Surrey Family Support Programme - Team Around the Family

A Team Around the Family (TAF) is a new model within Surrey, which brings together practitioners from a wide range of different statutory and voluntary agencies to work with a family. This coordinated partnership approach helps build on family strengths and bring about sustainable change in identified areas of concern. The focus is on working with the family in a holistic way using a whole family approach.

Team Around the Family principles:

  • Families are at the centre of the process.
  • A strengths-based, restorative approach is used to communicate and engage with families through listening to their story, supporting family problem solving and suggesting solutions.
  • Sustainable change is the focus of all goal setting and action plans.
  • Coordinated multi-agency support is put in place that is both accessible, and appropriate to the family support plan.
  • Evidence-based models of support and intervention are used with a commitment to evaluation measures that will ensure the best possible outcomes for families.
  • The TAF systematically implements and reviews a family support plan to ensure that it is relevant, suitable and tailored to the individual family.
  • TAFs manage risk safely in alignment with safeguarding procedures and protocols at all times.

Will I work differently?

You will still be working with a family or family members according to your agency remit and responsibilities. The difference is that you will be doing this in close partnership and conjunction with all the other agencies working with every single family member. This means you will have access to information about all members of the family and a much more comprehensive understanding of the family as a whole. You will also be part of a shared 'family support plan' where all interventions will be coordinated.

Will my workload increase?

Your work load with a particular family is more likely to drop as services will no longer be duplicating interventions and you will not have to step out of your core remit and responsibilities to meet the additional needs of families. Attendance at six week meetings will define your contribution, what sort of agency resourcing is required and when it is no longer needed.

Who will arrange the Team Around the Family meeting?

You will be invited to attend a TAF meeting by your local Surrey family support team through email or letter. You will be expected to book and attend all meetings if you are working with any member of the family delivering a service. If you cannot attend, you will need to submit a short report outlining the intervention you have carried out with the family or family member to date. All invitations and attendance at TAF meetings will be monitored and reviewed centrally to ensure all partners are making a fair contribution to working with families through a Team Around the Family.

Who might be part of a Team Around the Family?

It is likely that the core TAF will consist of as many members of the family as possible and then four or five key practitioners from education, health, the police, social care (if applicable) and housing. Surrey partner, statutory and voluntary organisations may also attend the TAF to give their input, advice or resources.

Every TAF will have an appointed chair, who is appointed in alignment with the primary family need. A TAF chair will be a senior manager in social care, housing, education, health or policing who is part of the 'family support plan'.

Every family will have an ongoing appointed lead professional from a lead agency. They will be a central point of contact for the family.

What are the benefits of this way of working?

Families who have experienced this approach report:

  • they feel they are listened to
  • they are able to access a wider range of services more speedily
  • they prefer having one plan, which takes account of the needs of the child, the parents and the family as a whole
  • this helps families not to feel so overwhelmed or confused by professionals making, what they experience as, competing demands
  • they know with whom information is being shared and have consented to this, reducing their fears about being judged as inadequate parents
  • they are much more likely to meet their goals
  • change is sustained within the family with much less likelihood on long term dependence on families.

Practitioners who have experienced this approach report:

  • it can be a more satisfying way of working as it makes accessing resources for families easier
  • it makes communication between agencies clearer and reduces duplication
  • it offers opportunities for the development of additional knowledge and skills
  • key agency aims and objectives for families are much more likely to be met.

Files available to download