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W3C Compliance

9.1.2 Merton's Practice Standards

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter succinctly reflects the practice standards expected by all operational and other Merton staff in respect to their approach, responses and actions to children, young people and their families / carers with regard to their work, contact and interventions. These standards and expectations also include working with other professionals and agencies within the community.

This chapter was added to the Manual in May 2016.


Contents

  1. The Child/Young Person’s Best Interests Shall be of Primary Consideration
  2. Work is Carried out in Partnership with the Child/Young Person
  3. Work is Carried out in Partnership with Parents and Carers to Enable them to meet their Responsibilities and Achieve Optimum Outcomes for Children and Young People
  4. Work with Children and Young People is Carried out within Community Networks and Between Agencies to Achieve Optimum Outcomes
  5. Work with Children and Young People is Undertaken within the Legislative Framework and Makes Best Use of Best Practice Guidance
  6. Work with Children and Young People, Parents and Carers, Consistently Promotes Equality of Access and Opportunity, and Social Inclusion and Addresses the Impact of Prejudice and Discrimination
  7. Records and Reports are Accurate, Complete, Accessible and Up to Date and Demonstrate the Decision Making Process
  8. Work with Children and Young People is Managed and Supervised to Achieve the Best Possible Outcomes
  9. Customer Care is a Theme that Runs Through all out Practice


1. The Child/Young Person’s Best Interests Shall be of Primary Consideration

Criteria

  1. Children and young people are safeguarded from harm in accordance with the Merton Local Safeguarding Children Board requirements;
  2. Children/ young people’s needs and risks are identified and assessed using the agreed processes;
  3. Children/ young people are supported to achieve and enjoy their full potential in all aspects of their development;
  4. Children/ young people’s health and educational needs are to be met;
  5. Children/ young people views, wishes and feelings are ascertained, respected and taken into account in all matters concerning them;
  6. Children/ young people rights are promoted;
  7. Children/ young people heritage, culture, race, religion and language will be respected and appropriate and sensitive methods of communication used to engage them.


2. Work is Carried out in Partnership with the Child/Young Person

Criteria

  1. Children/ young people are seen alone, where appropriate, observed and communicated with according to their developmental needs and in accordance with their needs and plans for them;
  2. The relationship established with the child/ young person promotes effective engagement and communication;
  3. Children/ young people are engaged and listened to in ways designed to emphasise their positive potential and their need for social inclusion;
  4. Communication with children/ young people respects their language, religion, culture and identity;
  5. Communication with the child/ young person is recorded in a manner that reflects their views and is appropriate to be shared with them;
  6. Communications with the child/ young person will promote their engagement in the planning and shaping of service delivery;
  7. Intervention with children/ young people is timely and responsive to risk and need;
  8. Children/ young people’s identity is promoted through life story work and ensuring that they have personal possessions and family material.


3. Work is Carried out in Partnership with Parents and Carers to Enable them to meet their Responsibilities and Achieve Optimum Outcomes for Children and Young People

Criteria

  1. Planning and decision making promotes the child/ young person’s upbringing within family and community networks, wherever possible;
  2. Parents and carers are engaged in assessment, planning, implementation, review and ending a service in their language and in accordance with Merton's Equal Opportunities Policy;
  3. Parents and carers are treated with respect and encouraged to express their views;
  4. Parents and carer's views are listened to and taken into account in all matters concerning their children;
  5. Communication with parents/carers will promote their engagement in planning and shaping of service delivery;
  6. Parents and carers will be advised clearly about any concerns and what needs to change to effectively safeguard their children;
  7. Where conflict is identified, it is mediated and managed to minimise the adverse impact on the child/ young person’s life;
  8. Contact will be maintained between children/ young people and their families and communities where it is at all possible;
  9. iIn the event that children/ young people cannot live with their parents or carers, all steps possible will be taken to ensure that appropriate checks are completed on potential carers.


