Shropshire Council

Strengthening Families (roles) - FAQs

What is the role of the lead professional?

A lead professional is someone who takes the lead to co-ordinate provision and be a single point of contact for a child and their family, when a range of services are involved with that child or family, and an integrated response in required.

'Lead professional' is not a job title or a new role, but a set of functions to be carried out as part of the delivery of effective integrated support. These functions are to:

  • Act as a single point of contact for the child or family, who they can trust and who can engage them in making choices, navigating their way through the system and effecting change.
  • Co-ordinate the delivery of actions agreed by the practitioners involved, to ensure that children and families receive an effective service which is regularly reviewed. These actions will be based on the outcome of the assessment and recorded in a plan.
  • Reduce overlap and inconsistency in the services received.

Here are some examples of the tasks a lead professional may need to carry out to deliver the functions above:

  • Building a trusting relationship with the child and family (or other carers) to secure their engagement and involvement in the process.
  • Be the single point of contact for the family and a sounded board for them to ask questions and discuss concerns. In some cases other practitioners will need to make direct contact with them, and it will be important for them to keep the lead professionals informed of this.
  • Co-ordinate the effective delivery of an agreed set of actions which provide a solution-focused package of support and a process by which this will regularly reviewed and monitored.
  • Identify where additional services may need to be involved, and put processes in place for brokering their involvement (this may need to be carried out by the line manager rather than by the lead professional themselves).
  • Be the single point of contact for all practitioners who are delivering services to the child, including staff in universal health and education services, to ensure that the child continues to access this support.
  • Continue to support the child or family if more specialist assessments need to be carried out.
  • Support the child through key transition points but were necessary, ensure a careful and planned ‘handover’ takes place if it is more appropriate for someone else to be the lead professional.

What is the role of our employment advisors?

Strengthening Families employment advisors can support families with steps to employment in the following ways:

  • Help with Universal Jobmatch
  • Internet job search
  • Help with CVs
  • Help with job applications
  • Interview skills and preparation
  • General benefit queries
  • Travel plans
  • Training information
  • Basic budgeting help

From 1 April 2016 the referral criteria for support is:

  • No family members working
  • Family at risk of financial hardship

The process for referral is:

  • An initial assessment identifies that the family meets the referral criteria, or the problem is identified while the family is engaged with services.
  • Consent to share information is in place.
  • Referrer asks Shropshire Strengthening Families through ECINS or e-mail for a consultation or assessment of need.
  • Where appropriate an employment advisor will be allocated, or they'll contact the family to give advice about signposting to appropriate services.
  • Employment advisors will complete a worklessness assessment on allocated cases, which will form part of the whole family assessment.
  • Appropriate outcomes and measures to be identified. The voice of the family will be reflected in the goals and tasks agreed. 
  • Employment advisors will oversee the worklessness element of the family plan and report on outcomes and measure, collecting evidence where appropriate.