How to work in partnership

March 2013

Partnership working is a key way to reduce the number of children killed or seriously injured in accidents. Forming and maintaining effective partnerships requires time and effort, but it is an investment that will pay off. This section provides practical tips on getting started with partnership working and making every contact count.

Who do commissioners need to work with?

Partnership working is at the core of the new public health system, with health and wellbeing boards (HWBs), joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs), and joint health and wellbeing strategies (JHWSs) all providing opportunities to embed partnership approaches to unintentional injury prevention. HWBs in particular have the potential to drive forward the child accident prevention agenda across a whole range of local organisations and stakeholders.

The policy framework section of this guide includes a diagram showing the links between the different organisations that have a role to play in child accident prevention under the new health and care system. Our topic briefing on partnership working includes questions to help you identify potential partnerships and decide which organisations will be most effective for you to work with.

Voluntary and community sector organisations can play a valuable role in helping commissioners to understand the needs of local populations and identifying gaps in services. Our briefing on working with the voluntary sector explores this topic in more detail.

Approaches to partnership working

There is no one set model for partnership working in child accident prevention. Partnerships can range from loose ‘networking’ arrangements based on sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas, through to close integration with shared budgets or joint funding of posts. Our topic briefing on partnership working describes a range of approaches and highlights the factors that underpin strong and sustainable partnerships.

Making every contact count

Parents expect the health and social care professionals they come into contact with to provide them with information and will usually be very receptive to advice offered in a non-judgmental way. In a child accident prevention context, ‘making every contact count’ means equipping frontline practitioners with the skills and knowledge to engage parents in child safety issues whenever an opportunity arises, for example during a home visit or a ‘stay and play’ session at a children’s centre.

The topic of injury prevention can be introduced in these settings in many different ways, such as:

  • role-modelling safe practices, for example by putting a hot drink down in the centre of a table or on a high shelf and explaining why
  • telling a parent how to arrange a free fire safety check with the fire service
  • providing information and leaflets relevant to their child’s age and stage of development.

Making every contact count creates a ‘drip-feed’ of child safety information, which helps parents to consider advice and examples in context and to understand that small things can help to protect their child from serious accidental injuries.

Steps that commissioners can take to support frontline practitioners with this task include:

  • setting up simple referral systems for services such as home and fire safety checks – see our Liverpool Safe and Sound case study for an example of this
  • introducing a universal accident prevention checklist for all organisations working with children and families – see our Bradford Safeguarding Children Board case study for an example of this
  • providing children’s centres with leaflets, posters and take-away resources to create displays on child safety topics – see our St Werburgh’s Park Children’s Centre case study for an example of this
  • providing joint training on topics such as hot drinks safety for health visitors, children’s centre staff and community group volunteers – see our Kent Community Health case study for an example of this
  • providing joint training on child accident prevention for a range of staff and volunteers who visit families in their homes, to support them in delivering consistent child safety messages to families and in signposting families to local accident prevention services.

Related links

Making the Link

Updated June 2013