Families that have alcohol and mental health problems: a template for partnership working

Example from practice 3: Link to legislation, policy and procedures

Collaborative working must take account of the law and any related guidance and must be linked to local policies, protocols and procedures. Agencies that collaborated from an early stage recognised the importance of doing this explicitly. This helps staff who may be better versed in some areas than others. It reminds them of the wider picture and how this specific area of practice is in fact a local implementation of the expectations of various pieces of legislation and policy. These include: The Children Act 1989, The Mental Health Act 1983, The NHS and Community Care Act 1990, The Human Rights Act 1998, Working Together to Safeguard Children (1999), The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (2000), the National Service Framework for Mental Health (2000) and Fair Access to Care Services (2002).

Some agencies achieved this by locating specific guidance or protocols within the existing child protection (CP) documents, protocols or manuals.

Examples of these include:

Other agencies produced discrete protocols for working with families across drug, alcohol and mental health services. These make more sense to workers and parents when they are linked to mainstream policies and procedures. Examples include:

North Somerset Council March 2001 Children Whose Parents Have Mental Health Problems Flowchart

North Somerset Council March 2001 Children Whose Parents Have Mental Health Problems Flowchart

Some protocols were the result of new approaches to collaborative effort.

Westminster City Council - Adult and Children and Families Services Working Together: Planning and review

Flowchart: Westminster City Council - Adult and Children and Families Services Working Together: Planning and review

This protocol complements but does not replace ACPC procedures…This is an accompanying document to be used with the mental health assessment tool where there are children in the family….This protocol needs to be read in conjunction with your local ACPC Procedures.

Hartlepool Mental Health and Child Protection protocol

Monitoring and Training

Where significant risk involving the other service is identified, this will be recorded on mental health risk assessment forms or child protection section 47 enquiry forms. The responsibility for the compliance of the use of these forms rests with supervisors/team managers. Any difficulties with their use must be brought to the attention of the respective Service Manager. The Mental Health Service Manager and the Children’s Service Manager (Fieldwork) will ensure that the actions taken are appropriate, and will monitor any issues at the six-weekly monitoring meetings.

Wokingham District Council, Community Services Department protocol