When childcare settings and anyone involved in working with children and young people come together and work in partnership with one another, the outcome can only be a positive one for both the children and young people and those providing a duty of care to a child. Working in partnership with others is important for children and young people so outcomes can be improved for children and their families through a wider range of access of different service providers and there will be more efficiency in delivering these services whilst benefiting all involved. The adults involved in this partnership can be a parent or carer, colleagues, professionals and multi-disciplinary teams which are staff from various professions each with their own expertise. When effectively communicating with one another, correctly exchanging information, sharing knowledge and understanding and accepting one another’s roles, working in partnership becomes more enjoyable, effective and consistent and is known as multi-agency working or integrated working.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) clearly encourages working in partnership with others so children and young people’s health, development, learning and relationships will positively be affected and the outcomes improved. The EYFS says it seeks to provide ‘partnership working between practitioners and with parents and/or carers’. Being able to create and maintain an effective relationship with all the various professionals and agencies involved is important as is knowing when to ask and get help and support from other professionals. The EYFS says ‘Knowing when and how to call in specialist help is one important element of inclusive practice’. Being able to understand and adhere to this will ensure all children and young people concerned can have the best opportunities and outcomes subject to their individual needs. 1.2 Identify who relevant partners would be in your own setting Volunteering in a children’s centre means working closely with a lot of different partners and adults with a range of expertise and knowledge.
These can include- Health visiting team
Preschools and nurseries
Speech and language therapist
Food bank specialist
Information services such as money matters
These people/organisations with different areas of skills and expertise can come from the private sector, voluntary sector, Primary care trusts (PCTs), independent or state sector. Quite often the children’s centre and its staff will play a vital role in bringing these services together so the child or young person and their families get their needs met, improving outcomes for children. 1.3 Define the characteristics of effective partnership working The characteristics of effective partnership working are as follows- Clear lines of communication
Ensure respect and trust between partners
To share information when needed and pass it on to the relevant people Listen to each other
Work closely with parents and carer’s
Have an aim that is agreed and understood by all partners
Have clear and effective leadership
Staff should observe, assess and plan to meet all children and young people’s needs, working with parents to ensure this is achieved 1.4 Identify barriers to partnership working
With so many people and organisations involved in partnership working it’s no wonder that occasionally a barrier can arise. These barriers can affect the outcome for children and young people so it’s important these are identified so effective partnership working can continue. Common barriers include an inconsistency between professionals as agencies will manage risks and prioritise differently to one another. Some professionals may dislike working alongside others leading to poor communication and misunderstandings. Information not being shared accurately or a delay in informing relevant people will cause a barrier. Incorrect knowledge being contributed and ill trained staff will also be detrimental in providing support to children and young people. A language barrier could also be apparent. Finding ways to overcome these barriers so practice can be shared and partnership working can remain to be effective and positive is vital in ensuring the best outcome for children and young people.
Level 2 certificate for the children and young people’s workforce, Penni Tassoni