Working together to support disabled parents

Template of a local, joint-working protocol - Starting points

Principles of good practice

To reach agreements on, for example, information sharing, eligibility criteria and service provision, agencies will need to start by identifying the good practice principles that the protocol should be based on. These are likely to be related to the outcomes desired by each agency and by parents themselves. We suggest the following principles of good practice:

The principles and features of good practice can be used as a starting point for reaching agreement across the agencies, professions and services involved in writing a joint local protocol.

Supporting parents is key to achieving the five outcomes laid out in Every child matters, while support to disabled adults in their parenting role is a crucial part of achieving the outcomes for adults’ social care laid down in Our health, our care, our say.

Coverage, definitions and vocabulary

Another key starting point in developing a joint protocol is to agree what the protocol will cover. The case has been made earlier for a universal protocol, that is, a protocol which covers all groups of parents with additional support needs, with supplementary agreements concerning specific groups. Nevertheless, it will be necessary to assess whether this arrangement is suited to the specific local circumstances of the agencies concerned. There will also need to be discussion of which agencies are to be directly involved as partners in the protocol. Possible participants include:

Discussions on coverage will also enable agencies to reach agreed definitions and a shared vocabulary.

Legislative framework and relevant national policies

The national policy framework and the responsibilities and entitlements set out in legislation and guidance provide the context for the development of local protocols. One important benefit of jointly agreeing protocols across different agencies is an increased understanding of each agency’s role and responsibilities. A detailed account of the policy and legislative framework is included in this guide.

In summary, the policy and legislative framework establishes that:

The relationship between the joint-working protocol and existing protocols, procedures and practice guidance

Relevant local protocols, procedures and practice guidance can be listed in this first section of the protocol. It is also helpful if specific local protocols and procedures are referred to at appropriate points under the processes and functions mentioned below. Among the most important to be included will be:

Next: Processes, functions and responsibilities.