarding solutions for children involved in Domestic Abuse. The staff bring substantial experience of working with DVA and Child Abuse and this inform the responses required.
The Joint Screening Pilot has grown and evolved over the last 2 years and is now resourced and is mainstreamed.
Wider Developments – The risk assessment tool has over time evolved to included additional risk factors related to children and BME communities in addition to the DARIM. SCR learning has informed the developments of the multiagency risk assessment toolkit commissioned by the Coventry Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership and Commissioning of services.
Both the LSCB and CDVAP have developed consistent approach for multi-agency awareness and screening of domestic violence and abuse incidents and joint training strategy related to DV.
The pilot has received regional and national interest, including Northern Ireland.
In 2006, Coventry LSCB looked at a range of approaches nationally and forging links with Gateshead to learn from their experiences of improving interventions with families, using solution-focused approaches in their every day work. Viv Hogg, Intake team manager in Gateshead Social Care, and John Wheeler, social worker within CAMHs, worked with us in training frontline staff in solution-focused techniques, and Signs of Safety model, devised by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards. The ‘Signs of Safety Approach to Child Protection Casework‘ (Turnell 1997) sets out a partnership model for Child Protection. It is based on principles of brief solution-focussed therapy (De Shazer 1985, Berg 1994).
Coventry LSCB wanted to create a more effective partnership with families and a process in which parents feel respected, listened to and actively involved. There is much research to suggest that this is not the case with the traditional Conference model (Farmer 1999, Corby, Millar and Young 1996, Campbell 1997, Hall and Slembrouck 2001, Bell 1996).
This model uses the ethos of solution-focused work, building on strengths and enabling families to find their own solutions. It encourages use of solution-focused techniques, including scaling questions and goal-setting as the vehicle for obtaining good quality assessments. A one-page risk assessment tool is completed with the family, to look at what the concerns are, what is work working well and signs of safety. Scaling is used to focus the discussion on what needs to change and an outcome focused action plan drawn up with parents.
Introductions and an ‘ice-breaker’ session in which the family help to create their own genogram on a white board
An information sharing session in which families, as well as professionals, are encouraged to share information and views and in which the five headings: Danger/Unmet Needs, Risk Statements, Complicating Factors, Strengths/Protective Factors, Unknown Areas is completed.
Development of a plan outlining the ‘next steps’: actions needed in order to ensure sufficient safety for case closure.
Responsibility and timescales for each of these actions is documented.
Frontline staff are trained in the Signs of Safety model and apply the techniques routinely in child protection meetings in multi agency and single agency settings. Whilst recognising the power imbalance between families and professionals within the child protection arena, the ‘Signs of Safety’ model aims to foster an environment which maximises the potential for collaborative working and build more effective partnerships with parents, children and young people, a balanced understanding of risk, and achieve realistic and measurable outcome-focused plans.