NQSW resource - Outcome statement 10: Multi-agency working

In this section:

Multi-agency working: Introduction

Work across organisations to deliver services to people with multiple needs.

Working in collaboration is essential if individuals are to be offered the range of support they require in a timely manner. Multi-agency working is about providing a seamless response to individuals with multiple and complex needs. This could be as part of a multidisciplinary team or on an ad hoc basis. You will need to be clear about your role and responsibilities, and understand the different structures and governance of colleagues from other sectors, including the private and voluntary sectors, micro and direct employers, service user led organisations and brokers assisting with support planning. Working across these boundaries is critical to planning and providing appropriate support.

Multi-agency working: Key practice points

  • National strategies such as personalisation aim to strengthen the links across and between health and social care, children’s and adults’ services, and other wider areas for development such as transport, leisure and housing services.
  • You will need to show how you have undertaken your responsibilities as part of a team to safeguard, coordinate, assess and intervene effectively. Useful guidance can be found in the Department for Children, Schools and Families' Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (PDF).
  • Confidentiality and information-sharing are ‘barriers’ that can be overcome to facilitate joint working.
  • Research shows that users of services welcome a more collaborative approach to meeting their needs. SCIE's e-learning resources on Interprofessional and interagency collaboration (IPIAC) draws on the views of people who use services.

Effective multi-agency working is a significant challenge in your day-to-day work. It is time-consuming and can lead to conflict. However, putting together different parts of the jigsaw is essential. Safeguarding adults: lessons from the murder of Steven Hoskin (Social care TV) shows the tragic consequences of poor multi-agency communication and collaboration. Social workers link positive outcomes to multi-agency working in 'Voices from the frontline: social work practitioners' perceptions of multi-agency working in adult protection in England and Wales' (Pinkney, et al. The Journal of Adult Protection, 2008).


We hope you will find this material helpful in your first year as a social worker. However, we recognise that this will not provide you with all the answers. You will need to discuss your practice with your supervisor, raise any ethical dilemmas and be reflective in your work. Use the Portfolio (Word file) document to record your reflection on this outcome statement.