Good practice

Effective joint working between local authority housing and children’s services is crucial to the development of quality services for homeless and badly housed children and young people.

Shelter has developed a model of working together which demonstrates how local authorities can improve joint working at governance, strategic, procedural and frontline delivery level. Improving outcomes for children and young people in housing, our benchmarking guide for joint working between services was published in November 2009. It proposes a continuous partnership whereby local authority housing and children’s services can share forward-thinking practices and develop innovative new ways of joint working. We believe that our model can secure significant changes in how we protect, support, and encourage the development and wellbeing of children and young people.

Joint working practices should involve every level of managing and delivering a service. The sections below set out the key benchmark indicators that Shelter has developed, with practical case studies illustrating how effective joint working practices can significantly improve outcomes.

Indicators of effective governance

Effective governance and strategic leadership are fundamental to driving forward a joint working agenda. Chief Executives, Directors, lead members and Board members should ensure that practices are fully embedded, properly funded and acknowledged as ‘critical’ to the wellbeing and long-term positive outcomes for children.

Indicators of effective strategy

By using common processes and tools and sharing information, Housing and Children Services can enable operational staff and managers to work more effectively together. A shared procedural framework and standard tools for carrying out day-to-day tasks can also support local RSLs and voluntary sector organisations.

Indicators of effective processes

By using common processes and tools and sharing information, operational staff and managers can work more effectively together to identify and meet the needs of homeless children and families.

Indicators of effective frontline delivery

While effective governance, strategy and processes are all important factors in the joint working agenda, integrated delivery is paramount. Frontline practitioners foster the relationships with families, children and young people and are often the ones who make the judgements and fundamental decisions about the advice and support needs of homeless and badly housed children, young people and families.

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