EIP Journal – April 2018

Munro, Turnell and Murphy (MTM) publish the Signs of Safety English Innovations Project (EIP) newsletter each quarter after the EIP leaders’ workshop. It reflects the content of each workshop as introduced by both MTM and the local authorities, and exercises that readers can do for themselves. MTM hopes that the EIP journal will be a valuable learning resource for all the staff of the local authorities as well as their partners and stakeholders, and more broadly in England.

EIP2 – Full implementation of Signs of Safety – Three Key Deliverables

Safety planning with safety networks focussed on
everyday living arrangements

Case management alignment – the forms and processes
matching the Signs of Safety practice

Further developing and implementing the
Signs of Safety QA system

Second Quarter Achievements and Challenges

Thinking about YOUR LEADERSHIP of the full implementation of Signs of Safety, the three key deliverables for EIP:

  • What was your biggest PERSONAL achievement in last three months?
  • What was your biggest PERSONAL challenge?

Local Authority Presentation –

Lincolnshire is four years into implementation. Leadership comes first.


Trajectory Planning – Case Management Alignment

All LAs have a plan for the full implementation of Signs of Safety including the three key deliverables of EIP.

These are comprehensive rather than detailed, tailored to the LA and for some involve catching up to be ready for the three key deliverables of EIP.

To land the deliverables, LAs are going to need plans that are detailed and spell out concrete steps to the goal.

These are sub-plans of the implementation plan (an extra column OR an attachment).

The tricks are to be:

  • detailed and concrete without being convoluted and complex
  • clear on the gaol but not getting lost in being totally right about it.

Local Authority Presentation – Bristol

Bristol is at the stage of wanting to embed Signs of Safety to strengthen our approach to practice. When we started to listen to families we had to listen to some painful messages. We really like Lincolnshire’s approach of “families as leaders in the system”.


Building a Culture of
Appreciative Inquiry

What is appreciative inquiry?

A culture of appreciative inquiry is an approach to change management that focuses on identifying what is working well, analysing why and how it is working well and then doing more of it.

(It is built on a specific method for interview about good work that one is proud of using the EARS approach: Elicit – Amplify – Reflect – Start Over)


EIP2 Action Research
– Initial Staff Survey

The staff survey closed in February. Analysis has been completed for six local authorities. Four had sample sizes too small for analysis. All local authorities receive individual reports and the consultants will assist local authorities how to work with and respond to the results indicated.

Signs of Safety practice and confidence

Overall, confidence with the tools and processes of Signs of Safety practice has increased significantly from EIP1. Mapping a case with a family and the use of words and pictures are perhaps lower than might be expected. One local authority observed though, “it is encouraging that there is now a culture in our organisations where people can admit their low-level confidence, this wouldn’t have happened a year ago”. To preserve confidentiality, local authorities are referred to by letters. The collective results are as follows:


Activity for Next Workshop

The activity is in line with trajectory planning for case management alignment. Senior and project managers should ‘survey’ a selection of staff (formally or informally, through individual conversations or discussions at set meetings, anything that is deliberate and recorded in some notes!), in order to:

Progress the case management alignment trajectory planning. Contribute, don’t just assign it and tick it off!

Closing Points

There are other EIPs, what has our coach been seeing across projects that works?

  1. EIP is a fantastic opportunity in terms of funding but more importantly in the ability to access expertise and capacity in your case thorugh MTM.
  2. Independent external evaluation is a benefit and will provide you with some good independent evidence to have discussions with decision makers, in DfE and your local authority – get some good insights from it, use it!
  3. Projects do best that have used funding for a dedicated focus on implementation, and have a sharp focus on deliverables. You are looking to get to the end of the journey not just the project.

Last quarter we focused on leadership modelling of Signs of Safety, this time we focused on building a culture of appreciative inquiry (focussing on what’s working). This is fundamental. It is not at the expense of setting clear expectations, clarity of direction, initiating action and people taking responsibility. It’s how we do this better.

We are six months in, a quarter of the way through. There is some urgency …. albeit that we are on a long-term journey. We are pushing quite hard, so please do take advantage of all the training and consultancy that is on offer. There are no issues in your agency unaffected by how you have chosen to practice and so there is little with which we cannot assist!

New Resource

Leadership Trajectory Summary

This is an easy guide to plan the focus of your consultancy visits. It sets out the all the topics that can address with the recommended leadership groups. Choose what is best for you at this time and talk to your consultant.

DOWNLOAD: Leadership Trajectory Summary

Please Give Us Your Feedback

Let us know about anything and everything to make MTM’s work be the best it can be for you.

Most importantly, please have a look at the Guide document for the leaders’ workshop plan and think about and let us know what you think would be most helpful at the next workshop.

DOWNLOAD: Guide for Local Authorities and MTM