8. Multi-agency assessment, planning and review
Getting it Right for Every Child provides a framework for the improvement of children's services for each individual child. All education authorities have a structure which allows for the support needs of pupils and families to be discussed on a multi-agency basis, so that a plan for support or intervention can be agreed and reviewed. The names of these structures vary around Scotland, such as Joint Assessment Team, School Liaison Group, Pupil Support Group etc. The term used here is 'multi-agency group'. They may operate on a cluster, learning community or area basis.
There are some features of good practice in multi-agency groups, including:
- Services represented in the group focus on finding solutions for children and collaborate to make best use of their skills and resources by working together.
- Criteria for referral to this group by the services involved are clear and are communicated to staff at all levels in each of the services.
- The group shares a common assessment framework and shared language, to make working together easier and help children and families make transitions between services.
- Information is shared effectively between the services to ensure that the broadest understanding of the child and family is the basis for finding the solution.
- Children and parents are aware that concerns about their experiences will be discussed by the group, which will work to help them, and, if they wish, they will be included and, where necessary, supported, in discussions and finding solutions as far as possible.
- Responsibility for taking forward the solution with the child and family will be clearly taken on by one or more services, through a lead professional. If the proposed solution involves referral to other services, or waiting for an appropriate service or resource to become available, an interim approach will be agreed.
- The commitment to finding a solution is followed through by monitoring and reviewing cases, to ensure the proposed solution has worked or that interim approaches are adequate.
- Feedback will be provided to the referring service on outcomes of the case.
- The group will regularly take stock of the issues arising from its cases, from users of each of the services and the wider community, in order to evaluate what is working well for children and to consider future demands on services.
The views of children and young people on issues which affect them should be sought and taken account of, within assessment, planning and review procedures. The Scottish Government has published a good practice document which provides information, advice and ideas on involving children and young people in school life. Positive about Pupil Participation is available from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/07/23152718/0.