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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/practice-approach/practice-standards/work-closely-in-partnership-with-others/work-closely-in-partnership-with-others-guidance/
Printed: 19/05/2024
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Last updated: 08/11/2017

Work closely in partnership with others — guidance

I will engage and collaborate with key people working with each tamaiti, in order to ensure their full range of needs are identified and addressed in a coordinated way.

I will know I've achieved this standard when...

I have had conversations with other key people working with this tamaiti to inform my assessment and planning

  • Seeking information from key people about te tamaiti helps you understand the needs, strengths, and vulnerabilities of te tamaiti much more fully. It also helps provide a picture of those people and services which have a role to play in supporting te tamaiti effectively. This crucial information contributes to your assessment of te tamaiti. It helps inform the plan that you create with te tamaiti, their whānau and other key people involved.
  • Your first step is asking te tamaiti and whānau who you should talk with. Who knows them? Who supports them? Your goal is to find out the key people who will influence and support change for te tamaiti. This might be wider whānau, neighbours, friends, and other professionals. Let them know what kind of information you will be seeking, what you will do with the information, and what information you will share with others.
  • Your engagements with te tamaiti and their whānau provide an opportunity to include them in the assessment and planning processes. The important thing to note with te tamaiti and whānau is that this contact is not about catching anyone out or trying to find anything bad, it is about having all of the relevant information so you can form a full picture and make an informed assessment. Make sure te tamaiti and whānau know you will be sharing your assessment with them.
  • As you identify and engage with these key people working with and supporting te tamaiti, you will be able to gain advice about how to best engage with and support te tamaiti and their whānau and who might help us with this. Some of these key people will have had long-standing working relationships with te tamaiti and whānau and will be able to provide you with rich insights you haven’t yet seen.
  • It is important that you recognise and incorporate the expertise of those working with and providing support to tamariki and whānau. This also means understanding the different ways that we all work with tamariki and whānau. For example, the whānau might be supported by a service that works from a Kaupapa Māori perspective. As a practitioner, what do you understand about this approach? Who could you ask about this?
  • For tamariki Māori and whānau Māori, a great source of information can be their hapū and iwi affiliations. What do you know about iwi affiliated or Māori non-governmental organisations in your area? Who else should be included in plans with te tamaiti and their whānau?
  • Think about how you can gather information from key people in ways that also help build respectful and trusting relationships. Information gained from a phone call or email is important but does not compensate for engaging with people face-to-face. Arrange to meet key people at their place of work or in the community, complete a visit to te tamaiti and whānau together, bring key people into a case consult at your office, and (with consent from whānau) invite them to a hui ā-whānau, family group conference, and planning meeting.
  • When we have good working relationships with our partners, this helps build a community of best practice where we understand each other’s roles, work and approaches. This knowledge can then contribute to more effective and informed support systems around tamariki and their whānau.

I have shared relevant information with the right people in the best interests and safety of this tamaiti (those who need to know)

  • In your work, the best interests and safety of te tamaiti comes first. Let the key people around te tamaiti and whānau know this and that, regardless of whether they are solely working with the parents or caregiver, they are part of the support and safety network for te tamaiti. Make sure they understand that if you come across any information which suggests te tamaiti is at risk of harm, you will share your concerns with the people that need to know.
  • It is your call as to what is ‘relevant’ information. There may be some legal implications so talk with your supervisor if you are unsure what can and cannot be shared. Ultimately, if you believe that the information you share will keep te tamaiti safe (and conversely, that not sharing will make them unsafe), you must share.
  • When everyone has all of the information, this enables us to respond more effectively to the needs of te tamaiti and their whānau and to help keep them (and their community) safe.

I have engaged with the right people when making significant decisions for this tamaiti, including other key people working with them and, where relevant, the victims of offending by tamariki

  • At the point when decisions need to be made about what will happen for te tamaiti and their whānau, bring the right people together so that everyone can hear each other’s information first-hand and add their own perspectives and thoughts based on what they know, have experienced and have heard. Sometimes, a small piece of information that might not seem terribly important to one professional might really resonate with another.
  • With particular regard to victims of offending behaviour, we know that supporting them to contribute their views and hear from key people around te tamaiti is important. This allows them to have a say about how they would like te tamaiti to be held to account for their actions and to hear from others about how the tamaiti will be supported not to reoffend.
  • When you bring key people together as a group, establish an agreed way of working together which focusses on keeping te tamaiti at the centre. Develop shared aims and clear lines of accountability. What do you understand of each other’s roles, what you do and what approaches you use? How will the group maintain contact whilst you are all working with te tamaiti and how do you include te tamaiti and their whānau in this? Allow time and space for differing views to be explored – everyone’s opinion and expertise is important. Reinforce unity and working together by using language understood by everyone. And celebrate successes, no matter how big or small. These will keep you going through the challenging times.
  • When involving others, it is important to keep te tamaiti closely involved in this process. This needs to be managed particularly well where offending has occurred, as tamariki may typically respond to discussions and decisions being made about them with regard to their offending with a trauma related or shame based response. This can leave them stuck and further impacted in negative ways. This risk can be reduced if they are encouraged to be involved, along with a support person, or have their views included in other ways. It’s often helpful for te tamaiti to experience and participate in these processes with the people around them who care for them.

I have advocated for the rights and needs of this tamaiti where these are best met by other service providers or partners

  • Your responsibility as a practitioner for Oranga Tamariki is to keep te tamaiti at the centre of everything you do. You do this by building a good relationship with them, understanding what their needs and strengths are, and what they want for themselves now and in the future.
  • You are an advocate for te tamaiti, and this means that you ensure te tamaiti has access to the best services and supports that will meet their needs now and into the future. It is important to ensure their whānau, caregivers and others who support te tamaiti are aware of the services supporting te tamaiti, where relevant.
  • Developing good working relationships with your partner colleagues helps you to understand what services and supports are available, which services might best meet the needs of te tamaiti and who within those services you could approach for advice or support. You need to stay actively involved when other services are in place to ensure everyone is on the same page and that goals for the wellbeing of te tamaiti are progressing.