Families that have alcohol and mental health problems: a template for partnership working
Example from practice 2: Be authoritative
All workers need to know where the authority for these instructions and requirements comes from. This is where organisational clarity supports individual behaviour. Examples include:
- Dorset mental health services give their protocol the status of a management circular, which is a "must do” document.
- South Yorkshire Child Protection Committees’ Procedures opening page sets out the status of the document in some detail.
- Nottingham gives its documents authority by including the signatures of all the relevant chief executives, namely the Director of Nottinghamshire County Social Services, the Chief Executives of North Notts. Health Authority, Central Notts. Health Care Trust, Nottingham Health Care Trust, the Director of Nottingham City Social Services, and the Chief Executives of Nottingham Health Authority, Bassetlaw Health and Community Services NHS Trust, and Rampton Hospital.
This is especially important when asking staff to work across agency and service boundaries, demonstrating to staff that their own agency endorses and has helped create the protocol. The team noted that not all the protocols had been developed solely, if at all by ACPCs. Some agencies noted that this had not been the most productive way forward, and instead had located it within Trusts or other agencies when it was thought that ownership by these agencies was more likely to be achieved if they led the work. The partnerships that worked were sometimes a second or third attempt.
- Bournemouth: a joint initiative by the ACPC and the DAT.
- Bolton: a Mental Health/Child Protection initiative through the ACPC.
- Hampshire’s protocol was developed by relevant commissioning managers across the Social Service Department (SSD) and Mental Health Trusts (MHTs).
- Hartlepool’s work was led by the local DAT.
- Peterborough worked through the MHT/SSD.
- Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust has produced a multi-agency document See the Adult, See the Child. This is agreed by Swindon Housing and Social Services Department, Wiltshire and Swindon Health Care NHS Trust "plus other agencies as agreed”.
Some protocols have a values statement about interface working:
- Surrey’s Mental Health, Child Care and Child Protection services have developed a protocol specifically for links and communication across the various services.
All organisations within Brent will treat parents and pregnant women who use drugs and/or alcohol in the same way as any other parents who require their support and services. All organisations have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in Brent.
Guidelines for inter-agency working in the London Borough of Brent front page policy statement
East and West Surrey Health Authorities and Surrey Social Services have agreed this protocol and expect all Trusts providing Mental health services to follow it.
Surrey SSD and East and West Surrey Health Authorities Adult Mental health and Child care/protection