PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore how, by encouraging all key stakeholders to “play nicely and act maturely” to share responsibility, the author was able to improve outcomes for children reported missing to Gwent Police. The paper shows that sharing responsibility is a critical factor in such collaboration, requiring people and agencies to let go of power that usually interferes with a preparedness to avoid blame, a willingness to enjoy the rewards of success and together manage the risks.Design/methodology/approachIt offers a viewpoint about identifying the issues and failings of silo working and developing a more creative way of working together to improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children and young people. It is informed by close working between colleagues from different agencies and professional disciplines and the lived experience of the author in moving from a social services department to the police service.FindingsWorking with people is always complex, the whole process is vulnerable to and affected by personal interpretations and different value bases, yet vulnerable young people need consistency and boundaries. To improve outcomes, the author has to improve the understanding of individuals’ stories, hear what the young people are saying and create a consistent response by balancing risks with potential for change.Research limitations/implicationsThere are no formal research findings as yet, but it draws on research carried out elsewhere and highlights where there is shared learning from listening more attentively to what young people say about their experiences of services, set up to protect and safeguard their interests. The independent counselling offered to young people is a critically different ingredient to consider for the future, harnessing the contribution of the third sector and explores their strategic and operational involvement.Practical implicationsImproved outcomes for and engagement with the young people and their families, reducing the long-term impact on the public purse, while lessening risks and breaking the cycle.Originality/valueIt explores collaboration still in its infancy, but one about which there has been considerable interest UK-wide, illustrating the potential for collaboration and/or integration between agencies that have seldom been comfortable “bedfellows”.
Journal of Integrated Care – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 17, 2015
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