Staff Choice Awards 2016
Partnership Working Award

Compass Outreach Team

Is a finalist for this award

Children, Families and Young People’s Service, Norfolk 
Octagon Business Park, Little Plumstead 

The nomination said...

The Compass Outreach Service developed in April 2015 as an innovative approach to the care of Looked After Children and those on the edge of care. At the heart of this approach is a fundamental commitment to partnership working, as from the beginning the service developed in collaboration with Norfolk County Council (NCC) and The Benjamin Foundation. The service aims to overcome the barriers often present in the care of these children and young people through developing excellent communication between agencies and a shared vision of ensuring that those with the highest vulnerabilities do not fall between gaps in provision.

In just under a year, Compass has already worked with over 120 young people. They have supported four children to return from out of county placements, 18 children have been supported to reunification and 50 multi-agency practitioners are enrolled on an AFT accredited Systemic Family Therapy course developed by the team.

Referrals are received directly from the local authority rather than from healthcare services, and the team benefits from being multi-disciplinary and multi-agency, including clinical psychologists, art and family therapists, assistant psychologists, family development workers from The Benjamin Foundation and a social worker. It is being rigorously externally evaluated by the Anna Freud Centre, which involves extensive interviews with staff and service-users, data from which will be fed back into further improving the service.

The Compass Outreach Service has developed significantly stronger relationships between NSFT and NCC through the genuine commitment to providing better outcomes for the most vulnerable children and young people in Norfolk. This shared objective is truly transformational in generating clearer pathways for families on the edge of care and young people within the care system who require the coordination of multiple and complex interventions for a variety of health and social care needs.

It has also developed a strong partnership between NSFT and The Benjamin Foundation through combining staff from both organisations into one team, strengthening and developing staff knowledge, experience, and skills and creating wide ranging community bases to deliver interventions.

Part of the Compass Outreach project also involves developing a manual of the approach to accompany a broad range of training. This is helping to further embed links between the shared knowledge base between health and social care, and disseminate the learning from the approach in delivering partnership working. It is creating a culture of knowledge from different organisations and disciplines through demonstrating this in its
day-to-day clinical work and the extensive benefits to service users.

A key principal of the Compass Outreach Service is its focus on genuine authentic relationships as being the foundation for effective clinical practice. This focus extends from the clinician’s relationship with the service user right up to the relationship between the local authority and the NHS trust. It is within secure relationships that flexibility and openness develop, which in turn allows trust to enable both partners to fully realise their potential. This approach is outstanding in both its simplicity and bravery in refusing to accept the many barriers that modern practice can place in the way of having open and honest relationships.

Key examples of this that the Compass service has achieved, include receiving referrals from a single point of access within the local authority; signposting and facilitating referrals to other healthcare teams, where appropriate; providing consultation to the local authority on complex cases; delivering therapy in locations chosen by service users; committing to quick access to therapeutic interventions for service users to match the timescales of social care processes; delivering training and showcase events to disseminate the approach and its knowledge base; and NSFT clinicians and third sector organisations working with families from within the same team. These achievements are remarkable both for the scale of what they set out to achieve but also for completing these within a year.

Additional information:

Team Compass has gone above and beyond the call of duty, displaying a care and devotion to their work that has been recognised by the families and services alike. They place the child and family at the centre of all of the work that they do, and look at their needs in a holistic and inclusive way.

Despite facing numerous challenges consistent with the setup of a new service, Team Compass pulls together and tackles everything with enthusiasm and passion.

This holistic and encompassing approach to supporting the families has enhanced the quality of care provided by each of the services. Team Compass is committed to sharing their knowledge and learning from other organisations.

Nominated by: Nicki Bramford, Team Lead for Compass Schools and Outreach Service, Children, Families and Young People’s Service, Norfolk