Multi-Agency Professionals Meetings

Posted on Sunday, 30th Aug, 2015 at 09:44:21 PM
A multi-agency professionals meeting (MAPM) is a tool to support practitioners in all agencies who have a genuine desire to work openly and together with families, but who may need the opportunity to talk with other professionals without the family being present. This may be particularly important where there is a concern that the family is undermining attempts to understand potential risks to children in the family; or where there is uncertainty in the professional network about what steps are necessary to protect children. A multi-agency professionals meeting can be called by any agency that has concerns about a child/young person with additional needs that they feel may require a response from more than one agency. However, it should not be used as a referral process for specialist assessments.

This guidance will outline the purpose of MAPMs; when it is appropriate to convene a MAPM; and how this should be managed. Inter-agency, inter-disciplinary assessment requires an additional set of knowledge and skills to those which are required for working within a single agency or independently. It requires that all staff understand and appreciate the roles and responsibilities of staff working in contexts different to their own. A MAPM may also be helpful where professional disagreements are impacting on effective work with the family, or where professionals need an opportunity to reflect on the plans for working with a family when progress is not being made.

Purpose of a Multi-Agency Professionals
Meeting Professionals Meetings provide an opportunity for professionals involved with a family to come together not only to share information, but also to help determine the direction of a case and the plan for a child. It may be held to resolve uncertainty, controversy or inter-agency disagreement. They may be helpful where there are particularly complex family concerns, with extensive professionals/networks. MAPMs can be particularly effective in addressing issues of disguised compliance and when working with families who are or appear to be avoiding engaging with services, or where it appears that different agencies are being provided with inconsistent and conflicting information.

A MAPM may be a useful opportunity to share information when a family are choosing to work with some professionals in the network and not others. Multi-agency professionals meetings can be used for children at any level of agency involvement, including: early intervention services, Common Assessment Framework (CAF) assessments; and families in receipt of childrens social work services as a Child in Need or when the subject of a Child Protection Plan.

Who can call a Multi-Agency Professionals Meeting?
Any agency that is involved with a child and feels that there is a need that is covered by the above criteria can call a Multi-Agency Professionals meeting. The convening agency is responsible for coordinating the meeting arrangements i.e. invitations, venue, chairing and recording the meeting; however this does not all have to be undertaken solely by the convening agency itself, but may be delegated in agreement with other practitioners in attendance. For example, one agency may chair, and another may take notes, but the convening agency remains responsible for ensuring these roles are agreed.

In arranging the lead for the business of the meeting, the convening agency should normally have had prior consultation to some degree with those agencies invited to attend. In the case of a disagreement about the need for a MAPM, or concern about the lack of engagement from any invited party, the Resolution of Professional Disagreement procedure applies.

Attendance The meeting could involve:
those with a direct and relevant involvement with the child/young person and family;
those who may be able to offer support or services to the family;
those who have relevant information to share in the meeting;
where consultation has been provided, it may be appropriate for the consultant to attend.

The meeting needs to bring together all those who can provide relevant information about the child/young person and family. After the meeting, a member of the meeting should be appointed to inform the child and family of the outcome, which will be recorded.

It may be appropriate to inform the family in advance of the plan to have a professionals-only meeting to discuss their situation. However, professional judgment may need to be brought to bear on whether this is appropriate in all situations.

If the parents have not been informed of the meeting by the convening agency, then agreement should be sought from invited agencies that the meeting will take place without the family being informed. If the parent(s)/Carer(s) raise an objection to the meeting taking place, consideration should be given to whether concerns are sufficient to require a different approach (i.e. a Strategy Discussion).

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