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Signs of Safety in Brent

Children’s Services in Brent is transforming through ‘England Innovation Project – Signs of Safety’ by changing the ways of working with children, young people, their families and carers to ensure children are always at the centre.

Children and young people will be kept safe by working with their families and carers to reduce dangers and encourage families to create their own ideas and plans about how to change things for the better with support to achieve these.

It is recognised that families are experts in their own situations. If this does not make it safer for their children, other solutions will be used. The focus will remain on keeping children safe and enabling them to stay happy and well cared for in permanent, loving families.

The Project

Brent is one of 10 Local Authorities benefiting from the Department for Education Innovations Fund, working with Murphy, Turnell & Munro(MTM) Consultancy on transforming Children’s Social Care with Signs of Safety Practice at its centre.

MTM Consultancy consists of 3 internationally renowned Child Protection experts: Eileen Munro, Andrew Turnell and Terry Murphy who offer expert consultancy on a monthly basis, via video link and in person to drive the project forward.

There are two pillars to the project:

  1. Signs of Safety for all children’s services
  2. Implementation of Signs of Safety that aligns the organisation to practice.

The project will align policy and procedures with the Signs of Safety, train and support the workforce and develop an action research program to evaluate the effectiveness of the project as well as the impact and outcomes for children and their families.

Signs Of Safety Practice

Signs of Safety is an integrated framework for how to carry out child intervention work - the principles for practice; the disciplines for practitioners’ application of the approach; a range of tools for assessment and planning, decision making and engaging children and families; and processes through which the work is undertaken with families and children, and including partner agencies.

Signs of Safety practice returns child intervention to being the catalyst that initiates behaviour change by families.

Working relationships are fundamental, with families and other professionals

Relationships must be forged and maintained in the face of the coercive nature of child protection intervention, biases towards pre-judgment of families and different perspectives of professionals.

Stance of critical inquiry – always being prepared to admit you may have it wrong

As Eileen Munro observes, “the major source of error in child protection is not being prepared to admit you may have it wrong”. Child protection investigations need to take a questioning approach and remain open minded. They cannot be the formulation of a hypothesis and fitting the evidence to support that hypothesis.

Landing grand aspirations in everyday practice

Families and front line practitioners are the arbiters of whether practice works. This “practice led evidence” has informed the development of Signs of Safety and continues to be the engine of learning for practitioners and to drive innovation and evolution of the approach.

If you wish to have a discussion or require any further information please contact:

Anita Gibbons (Signs of Safety Programme Lead)