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13. Effective leadership and change management in child protection services

  • Undertaking effective change requires acceptance of and commitment to that change through all levels of an organisation. Genuine practitioner involvement in service evaluation and change is particularly important to give insight into the experiences of those actually delivering services. Such involvement also facilitates a flow of information between those in frontline positions and those in management positions.
  • Analyses of the workings of Child Protection Committees (CPCs) have suggested the need for improvements in leadership, multi-agency commitment to the CPCs, clear funding arrangements for CPCs and accountability to and from CPCs.
  • The individual representing their organisation on the CPC needs to be of sufficient seniority to commit organisational resources to the joint aims of the CPC.
  • Effective dissemination of the work of the CPC within its constituent organisations, and to the general public, is essential. Middle managers will ordinarily be best placed within an organisational hierarchy to fulfil this role within their own organisation.
  • The collection and management of accurate data by CPCs is key to their improvement. Without accurate data on what is happening within the CPC area, it is impossible for the CPC to improve its own work or provide leadership to other child protection services on improving theirs.
  • Good quality multi-agency training and procedures have been identified as a strength in Scottish CPCs. However, beyond training and formal structures, good multi-agency working at strategic level, like that at frontline level, requires professional barriers to be broken down, clear communication that questions assumptions and a genuine commitment by the individuals and organisations involved to work together collaboratively.

Parton, 2004; Skinner and Bell, 2007; Dudau, 2009; Morrison, 2010