Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) Practice Development Panel: final report

Final report from the GIRFEC Practice Development Panel, including recommendations on information sharing in support of the named person and child’s plan aspects.

5 Engagement

The Panel sought to carry out its work in a transparent, inclusive and engaged way. Panel members were encouraged to actively engage with their stakeholder network on considerations and the Chair of the Panel met with a range of stakeholder groups throughout the process to test out emerging thinking on developing a Code of Practice for Information Sharing and hear their views on what would be helpful in term of guidance and other support materials. The Panel also provided a website where Panel papers, minutes of meetings and letters were made available.

The Chair of the Panel had updated the Deputy First Minister in June 2018 on progress with the remit and had requested the consideration of a process to refresh the policy context in which GIRFEC was operating. This was agreed and a separate but related engagement process with professionals and other stakeholders was initiated.

When the Panel had defined its emerging conclusions, it carried out a targeted engagement of stakeholders in January and February 2019 to test its thinking and gather views on:

  • what would be most helpful for children, young people and their families to better understand the legislative position on information sharing; and
  • the development of practitioner advice, support and guidance to explain how information sharing works in practice within the new legal landscape, including more detailed guidance on sharing information in a range of specific circumstances.

The Panel’s summary of the output from that engagement is set out in Annex A.

Key messages from the engagement were that:

  • stakeholders accepted the Panel’s emerging conclusion that it was unlikely to be possible to produce an authoritative draft Code that properly reflects the relevant legal requirements, is workable, comprehensive and user-friendly for children and young people, parents and practitioners.
  • the need for guidance on sharing wellbeing concerns, risks and needs to provide clarity as far as possible for practitioners and build confidence in their practice.
  • the need for specific guidance on information sharing e.g. where there was a question of neglect, where the information related to adults and where the sharing of information was to be with the third sector.
  • guidance, communication, learning and development materials should as far as possible be tailored so that they best enhance the understanding for families and practitioner practice. Use should be made of scenarios to explain how safeguards are applied and choice and decision making is managed in different situations.
  • guidance should help practitioners to understand better how to work with families through consensual agreement; where they actively engage with services and only the necessary information is shared for them to get the services they wish. Families should be empowered and where possible decision making should be person-led as well as person-centred.



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