Staff need to know how to appropriately refer, how to use common tools and protocols effectively, and how they can contribute to a coordinated community response. If staff don't understand these procedures, it will impact on their ability to properly respond.
Staff need to be allocated to attend multi-agency meetings such as MARAC, and teams need the capacity to enable their attendance. For consistency it is usually better if the same staff member attends each meeting.
During the Free from Fear tenant and service user consultation, this comment was made by a staff member accompanying a client from another agency: "It's really important housing attends meetings such as POVA - it's not helpful when housing staff are not at meetings; it means they are not up to speed with important information - they also can't appreciate the complexities, the history and the issues."
Policies and procedures
Clear policies and procedurres ensure staff know the appropriate referral pathways. They enable consistency, and directly impact on the organisation's ability to respond effectively and identify appropriate referral to other agencies or multi-agency groups.
The absence of common tools can undermine the creation of a consistent approach, as well as creating barriers to the fostering of shared understanding and language, which can enable effective integrated community responses.
Information sharing protocols
Without information sharing protocols, (ISP) in place, significant barriers can exist in effectively sharing information. An ISP can add clarity to what is permissable, and adds accountability. ISPs create minimum standards that everyone agrees to work to, which helps to build trust by alleviating concerns around different working practices.
Organisations that are risk averse or protective about involving other, can result in professionals being more reluctant to share information with other agencies. This in turn hampers a coordinated approach, since staff are prevented from seeing others' involvement and learning from their insight. This can lead to gaps in information and potentially duplication.