Don’t think – even think – about putting up your Christmas tree unless you’ve got that plan – not a single bauble.

If Santa’s already come calling then it’s too late.

So said Eric Pickles in his speech to the LGA conference earlier this month about the 120,000 ‘problem’ families whose lives the Prime Minister has said he aims to turn around by the end of this parliament (For the full speech which makes interesting reading see http://www.communities.gov.uk/speeches/corporate/actionproblemfamilies ).  He was calling on local authorities to come up with a plan by Christmas that includes (I quote):

“You need to know:

  • Who are your families?
  • What do they cost?
  • What are your interventions?
  • What is working?

You won’t get off a first base if you don’t know this.

You’ve got to dare to share.

That’s what they say in Salford. Where you’ve got the doctors, the dentists, the social workers, the Job Centres, the police all agreeing to share key information.

This is a massive, crucial culture change – sharing data automatically. And it’s got to be driven from the top.

And don’t moan to me that people won’t co-operate, just do it. Don’t say there are bureaucratic obstacles – we’ll remove them.

For too long everyone from the police to the social workers to health care professionals have worked in isolation.”

Our answer is – look at your M-A-R-A-C.  That is where information is being shared, plans are being co-ordinated and lives being turned around.  But crucially, this works because of dedicated support – the I-D-V-A – and the work of the MARAC co-ordinator to bring it all together.  Mr Pickles – we have a working example.  Let’s build on it – using community budgets as you suggest. And then put up a Christmas tree – with as many baubles as you wish.

One Comment to “Don’t think – even think – about putting up your Christmas tree unless you’ve got that plan – not a single bauble.”

  1. wow, agencies working together – what a great idea! here’s hoping that in the new year we can stop reading serious case reviews that say that the lesson we need to learn is to talk to other agencies when you have a concern. CAF’s are another good example when they are used well to produce an actual ‘team around the child’.

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