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Local Authority Policy & Guidance

These documents relate to our practice in Gloucestershire. These are the multi-agency guidance frameworks to help practitioners construct, develop, and deliver effective help to children and families. This includes the Early Help and the Specialist services such as Social Care.

“By working together, we are able to develop flexible support services that are responsive to children and families’ needs and provide the right level of intervention at the right time. This approach is reliant on local agencies working in partnership to:

  • Identify children and families who would benefit from Early Help
  • Undertake an assessment of the need for Early Help; and
  • Provide targeted Early Help interventions based on the assessed needs of a child and their family in order to significantly improve outcomes for the child.”

(Gloucestershire’s Levels of Intervention Guidance – Working Together to Provide Early Help, Targeted and Specialist Support for Children (including the unborn) and Families in Gloucestershire v7 July 2021)

The documents in this section are the guidance tools to create the best multi-agency working practice to achieve these goals.

Early Help

Early Help Practice Guidance

The Early Help Practice Guidance is for all practitioners working with vulnerable children, young people and families across Gloucestershire. It should be read in conjunction with Gloucestershire’s Levels of Intervention Guidance. Together, these documents reflect national legislation and outline the principles of Early Help, clarifying best practice.

As the guidance states, ‘Early Help’ is an umbrella term that describes the work of agencies engaged with children and families, including health services, schools, learning providers, local authorities, voluntary sector, children and family centres, police, housing providers and many others. Effective Early Help gives the right support at the right time, whether that is pre-birth or during pregnancy, childhood and/or early adulthood.

The aim is always to empower families, helping them to develop their capacity. This is achieved by working closely with other services, ensuring that a range of professionals are able to offer advice and support the family in meeting their needs. Using a graduated approach to support enables professionals to understand needs of the individuals and the family as a whole, and encourages holistic working.

To access the Early Help Practice Guidance, please click HERE.

Gloucestershire Levels of Intervention

Gloucestershire’s Levels of Intervention Guidance supports professionals to understand the risk and harm present in a family and gives clear guidance to all professionals around decision-making, action planning and reviewing the progress that families are making.

The guidance sets out the factors of effective early support and intervention:

  • An open, honest and transparent approach to supporting children and their families;
  • Early, solution focused and evidence based interventions;
  • A multi-agency approach to assessment, support and intervention;
  • A confident workforce with a common knowledge and understanding about children’s needs.

Within the guidance, professionals will find breakdowns of the four levels of need, along with examples of the services that can support families at each level.

When working with children, young people and their families, the levels of intervention guidance can be used to assess need, identify the appropriate support and agree on which professionals are best placed to provide that support.

To access the Gloucestershire Levels of Intervention document, please click HERE.

Education

A wide range of guidance and policies relating to education including attendance, exclusions and Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), can be found on Schoolsnet. 

Schoolsnet sits within the Gloucestershire County Council website and can be accessed by clicking HERE.

Safeguarding

Escalation of Professional Concerns

In Gloucestershire, we value professional challenge and discussion of concerns. There are times when professionals disagree over decisions. These are part of healthy professional practice and are usually resolved through effective communication of concerns, where professionals support and challenge one another.

Occasionally, there will be situations where one professional or agency feels that another has not adequately safeguarded a child or young person. This is when they would refer to the Escalation of Professional Concerns Guidance, which should be read in conjunction with Gloucestershire’s Safeguarding Children Procedures.

At all times when considering differences of opinion relating to safeguarding a child or young person, the welfare and wellbeing of the child or young person should be at the centre of all we do, focussing on what is best for the child or young person and their wishes.

The guidance sets out a four-stage process for escalating professional concerns. In all cases, concerns should be resolved at the earliest stage in the process and in as timely a manner as possible. This helps to avoid any unnecessary delays in supporting the child or young person and their family.

To access the Escalation of Professional Concerns document, please click HERE.

Gloucestershire Levels of Intervention

Gloucestershire’s Levels of Intervention Guidance supports professionals to understand the risk and harm present in a family and gives clear guidance to all professionals around decision-making, action planning and reviewing the progress that families are making.

The guidance sets out the factors of effective early support and intervention:

  • An open, honest and transparent approach to supporting children and their families;
  • Early, solution focused and evidence based interventions;
  • A multi-agency approach to assessment, support and intervention;
  • A confident workforce with a common knowledge and understanding about children’s needs.

Within the guidance, professionals will find breakdowns of the four levels of need, along with examples of the services that can support families at each level.

When working with children, young people and their families, the levels of intervention guidance can be used to assess need, identify the appropriate support and agree on which professionals are best placed to provide that support.

To access the Gloucestershire Levels of Intervention document, please click HERE.

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