Learning together to safeguard children: developing a multi-agency systems approach for case reviews

Key concepts and fundamental assumptions - Narrative of multi-agency perspectives

Narrative of multi-agency perspectives

  • Different professionals will inevitably have something of a differing view of a case.
  • Getting to understand the ‘why’ questions about multi-agency working requires capturing these different multi-agency perspectives.
  • A usual ‘chronology’ is not helpful because it presents a unitary account and so tends to erase differences.
  • A more novel-like structure better captures a diversity of perspectives or multiple narratives.

Another assumption is that it is a major fault to assume that we all share the same picture of reality (Gano, 2003: 60). The nature of different agency involvement with families and the nature of different roles within agencies mean that there will invariably be a diversity of perspectives, although the differences can range from slight to radical.

It therefore becomes important to move beyond the basic factual detail of a case, of the kind usually captured in a chronology – the facts of the child and family’s history and the contacts with, and interventions by, different agencies. Instead what is required is to document and coordinate the different local rationalities of individuals and agencies. This involves establishing not a single story but a set of multiple and differing perspectives.

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