Multi-agency Working: A detailed study

Anne Wilkin, Kay Kinder, Mary Atkinson, Alison Stott, Paul Doherty

01 January 2002

This report presents the findings from phases two and three of an NFER study, commissioned by the Local Government Association, examining the range of multi-agency activity within LEAs and what makes it successful. Phase one, an initial audit of multi-agency activity was reported in Multi-agency Working: an Audit of Activity.

Following the telephone interviews in phase one, a sample of 30 initiatives was chosen for more in-depth study, involving face-to-face interviews with key personnel from the LEA, health, and social services (where relevant). Finally, more detailed case studies of six of these initiatives, involving client interviews and observation, were undertaken.

The report outlines the different types or models of multi-agency activity that were encountered and the rationale behind their development. It discusses the professional backgrounds and agencies of those involved and their roles and responsibilities. The report goes on to detail the impact on the different participants and multi-agency activity generally, before setting out the key challenges and key factors and skills involved. Finally, the six case studies are presented. The concluding comments focus on both the complexity and the potential of interagency working, as well as the variety of practices operating under the nomenclature of ‘multi-agency’. A new ‘hybrid’ professional type, who has personal experience and knowledge of other agencies, is highlighted and it is suggested that such understanding may be vital for successful joint working.

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