Parents and poets

Kathryn WardKathryn Ward, Engagement Manager
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

“I always pass on good advice. It’s the only thing to do with it. It is never any use to oneself.” Oscar Wilde

With hindsight, one of the benefits of my dad being a Junior 4 school teacher (year 11 in today’s currency) was that my summer holidays were filled with practice school trips to museums. I also knew my times tables off by heart and the Oscar Wilde quote above regularly rolled of my dad’s tongue (he said he knew best and I now know he did!).

I’m pretty sure that neither Oscar Wilde in the late 1800s or my dad in the 1970s, saw the relevance of the quote in the context of information sharing within public service delivery in 2015, however with a bit of artistic licence, by substituting the word  ‘advice’ to ‘information’ it fits quite nicely.

In Melton, for example, the local authority, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and multiple external providers are working together at Me and My Learning (M&ML) (read my report here).

The M&ML way starts with an initial triage meeting, where individuals engage with an advisor to discuss their financial, digital and social needs. Their aspirations, motivation and self-esteem are also addressed holistically with the M&ML partners, before the natural next step of employment is considered.

Sharing information between the partner organisations is critical to the success of the programme, and consent forms are used to ensure that individuals agree to this.

Having also been involved in supporting the Universal Support Delivered Locally (USDL) pilots and early conversations regarding the changing landscape of the probation service with the introduction of Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRC), I have noticed a considerable shift across agencies to the holistic triage role.

The position plays a crucial part in the development and success of these individual programmes and we are designing a tool to help them consider the following key elements:

  • What are the qualities of a triage worker?
  • How does a triage worker know they have leadership commitment and support?
  • Where does a triage worker go to for information sharing queries?
  • How does a triage worker keep up to date with information from other agencies?
  • How is consent obtained?
  • How is information collected?
  • How are referrals / signposting to government agencies and external bodies made?

Observing and absorbing practices and cultures, while taking account of each of the departments’ nuances, is invaluable to the development of our tool and we want to hear from and work with areas that are already involved in planning and delivering programmes that comprise triage roles.

If you would like to be involved in the development of the tool, or to pilot a workshop that explores the role of information sharing within a triage approach, please get in touch at via email.