Local Safeguarding Childrens’ Boards are a compulsory feature of every local authority area. Their role is to unite all agencies working with children, young people and families to work more effectively together to safeguard all children in the locality. LSCBs are duty bound to offer training and support to the agencies within the locality.

With an emphasis on multi-agency training the LSCB are able to bring together practitioners from a wide range of organisations in the public and third (charitable) sectors. In one training session alone the workforce represented included among others an NHS speech and language therapist, a probation team manager, a GP, a health visitor, a social worker, a head teacher, a staff nurse and a family support worker.

This demonstrates and reaffirms the need for all organisations to work cooperatively to ensure the safety of children is paramount.

The appropriate use of personal information in public and third sector organisations has often been a cause for concern and confusion. Practitioners struggled to understand what personal and sensitive information it was appropriate and proportionate to share with colleagues from other organisations and many practitioners concluded that it would be easier to share nothing at all.

However, this unwillingness to disclose information led to one Serious Case Review after another citing lack of information sharing as a contributory cause in the death of many vulnerable children, including the notorious case of eight-year-old Victoria Climbé.

My role as Project Manager for Information Sharing began with the need to create multi-agency guidance for practitioners from all agencies working with children and young people. As part of the Department for Education and Schools (DfES) trailblazer initiative, we helped developed just such a set of guidance documents that were approved and adopted by organisations nationwide. These respected and conscientious organisations recognised the need to collaborate, to share information and ensure that children in vulnerable situations were offered support and protection in a timely manner.

Alongside the development of the universally applicable guidance documents, there was a need to provide training to all staff whose work brought them into contact with children and young people. In any local authority area, this will amount to many thousands of practitioners and was therefore no small undertaking.

With the support of NHS Information Governance Managers, Third Sector organisations, Schools and Local Authority training and development coordinators, I developed one of the first multi-agency Information Sharing training programmes in the UK. The training session was designed to provide a coherent and cross-agency message to all practitioners, from all organisations, that sharing information was vital and explain the rules by which this would be lawful, proportionate and appropriate. Not only did the programme draw attendees from across all children and young people agencies, the trainers were also drawn from the same agencies to offer their time and support to run the programme and help make it sustainable.

DfES leaders were so impressed with the training programme, its contents and the way in which it had addressed the multiagency element, that they used the Gateshead LA training programme as an example of “Best Practice” on their website and in their presentations to others Local Authorities and national organisations.

Credible Project Management is able to offer support and advice on setting up this best practice, sustainable, multi-agency training programme in your locality.