Senior practice oversight

"To see a panel of experts from across agencies and sectors get together regularly and say ‘How can we help?’ – it’s just incredible" - a Lead Professional, Counties Manukau Children's Team

What is senior practice oversight?

Senior practice oversight means supporting frontline staff by providing access to senior, advice and guidance from a group of senior professionals and practitioners across a range of disciplines.

Working with highly complex issues, intensified when combined with the high level of vulnerability of our children and families. We need to have in place quality assurance systems to ensure that our frontline staff and systems are delivering the very best practice.

Why is it important?

Practitioners and professionals should feel supported in the work that they do. Our work with vulnerable children and their families is complex and demanding, so we need to ensure that there are adequate supports in place to ensure best practice knowledge, advice and guidance is made available.

We need to ensure that quality of intervention across agencies and systems is consistently high and delivers the expected outcomes.

What does it look like in practice?

Oversight should consist of a group or panel of senior practitioners and professionals who come together to provide frontline staff with access to a range and depth of expertise across disciplines and review practice. This enables frontline staff to receive advice from across a range of disciplines and gain knowledge they may not have from just within their own agency discipline.

This group can support frontline practitioners in different ways:

  • Providing a spotlight on quality of practice and responsiveness
  • Easy access to specialist knowledge and solutions identified that are tailored to a specific case
  • Grounded guidance sourced from years of experience
  • Added value of collective practice advice
  • Sharing solutions across disciplines to address criteria based service gaps e.g. conduct disorder and behavioural concerns
  • Supporting the frontline practitioner when the going gets tough and spreading the weight of accountability.

Each home agency is responsible for their own practitioner’s quality of practice and responsiveness, in a collaborative system the panel provides the oversight and quality assurance that all the parts are contributing to improved outcomes for a vulnerable child and their family/whānau.

How do Children’s Teams put in place senior practice oversight ?

Children’s Teams Panels have been established to provide a supporting role to frontline practitioners, maintain the focus on being responsive to a vulnerable child and their family and achieving demonstrable long term results for that child.

Working together and sharing information is a critically important part of this approach.

How do I support my staff with senior practice oversight?

Think about the needs of your community and who else should be present around the table to make this work in your community. Make sure that you have right people within your organisation are in a position of oversight to make things happen for children and families.

Support your staff so that they know the best way to present information to the panel to get the best output. Putting in place effective supervision will also assist with this.

Ensure that your agency has a focus on achieving outcomes and has the skills to work in a trans-disciplinary working environment.

What resources can help me put senior practice oversight in place?

The Children’s Action Plan has resources which describe how the Children’s Team Panel operates: