Evidence continues to mount of the barriers and solutions to better information sharing. The publication highlighted today is a recent one, from the Task and Finish group convened by the Department of Health and Department for Education. The group was asked to look at the existing barriers (and ways to overcome them) around information sharing in the foundation years. They have published their conclusions, together with a number of good practice case studies.
The barriers they identified were:
- Published guidance or advice is unclear or ambiguous;
- A lack of trust, or conflicting cultures;
- Lack of dedicated strategic leadership;
- Weak operational management;
- Incompatible IT systems;
- Lack of clarity about the role of Children’s Centres
- Lack of focus on information sharing in professional development and training;
- Cross border working;
- Specific challenges relating to literacy or language needs.
The solutions, seen in the case studies provided, are:
- Strategic leadership – joint commissioning of foundation years services;
- Straightforward information sharing agreements and protocols;
- Parent-held records, which helps ensure a feeling of partnership between families and professionals;
- Coordinated multi-agency training and development;
- Day to day management and team work across organisations;
- Better working with GPs.
One of the key points made by the report into good practice is that embedding good information sharing practice on the frontline is most effective when resource is put into making sure practitioners feel confident and supported to make their own decisions, and when they are given an understanding of the context in which other professionals are working.
This is the ethos which underpins the EASI project, which has been led by Dr Sue Richardson and Prof Nick Frost, and piloted in Leicestershire, Bradford and Greater Manchester. The resources will be appearing soon on a special EASI microsite, which will enable other areas to run the same sort of practitioner development course; if you’d like to be emailed when the site goes live, drop us an email.
In the meantime, you can find the case studies and the report on the Foundation Years website, run by 4Children: http://www.foundationyears.org.uk/category/information-sharing/