Voice of the Child: #VOC - Help us Make the Difference

28th Jul 2016
At Shared Vision UK we are committed to creating a new, dynamic and integrated safeguarding conversation across all the professions through the best use of technology and social media networks.
This conversation is live, vibrant and connecting professionals in the UK and across the world. Our professional passion, nurtured during years of public service, is to raise the quality of safeguarding practice by whatever means so children, young people and vulnerable adults can be protected from need, harm and risk by the appropriate professions. The means can be technology design, innovation, direct support through consulting or through driving and engaging with a conversation to share ideas and expertise.

As a former detective, I originally designed and continue to develop the MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) model and way of working with my business partner, Marisa De Jager, who is a registered social worker. As a result, the MASH model and the services to which it connects has been considerably enhanced since it first emerged in 2009 – and it’s much the better for it.

It’s also why we both set up the Shared Vision UK partnership.

As professionals in different areas of safeguarding vulnerable children and adults, the combined skills of the professions produce a far greater effect than one service acting alone. Working together is not enough, not close to enough. It is professional integration which is the key to success.

In collaboration with the University of Westminster, we are hosting two very different but complimentary types of events regarding the need for change in the way children and young people are safeguarded and access services.

One debate will be held at the University of Westminster Little Titchfield Street campuson 16 November 2016. Connected events called #VOC will be run in conjunction with the Chickenshed, an inclusive theatre company and charity for children and care leavers. The debate and events will be titled: ‘Children lost in a fractured system: A courageous conversation’.

These events will ensure the Voice of the Child is present and central to the whole ‘courageous conversation’. It will feed into the international campaign known as #VOC, established and run by us at Shared Vision UK.

The proposition, based on the experience and knowledge of Shared Vision UK, is that the multi professional landscape and operating structures for safeguarding children and young people currently in place across England and Wales are broken. They are unable to provide the practice landscape for the delivery of effective inter-professional practice, nor enable innovation.

The recently published Wood report recommends fundamental change to the multi-agency arrangements currently in place. The report argues that ‘on a scale of prescriptive to permissive arrangements, the pendulum has locked itself too close to a belief that we should say how things should be done as opposed to what outcomes we want for children and young people.’ Shared Vision UK and others believe these do not go far enough.

The desire is to debate these very difficult issues to create the context for innovation and change with the child’s voice being central.

The debates will be interactive with an invited audience, but the desire is to stream them live globally through Periscope. Periscope is part of the Twitter social media platform and enables dynamic high quality video to be streamed free across the internet. It allows any viewer to interact through the posting of written questions and comments, which are immediately seen and available to the debate chair who can if appropriate integrate these into the debate.

The intention is to gather knowledge, intellectual thought, innovation ideas and evidence for the need for change. Periscope will enable evidence to be gathered from those interacting globally with the debates. This unique qualitative evidence will be used to create a position paper articulating the need for change action, as well as the innovation and creativity that will be required.

The position paper will be jointly written by the University of Westminster and Shared Vision UK. It will be provided to the most senior people in Government and Parliament, key national stakeholders and forwarded to relevant media outlets as well as being published on the Shared Vision UK portal and across social media. There will also be associated 3 / 4* REF publication/s.

Desired benefits and outcomes of the debates

Safeguarding services nationally are reported to be failing, in crisis and overwhelmed. There has been widespread concern in relation to the ‘system’ and ‘models of delivery’ in use to support and keep children and their families safe from harm. ‘Enough is Enough’, a recent report from the Centre for Social Justice, describes the current child protection system as ‘abhorrent’ and that suffering children face ‘grotesque injustice’.

The anticipated and desired benefits and outcomes of the debates are to:

  • Create an environment where the proposition; Children lost in a fractured systemis acknowledged. The environment will be at all levels across the safeguarding communities and across all professions and stakeholders
  • Ensure that this ‘elephant in the room’ is recognised and critically discussed in a positive way to create a fertile environment for change
  • Ensure the voice of the child #VOC is heard and the United Nations convention 25/44 20.11.897 rights of the child is recognised and supported
  • Generate a conversation which identifies genuine opportunities for innovation and change to address the system failings
  • Capture interdisciplinary, inter/professional and independent knowledge and perspectives
  • Identify the potential and opportunities to address the broken and fractured system through the analysis of the audience derived qualitative evidence
  • Create an independent non-political position paper for government and key stakeholders underpinned by academic rigour to engender, foster and drive systemic change
  • Generate 3 / 4* REF publication/s
  • Provide the widest spectrum of consideration to policy makers to encourage and inform their considerations to influence and generate wholesale change
  • Provide a basis for further research by the University to affect significant and important change to society.

The date is:

Wednesday 16th November 2016 – University of Westminster

Chickenshed events will be throughout the Autumn of 2016 and advertised throughwww.NibSharedVision.uk

Above all, we want children and the vulnerable to be heard – #VOC, you’ll be hearing much more of our campaign in the coming months.

Why not join us and make the difference.