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Alexi Project at the NWG Conference

Posted: Mon Apr, 2017

Author: Lucie Shuker

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The NWG held its fourth annual conference on the 21st and 22nd March 2017. Debi Roker and Lucie Shuker attended on behalf of the Alexi Project to run a session entitled 'Multi-agency teams and structures for responding to CSE: what kind of model is most effective for your area?'. The final report of the evalution will be published in the Autumn, so this was a good opportunity to raise awareness of the project, and engage the delegates in conversation about some of the emerging themes.

We presented the five models of hub and spoke work identified in the Year 2 report, and invited attendees to reflect on how the voluntary and statutory sector relate within their own multi-agency structures. Similar issues arose around partnership working regardless of whether or not attendees had experience of a hub or spoke service. Discussion then moved to refelcting on key challenges and successes within multi-agency responses to CSE.

Some of the challenges identified by delegates included:

  • The time it takes to really build a team
  • Creating a shared culture
  • Practicalities for co-located teams around sharing IT systems, resources and office space
  • Maintaining accurate recording
  • Communicating across local authority boundaries 
  • Lack of capacity to respond to the increase in referrals if awareness raising is successful
  • Not sharing a common understanding of CSE and risk assessment 
  • The loss of specialist structures/experience when CSE becomes 'core business'

We also asked attendees to share any tips or identify what had worked well in their local areas.

  • The proximity of co-location improves information sharing, creates better understanding of other agencies and what they do/don't do, and can lead to an increase in convictions
  • It's beneficial to have co-working enviornments that include both generic and specialist workers
  • The time and work it takes to develop trust should be seen as an investment
  • Professionals from different agencies need to discuss cases together
  • Where different agencies work on cases together they also have joint successes
  • Longer-term commissioning creates more stability for multi-agency partnerships
  • Regional structures and partnerships can address some of the challenges of communciation across local authority boundaries

The evaluation has highlighted key features of a local context that affect the quality of such multi-agency partnerships including historical and current relationships, the profile of CSE (including local police operations) and the activities and priorities of key organisations.

Many of the themes discussed were covered in the Year 2 report, and will be picked up in the final report when we consider the implications of key messages about voluntary and statutory sector partnerships in responding to CSE.

You can see the slides from the session here.

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