Learning nuggets: accident prevention activity mapping

October 2012

Through Making the Link’s mentoring and consultancy programmes, Ian Evans has supported many practitioners working to reduce childhood accidents, in different areas around England, to map their prevention activities. He says that it’s one important step in the process of developing an effective child unintentional injury prevention strategy. Here Ian shares some helpful tips about activity mapping.

The process of mapping or auditing your accident prevention activities will provide valuable intelligence to feed into the development of your child unintentional injury prevention strategy. It will give you insights into how you can work with local organisations, how that work can be co-ordinated and how to maximise its impact.

Choosing an approach that works for you

Ian says that there’s no one set way to produce an accident prevention activity map. NHS Salford, for example, worked with the safeguarding children board and a wide range of other local stakeholders to complete a ‘rapid review’ to feed into a needs assessment for child unintentional injury prevention – you can read more about their approach in our January 2012 case study. With so many different organisations able to influence child safety as part of their service provision for children and families, it can be very helpful to bring a group of local partners together to discuss the programmes and activities they’re involved in. The information gathered can then be set out in a simple document. This also creates the potential for longer term dialogue and collaboration.

“At our Making the Link workshops we’ve encouraged people to identify the accident prevention activities of three groups of local organisations - those that they work with already, those that they would like to work with and those that they find it difficult to work with,” explains Ian. “Opting for a facilitator-led activity mapping workshop can be a very effective way to encourage everyone to drill deeper into what’s happening in your area and explore where you need to go.”

Using the information you’ve gathered

Once you’ve produced your activity map, Ian says that there are two key questions to consider:

  • what does the information tell you?
  • what are you going to do about it?

“It’s important to recognise that an activity map is not an end point – it is part of a longer process of developing an effective strategy for childhood unintentional injury prevention. What you will gain from the mapping stage of the process is an informed understanding of how the work you’re already doing can be taken forward, and where the gaps and opportunities lie.”

Ian says that activity maps can also provide useful insight into how work is being targeted at different ‘ages and stages’ of child development – something he believes will be increasingly important in the context of the ‘life course’ approach taken in the new public health plans – and into how different localities are being reached.

“In terms of local targeting, the next step would be to look at whether the areas of current activity correspond to the areas and communities that have the greatest need. You could then use this information to feed into the local Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) process or a child poverty strategy. The main point is that the activities identified shouldn’t just be a list, but should add up to far more than the sum of the parts. That’s where a local injury prevention coordinator can play an important role in effective targeting, partnership working and evaluation.”

Supporting change

During this time of significant organisational change, child accident prevention practitioners face the challenge of maintaining momentum in their work and making sure that the ownership and leadership of child safety priorities in different organisations is not lost. Ian says that developing an accident prevention activity map can help you to navigate these changes.

“The mapping process will show you where you already have contacts, where you lack them and how you can make each of your contacts count. For example, if you find that another local organisation is doing a lot of work with families, there could be an opportunity to link up to get injury prevention messages across to this audience. It can also help you to see how strategic ownership of the child safety agenda can be hardwired into existing and emerging organisational structures and ways of working.”

Key points to remember

  • Map the accident prevention activities of three groups of potential partners: those that you work with, those that you'd like to work with and those that you find it difficult to work with.
  • Consider a facilitator-led workshop to help you drill deeper into what's going on in your local area.
  • Use your activity map as a starting point - the next step is to look at whether the current range of activities are reaching the areas and communities with the greatest need.
  • In times of organisational change, the process of activity mapping can help you to make the most of your contacts and opportunities for partnership working.

Useful resources

If you’re planning to map your accident prevention activities, you might find it useful to look at some maps produced by other organisations:

If you’d like to share your accident prevention activity map with others working in childhood unintentional prevention, please email us at info@makingthelink.net

Updated December 2013