Meetings are an essential way of working with colleagues across the partnership to effectively safeguard our children and young people. Meetings, whether online or face-to-face, can be a powerful force for good: they are a space to creatively problem-solve, ask questions, share ideas, professionally challenge each other, and agree actions with specific owners and due dates. Great meetings do not happen by accident. A number of recent Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews highlight the importance of conducting effective meetings. Please use the guidance and resources on this page to help you do just that.
The seven steps to super meetings
Plan: Why do you need to meet? Who needs to be there? Where is the best place to meet to ensure maximum participation? When will most colleagues be able to attend? What information do partners need to share before and at the meeting? How will you involve the voice of the child and family? If you're meeting online, does everyone have the facilities to participate?
Prepare: Send an email to all partners clearly setting out the purpose of the meeting and expectations for participation before, during and after the meeting. Include all meeting details.
Set the tone: Start the meeting promptly and encourage everyone to introduce themselves. Use your agency's meeting record form. And if you don't have one, download the LSCP meeting notes template. Capture contact details of anyone new to the multi-agency team. Identify a note-taker who will capture key decisions and actions. They should ideally email notes to the partners within a day of the meeting. Explain the purpose for the meeting, including key decisions that need to be made. Establish the collaborative partnership culture by encouraging participation, honest discussion and professional challenge.
Inclusive and focussed: Ensure all partners actively participate and encourage others to ask questions and share ideas. Keep the conversations focussed to ensure the time is used effectively. Don't be afraid to stop a discussion that becomes circular or goes off topic. Encourage partners to identify dependencies on other agencies for support.
Action-focussed: If further safeguarding concerns regarding the child, their sibling, peer, parent, or carer are raised, agree who will make the appropriate referral, which should be done without delay. Agree all actions, assigning owners and deadlines. Agree meeting schedule and dates for future meetings. If not present, agree who will feedback to the child and family.
Stay in touch: Following the meeting, all partners will receive notes of actions and decisions. Save these on the child's records. Hold each other to account by staying in regular communication. If you are struggling to complete an action, reach out to your partners in between meetings. Encourage