4. Work with Children and Young People is Carried out within Community Networks and Between Agencies to Achieve Optimum Outcomes

Criteria

  1. Assessments, plans and reviews take full account of the information and professional opinions provided by agencies that know the child/ young person;
  2. Services planned for children/ young people are holistic and use the resources of the wider family network and all partner agencies;
  3. Working relationships with agency partners are professional and responsive in including and engaging local agency forums and identifying Lead Professionals;
  4. Communication with agency partners is clear, timely and proportionate to the child/ young person’s needs. This will include a commitment to share information according to the 'Merton Information Sharing and Assessment Protocol';
  5. Active steps are taken to resolve conflicts should they arise between agency partners;
  6. In cases concerning Child Protection, agency checks must be undertaken as part of any investigation.


5. Work with Children and Young People is Undertaken within the Legislative Framework and Makes Best Use of Best Practice Guidance

Criteria

  1. Work is in accordance with legislation and makes use of legislative powers to support good outcomes for children/ young people;
  2. Work gives due regard to national minimum standards and other government guidance;
  3. Work is in accordance with Merton's procedures, threshold criteria, performance measures, protocols and good practice guidance;
  4. Work is informed by the best evidence available, including research findings and service user reviews;
  5. Work is in accordance with the principles of Best Value;
  6. Work will contribute towards self evaluation and external inspection, including Ofsted’s local arrangements for child protection.


6.  Work with Children and Young People, Parents and Carers, Consistently Promotes Equality of Access and Opportunity, and Social Inclusion and Addresses the Impact of Prejudice and Discrimination

Criteria

  1. Work challenges organisational culture and practices which contribute to discrimination and disadvantage;
  2. Casework addresses and respects individual's race, culture, language and religion;
  3. Work challenges the impact of social disadvantage in neighbourhoods, networks and communities;
  4. Workers advocate with, and on behalf of children/ young people and their parents and carers, to enable them access voluntary sector services and sources of support;
  5. Services and plans actively empower children/ young people, parents and carers to address and overcome social exclusion;
  6. Strategies are developed to manage complex ethical dilemmas and conflicts;
  7. Strategies are developed to ensure that service users are reflective of local communities.


7. Records and Reports are Accurate, Complete, Accessible and Up to Date and Demonstrate the Decision Making Process

Criteria

  1. Case recording is up to date and case records maintained and demonstrate the purpose and outcome of each contact;
  2. All relevant basic details concerning the child/ young people are reflected on the data base and amended accordingly;
  3. Case recording demonstrates the purpose and outcome of each contact and discussion concerning the child/ young people;
  4. Recording is concise, analytical, distinguishes between fact and professional opinion, and is appropriate for service user access;
  5. Assessments, plans and reviews are recorded, signed and circulated in accordance with national and local guidelines and procedure;
  6. There is a Care Plan, Chronology (See the Chronology Guidance) and genogram for every child/young person receiving a service;
  7. Information about the child/ young person is written and stored in accordance with Data Protection and Information Sharing protocols, and meets the requirements of performance measurement and data monitoring;
  8. Actions and tasks set will be completed within the timescale set.


8. Work with Children and Young People is Managed and Supervised to Achieve the Best Possible Outcomes

Criteria

  1. Managers use systems to ensure that children/ young people receive a timely and appropriate service;
  2. Work is allocated to suitably trained and qualified staff, who fully understand the task and have the capacity to undertake that task and have the capacity to undertake it;
  3. Supervision takes place regularly and outcomes and decisions are recorded within the context of reflective practice;
  4. Management accountability is evidenced at all stages of work with the child/ young people , from referral to closure;
  5. Managers audit case records on a regular basis and require action to be taken where necessary – observation of practice is implicit in this;
  6. All managers will maximise opportunities for shared training and workforce development policies and strategies. Staff will take advantage of professional development opportunities;
  7. Good practice is promoted and recognised.


9. Customer Care is a Theme that Runs Through all out Practice

Criteria

  1. Communication through email, telephone contact and letter will be polite, timely and responsive, between staff and between staff and service users. All telephones will be answered within four rings, including colleague’s phones, letters responded to within five days, emails on the same day;
  2. We will be punctual for meetings and visits and if we are unavoidably delayed we will explain and apologise;
  3. The Council will be presented as one organisation and we will take responsibility for representing other council departments and resolving any issues without involving service users;
  4. Dress code is smart/casual and appropriate for the circumstances.

End