Practice example – London Borough of Newham
A London borough with a population of around 308,000 (2011 Census), Newham has the youngest and most diverse population in the UK. Over 40 per cent are under 25 and more than 200 languages are spoken locally – from Albanian to Zhuang.
Newham employs a transition service that has a particular focus on 14- to 25-year-olds and has appointed a health care professional to this team to continue the integration agenda. This service meets regularly with special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) to provide information about the team and the work, including the referral process. Relationships are built through regular visits to schools and via workshops for staff and parents. In addition, data are made available from the education sector on all of those identified as having special educational needs. This is added to a tracking list, which is cross-referenced with social care and health, allowing early identification to be made.
All adult social care teams in Newham are generic, meaning that they provide a service such as reablement to all the people who meet their criteria. In terms of mental health, there are good links with CAMHS and a working relationship with adult mental health services. This comes about through regular meetings with the service manager, which focus on strengthening pathways and joint working. Newham has also joined up its children and adults service workforce in relation to transitions and has appointed a new person to deal with referrals as a result of Education, Health and Care plans.
Newham holds a monthly parent forum co-chaired by an equal number of parents and people holding office. This group is very involved in supporting Newham to shape its services. Parents sit on strategic groups and are part of the decision-making process.
In Newham, 0–19 funding decisions are discussed at a care package panel, which meets fortnightly. Information from the multidisciplinary tracking meeting supports decision-making. More complex decisions are referred to a children’s integrated resource panel, which is made up of decision-makers from the health, education and social care sectors and meets monthly. Adults over the age of 18 are assessed by a funding allocations and support planning panel, which meets daily. Once a month, representatives from health attend this panel to discuss jointly funded service users.
Good practice in transitions to adulthood can evolve to fully realise the vision in both Acts. It will take time, consistency and effective leadership to provide the sort of service people require.
IT and information systems
Newham is currently developing a bespoke IT system to track data on children and adults as well as an interface with other systems such as RIO (health) and software in education such as Child View. In the meantime, the transition team has access to both children and adult systems and is also able to access information systems such as RIO and Child View.
Early identification: looked-after children
Newham is aware that young people who are not known to social care who have been looked-after children and those who do not meet adult social care eligibility criteria could be vulnerable. Some are also known to the criminal justice system, drug and alcohol services and the homeless persons unit. Newham has commissioned a study of such young people, with the intention of better understanding how to support them to achieve their aspirations, maintain their independence and keep themselves safe.
Advice and guidance is offered to all at monthly drop-in meetings, youth forums and parents’ groups.