The Team Around the Child (TAC) and the lead professional: A guide for practitioners

Karen Stuart

What the resource is:
This resource replaces the DfES 2006 and 2007 guides to being a lead professional. It is an updated practitioner guide to fulfilling the role. As such, it integrates recent developments in policy and practice such as the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), lead professional role and information sharing. The guidance is non-statutory, and case studies are provided to show, for example, how one Local Authority has implemented the lead professional role.

 

The aims of the resource:
The resource aims to provide practice guidance to practitioners who are already working as lead professionals, and for people who want to find out more about the lead professional role and the Team Around the Child (TAC).

 

Key findings or focus:

  • The resource outlines the role and key functions of the lead professional as a single point of contact, as a co-ordinator of services to reduce overlap and inconsistencies in services.
  • The resource shows that the role is transient, and not permanent like that of a child protection officer.
  • There is an overview of the lead professional in relation to the TAC and the tasks that it might involve in this context.
  • It identifies what additional needs are and represents them with the ‘windscreen' diagram of the continuum of needs. This is a useful guide to stages of transition in service planning for a child, young person or family. The resource additionally has a diagram of the different sectors of the children's workforce which is useful to help identify which practitioners may be of use to a particular child or young person, and also helps students to realise the scope and breadth of the workforce that they have joined.
  • The resource maps six stages of an intervention journey and the role that the lead professional will take throughout that journey.
  • There is a list of all the practitioners who are able to act as a lead professional (i.e. any member of the children's workforce who has undertaken appropriate training).
  • It details the knowledge and skills that lead professionals will need
  • The resource describes the key role of managers and supervisors in supporting lead professionals
  • There are four case studies describing aspects of integrated working such as the TAC.
  • Useful annexes summarise: A) the policy context, B) the Every Child Matters Outcomes and aims, C) who can lead cases of complex needs.
  • Additional resources are flagged up, some of which will be useful for ITE and CPD purposes (e.g. The Common Assessment Framework and schools fact sheet).

 

The quality, authority and credibility of the resource from your subject perspective in relation to ITE:
The resource provides a good overview of and insight into the lead professional role, the TAC and integrated working processes. It is not a training resource and does not claim to be, but does provide details of training materials (p35). The resource is clearly laid out and very accessible, answering all the questions that a practitioner new to the lead professional role and TAC might have about integrated working. It has less to offer experienced lead professionals, although claims to be relevant to them. The resource is from a credible and reliable source, and the CWDC has extended its remit by producing this document that is relevant to school settings, when they are outside of its footprint.

 

The implications for ITE tutors/mentors - when and how it could have best impact:
This resource would be best used after students had been introduced to the concepts of the Every Child Matters agenda, and different forms of integrated working. At this point it would serve as a useful discussion document (so how equipped do you feel to be a lead professional?), as an exemplar of integrated working practice (consideration of the case studies), and as a tool by which to analyse the offer in schools (where on the windscreen do schools fit?). The resource would be a useful pre-reader to any exercise involving a simulation of a TAC or CAF meeting. The document would also finally provide a really useful discussion piece for student in inter-professional learning sets (i.e. education, health, and youth and community faculty students learning together for a module) in that they can discuss the challenges that it poses to them from each of their different professional perspectives.

 

The relevance to ITE students - how and why it has importance:
This resource is a clear and practical guide to the key role of the ‘lead professional' and how it is related to integrated working to improve outcomes for children, young people and families. The resource is a really useful introduction to the lead professional role, and should be used by all students in ITE as an introduction to integrated working in general, and specifically to a multi-agency role that they could aspire to. The information may need to be presented in simpler and smaller steps however, as there is a mass of information to digest for students new to the integrated working agenda.

 

Reviewed by:

Kaz Stuart