Positive partnerships helping Wakefield Council’s children and young people’s services to strengthen

Wakefield Council is continuing to strengthen its Children and Young People’s Service – building successful partnership working arrangements has been a key element of the improvement journey.

Since Ofsted visited in 2018, Wakefield has been working hard to improve the quality of services to support children and young people in the district, who may be in need of help and protection. 

As part of its improvement journey, the Council has worked with partner organisations on the Wakefield Families Together transformation programme, which at its heart is creating seamless services with a better joined up offer for families in need of support at a much earlier stage.

Margaret Isherwood smiling
Cllr Margaret Isherwood

This has involved joining up and linking staff together from across different services and partner organisations – so that if there’s a concern affecting a child, young person, or family member, help can be accessed at the earliest point possible.

Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “Our goal remains to provide the best possible services for our children, young people, and their families, and our partnership working is already making a positive difference – one that has been recognised by Ofsted in their last focused visits to us.

“I am confident that as we continue to progress our partnership ethos we are moving forwards to making this vision a reality.”

Wakefield Families Together breaks the district into six clusters with multi-disciplinary teams aligned to each of these. Multi-disciplinary teams include social workers, Health, the Police Early Intervention Team, Education, Children First and other professionals who offer specialist support for early help. The Wakefield Families Together partnership is working closely with schools and childcare providers to identify concerns, discuss them early and agree a lead professional who will work with families to develop a plan of support.

Early feedback on the new way of working has been very positive. A representative from Future in Mind, a government initiative aiming to transform the way child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are delivered nationally, said: “We have been able to develop stronger relationships and have rich conversations with professionals, especially with Advisory Teachers, Community Navigators and Health Visitors, whom we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to otherwise.”

A representative from Streethouse J&I School said: “As a school we know we can pick up the phone and ask advice whenever we have concerns, we always receive really good advice and support was available when it was needed the most.  We discussed one particular family who had suffered a bereavement, as a team we identified the intervention needed and who could provide it in a timely manner, it is really positive to see the child already benefiting from this support.”

A representative from Outwood Grange Academy added: “Having the same link workers is so beneficial as it allows us to build up a good working relationship and they start to know the families we are discussing without having to re-explain concerns and backgrounds again. This is also really good for our families as there is consistency.”