Staff Choice Awards 2018/19
Clinical Achievement Award

Early Help Pathway

Has been shortlisted for this award

Children, Families and Young People’s Services 
Central Norfolk 

The nomination said...

The Early Help Pathway was set up in response to the challenges experienced around growing waiting lists for treatment in the Central Norfolk Youth Service. There is a perception that brief, structured interventions cannot work with this client group. However, this team did not make any assumptions and took their understanding of best practice from both the Youth Wellbeing Project and Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Programme (CYP-IAPT) to pilot a team providing high quality, timely, evidence-based brief interventions. By working in a highly collaborative and goal focused manner, this team of therapists and child wellbeing practitioners have been able to use brief interventions to support young people to meet their goals. The result of this is that they have moved from referral to treatment in only a few months rather than spending prolonged periods of time on waiting lists and being re-assessed

The key to the success of the Early Help Pathway has been the systematic implementation of training, supervision and continuous professional development (CPD) alongside the CYP-IAPT principles of participation, awareness, accessibility, accountability and evidenced-based. This has enabled them to implement a model in which young people are supported to make a collaborative decision about whether a brief goal-focused piece of work will be right for them. They use Routine Outcome Measures in a clinically useful and service user centred manner in every contact they have. This ensures that if the intervention being offered is not enabling the service user to achieve their goals, then this is identified rapidly and appropriate changes can be made. Supervision is used both to help the clinician maintain an evidence-based approach and to support clinicians to reflect on the progress being made by each service user to ensure service users are getting the best possible support.

This team’s success is down to their focus on collaboration, evidence-based practice and shared decision-making. This has enabled them to offer brief interventions which are genuinely focused on the service users’ identified priority and goal. Thus, service users, when offered the choice, are actively choosing to engage in a brief, structured intervention rather than a longer-term treatment plan. As a team, they have maintained a positive and hopeful position, always seeing potential in the young people they work with. Rather than taking a position of the expert who will tell the young person what they need, they see themselves as a guide who can work alongside them to help them decide what will make a difference to their own lives – thus, empowering young people to make positive choices about their own lives.

Linda has been a particular asset to the team as someone who has ensured a governance structure is in place around the team, meaning that its members can work collaboratively in a safe and contained manner. This has enabled them to use brief interventions with complex cases whilst still maintaining an evidence-based focus.