EIP Journal – July 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 and questions that readers can do for themselves.

Most of the input from workshop participants was provided by instant electronic polling via Poll Everywhere and are reported as verbatim responses to the questions posed.

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.

Second Quarter Achievements and Challenges

Thinking about Research in Practice’s observation about agencies adopting Signs of Safety, that essentially there is too much focus on frontline compliance and training and not enough understanding of the whole system implementation:

  • What was your local authority’s biggest achievement in last three months?
  • What was your local authority’s challenge?

Action Research

Eileen Munro presented the first overall action research report. The report follows the EIP2 baseline staff survey held in November and individual reports being provided to local authorities. Eileen summarised the areas where progress is apparent and the questions that nevertheless arise, and then the two standout challenges:  visible and engaged leadership and the persistence of a compliance-dominated culture.


Leadership: Stepping Up a Gear

Dennis Simpson presented on the key characteristics and qualities of leadership with Signs of Safety in mind; the key findings of Department for Education’s Final EIP Evaluation Report reflecting on forty-five projects; and with time being at a premium, the key challenge of behaviours change to step up a gear.


Local Authority Presentation: Wokingham

Wokingham have been implementing for four years, having begun implementation just prior to EIP1. Prior to EIP2, they set the specific objectives of advancing participatory conferencing and having meaningful measures that made Signs of Safety work. It is a big change moving away from the ‘top down’ process. To take the staff team from one place to the other, we needed meaningful measures to evidence this was a better way than the traditional way of working. What we knew was that having transfer points does not work, for families or for the internal process of managing cases in a fluid way. Working in a more co-ordinated and collaborative way makes the view and oversight of each case easier and reduces duplication of work, avoiding the experience that families have of having to repeat their story.


Signs of Safety Knowledge Bank

Subscription to the Signs of Safety is provided to all staff of EIP agencies as part of MTM’s/Resolutions’ contribution to EIP2. The enrolment of staff has coincided with moving to a version 2 of the Knowledge Bank that will be user-friendly and helpful with many of its features based on contemporary internet subscription services. In recognition of the delay in rolling out to all staff, and with an eye to sustainability after EIP2, MTM/Resolutions will provide an additional year of subscription at no cost, through to September 2020.


EIP Deliverable: Participatory and Aligned QA


The Signs of Safety Quality Assurance System provides a vision and specific tools that can be used to align quality assurance. It is based on Signs of Safety results logics and fidelity.

Aligned quality assurance, together with the information and communications technology that records case management and QA, have been designed to enable meaningful measurement of case activity and outcomes.

Recognising that children’s services in England have substantial and mature quality assurance activities in place, the Signs of Safety Quality Assurance System has been designed to be adopted or adapted, in whole or in part, to assist agencies to realise their own vision for participative and aligned quality assurance.


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