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This report will discuss the past and present issues and government policies involved within multi-professional collaborative working as well as discussing how particular training could expand the knowledge of professionals with reference to the various roles of additional agencies. Furthermore it will discuss the various learning theories used to educate professionals in understanding the role of various agencies involved with each service user. In addition this report will discuss exercises that will be used in a training programme developed to deliver inter-professional education to a range of professionals.
Collaborative practice was recognised internationally in 1978 following the Alma-ata declaration which recommended that the work of multidisciplinary teams as well as cost effectiveness and efficiency was of great importance (Allen and Maskarinec, 2008) in order to improve service delivery (Pollard, 2010). Following this, government policies in the UK since the 1980s have insisted that active partnership between the agencies involved within health and social care are imperative and individual reports have since focused on the serious effects that poor multiagency working can have on service users including the Laming report (2003) into the death of Victoria Climbie and the Laming report (2009) into the death of Baby P (Pollard, 2010).
The centre for the advancement of inter-professional education (CAIPE) describes that inter-professional education is imperative to professionals from various agencies in order to come together to understand each role that they will take and what service they can offer with a view to improve quality of care (Barr and Low, 2011).
In order to achieve effective collaboration between the professionals a set of values are instilled which include; the respect by and of each professional, equal opportunities and>>>. Yet Dean and Ballinger (2012) argue that in the case of students many find they lack the time to consolidate the skills of the other professions whilst trying to learn their chosen profession.
Government policies including the green paper Every Child Matters (ECM) 2003 and the children act 2004 include the expectations of the key agencies working together to promote the welfare of children.
Effective collaboration is the coming together of a number of professionals that have a common trust and respect for one another. Together they share the same view in reaching a certain common goal or outcome and work together with a view to achieve that outcome (O’Daniel and Rosenstein, 2008). Rose (2007) argues that working towards a common goal can cause challenging issues between the different professionals such as differing ideologies, cultures and priorities. Rose later suggests that team reasoning theory may help multi-professional working become more effective as the theory proposes that professionals will look more at what is best for the group as opposed to what is best for themselves.
History of failings and barriers in Children’s services
One of the reasons in which children’s services have failed to protect children is due to the lack of information sharing between agencies. In many cases children who are under social services as well as their families are known to a number of agencies such as the police, education establishments and health services such as midwives and health visitors. It is the duty of each professional to share the relevant information with all professionals involved with regards to the child and the family. It is the duty of each professional to share the information in which they have gathered with regards to the child and the family in order to decide on a better outcome for the child. If in any case a professional withhelds the information and the child suffers as a result then that professional will be held accountable.
Services in the past have been criticised for their failure to protect children due to the lack of information sharing between the relevant professionals (Laming, 2003). Following the death of Victoria Climbie services were criticised for missed opportunities and the death of Victoria Climbie was viewed as a tragedy that could have been prevented. As a result of this Lord Laming produced a report into the inquiry of Victoria’s death which contained 108 recommendations and was to later run in accordance with the government green paper Every Child Matters (ECM) (Baker, 2009). Laming believed that it was the role of all involved agencies to protect the child as opposed to a singular agency (Laming, 2003).
The ECM included a framework which sets out key proposals in order to improve services in promoting the wellbeing of the child. Two of the key proposals included were “to develop integrated teams with professionals from all agencies based in and around schools and children’s centres,” as well as to “remove legal technical and cultural barriers to information-sharing and facilitate effective communication” (Hallett, 2004:168).
Following the Laming report and the green paper Every Child Matters the Children act 2004 was implemented which was to include an approach in the way the various agencies shared information to promote the safety and wellbeing of children. Section 11 of the act placed a duty on the significant agencies working with children to understand the necessity to safeguard children (Bokhari, 2012). Whitney (2007) however argues that there are still failings as the duties that are placed on schools are not the same duties that are placed on the other agencies.
The Laming report (2003), ECM (2003) and the Children act 2004 however did not manage to prevent further deaths and again professionals were criticised in their shortcomings when in 2009 Britain was once again left in shock after the tragic death of Peter Connelly (Baby P). Professionals including social workers, doctors, lawyers and police were criticised by BBC news education reporter Katherine Sellgren as incompetent (2010). Sellgren argues in the online news report,
“Baby Peter’s “horrifying death” was down to the incompetence of almost every member of staff who came into contact with him, official reports say.”
The death of Baby P resulted in yet another enquiry into child welfare services in 2009 by Lord Laming. Laming slated social services in the enquiry claiming that “inadequate training” and “poor supervision” were included in the reasons for the failings within the case of Baby P (The Telegraph, 2009).
The reforms made as a result of the death of Victoria Climbie failed to be implemented by social services and the Laming report into the death of Baby P reported that these failings were due to such areas as “impossible targets” (Knapton, 2009) and increased bureaucracy (White et al, 2008).
CAIPE gives the definition of Inter-professional education as,
“Inter-professional Education occurs when two or more professions learn with, from and about each other to improve collaboration and the quality of care.” (CAIPE, 2002 as cited in Gopee, 2011:128)
Howkins (2008) argues that continual collaborative practice between health and social care has taken over 30 years and it is as a result of inter-professional education that has amplified and sustained such practice. In order to adapt to inter-professional education it is important to take into account planning as well as time and apposite teaching. Howkins argues the timing of when inter-professional learning should be included in one’s profession and questions the possibilities,
“Is it better to start in the pre-qualifying period with the hope of avoiding the development of negative stereotypes or wait until after the qualification when the professional should feel more confident in their role?” (p1)
The issue with regards to timing has brought about much debate and conversation suggests Howkins. It is also later suggested by Howkins that although there are government policies in place motivating inter-professional education there is little in the way of indication that service user outcomes have improved.
In order to deliver an effective training plan it is important to include learning theories. Such theories need to relate to adults as they learn differently from children as suggested by Knowles who introduced the adult learning theory, andragogy and argued that as well as adults bringing work and learning skills adults also want to know the purpose of why they need to know something as opposed to children who are presumed to learn what they are being told (Stover, 2006)
Conclusion and Training Plan
This report has discussed the background of inter-professional learning as well as look upon the past failings that have taken place with regards to children as the result of poor collaboration between professionals. An explanation of Inter-professional learning has been deliberated and learning theories have been discussed in order to determine the best approach in order to train professionals to deliver an effective approach to inter-professional learning with a view to achieve the most effective collaboration when working within children and families. Furthermore a plan will be put into place in order to carry out a training session for the relevant professionals with a view to implement the knowledge and importance that interprofessional learning has on children’s services and how effective collaboration between the various agencies can lead to an improved outcome for children
Mutual respect and non-hierarchal relationships are the foundations of successful collaborative working. (Kenny, 2002 as cited in Wilson and James, 2007:315)
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