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What is the positive change that has emerged through new collaborations or partnerships during Covid-19 that your project is going to embed?

During Covid lockdown, Gateway assessment processes could not continue as normal in providing family support services. Social work visits were restricted to safeguarding situations. Alternative ways of working where explored to ensure Early Help was targeted at families referred to the service, who without a level of family support, difficulties where likely to escalate, with increased stress/family breakdown. Gateway assessment and interventions changed to focus on preventative measures via remote platforms offering on-going support and assistance. This included domestic violence, behaviour management, trauma & substance misuse. Covid exasperated many  problems families where already dealing with & shut down support services relied upon.  Gateway optimised services already operating under new Covid conditions & linked families to appropriate services at critical points. Data drawn directly from participants evidences improved family outcomes through intervention, feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Through this initiative, we provided approx 50 families with appropriate support, preventing statutory intervention in the majority of cases.

What does your project aim to achieve?

The Early Help knowledge bank seeks to optimise existing resources targeted at providing Early Help and support across a range of needs, including: mental health, children with additional needs and behaviour difficulties. Frontline social workers will be able to draw information directly from the knowledge bank, enabling them to refer families to the most appropriate services at the earliest point. This will be a growing database, with social workers feeding information into the bank so that knowledge is built upon and shared. By doing this, we will see improved family outcomes, with less need for statutory intervention. Project aims include:

-better child and family outcomes (increased wellbeing & family functioning with less stigma of social work services)

-reducing social worker case loads (less statutory cases in the system)

-more capacity within statutory care to manage more complex cases

-reduction in the no. of unallocated cases

-share learning between C&V and Gateway

How will the project be delivered?

This project will be managed within Gateway Single Point of Entry (SPOE), with a committed quality improvement approach. The project will build upon the positive changes achieved during covid, embedding this  innovative way of working in Gateway and further enhancing the partnerships with the statutory and voluntary sector. A workstream has been identified to drive forward the initiative and oversee progress between now and the next financial year. The purpose is to create a long-lasting, continuous knowledge bank of  resources  that will influence a cultural shift  that embraces partnership working as a fundamental element of social work practice. We envisage this project to contribute to a high level strategic aim for reducing the no. of unallocated cases within children’s safeguarding and the South Eastern Trust Outcomes Group.

How is your project going to share learning?

Internal to the SET, this  project is about harnessing knowledge and shared learning across Social work and the C&V sector, in order to scale and spread to other AHPs, mental health and health visiting. Wider to this,  the success of the project can be shared across the region and other services; acknowledging that frontline services across the UK and Ireland can benefit from adopting a similar approach to a shared knowledge bank and partnership working approach. An advantage of this project is that it draws on knowledge and information already available. The project is simply optimising these resources and demonstrating how they can be used to best effect for children and their families.  It is a low-effort, high reward innovation that contributes to fulfilling our Trust values and is in keeping with our Programme for Government strategic aims.

How you can contribute

  • -Positive criticism and suggestions that could enhance this project
  • -Information or knowledge on similar initiatives
  • -Encouragement

Plan timeline

2 Nov 2020 Project workstream established
8 Jan 2021 Scope training needs acoss services & Identify sources of training
8 Jan 2021 Staff in post to date- EH Co-ordinator
1 Apr 2021 Develop SW Assistant role to understake EH interventions alongside C&V
30 Apr 2021 Training to have commenced. Some is besopke so will be dependant on costings and availability.
31 May 2021 Data base to go live across SET GW
12 Jul 2021 Review outcomes and trends (key referral trends)
1 Mar 2022 Evaluate (9 months post database & 1 year since staff in post/training).

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