Standard 4

4.2 Are the views of children and families sought when the organisation is developing a new service or piece of work?

This means that when a new piece of work is being considered, children and families should be consulted regarding its development. The consultation process should include those with disabilities, specific needs as well as those from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The consultation notes should be recorded and made available within your organisation.

It is recognised that organisations will differ with how much direct contact they have with children and how much their services directly impact on children. Therefore the expectation of the level of consultation with children will vary depending on the type of organisation. We work with just under 2000 children each week so obviously it looked different at different stages of the journey.



Examples and suggestions of good practice

Organisations with children in their care, eg children’s homes, fostering agencies, childcare and education settings could have

  • Regular children’s meetings
  • Involve young people in recruitment
  • Ensure close relationships with other professionals involved with the children
  • Regular one to one sessions with key workers
  • Undertake questionnaires with children
  • Hold feedback forums with children.

Organisations working directly with children in the community could:

  • Deliver surveys and questionnaires
  • Hold consultations
  • Deliver engagement activities
  • Involve children in recruitment and training
  • Develop a young people’s council
  • Develop an interactive websites
  • Involve children in the planning and delivery of events and activities.

Organisations that don’t work directly with children could:

  • have regular consultation with service users – being aware that service users may be parents / care givers.
  • use the ‘Think Family, Work Family’ approach.
  • Consult with wider community using surveys, questionnaires and forums.

 

Case Study

The organisation Kidz Klub recently went through a significant restructure of their organisation and changed a great deal of the way they provided their services to children. The following is how they obtained the views of the children they work with prior to making these changes.

Getting feeding back and communicating what we were doing with adults was time consuming but relatively straightforward.  Doing this with the children took a little bit more thought.  We tried to bring them along at all stages of the journey.  We work with just under 2000 children each week so obviously it looked different stages of the journey. 

A big part of what we do is home visitation; every child who attends one of our activities is also visited at home each week during term time - a chance to deliver their activity sheet and to connect with the children and their families in a meaningful way.   We would use the time delivering sheets to make sure every child had the chance to fill in a questionnaire, with a space for a parent or guardian to contribute as well.  This would obviously mean that we would have many conversations about what they enjoy, what they don't, what's easy to access etc. Such conversations aren't unusual anyway - they are often a natural part of weekly conversation following on from an activity with a child saying 'I really liked it when....' or a parent telling us, 'The bus turns up late outside the co-op' etc.  As any organisation would, we are always trying to take on board these comments as part of good practice so we can continually improve what we do.

In addition to the questionnaire and verbal feedback, we knew we wanted to take that information once it was gathered and create small focus groups with the children so that we could hear what they had to say.  So we ran an 8 week focus group where 12-20 children, who had been regulars at Kidz Klub, would join together to speak into what was ahead. We would talk to the children about what was happening, about their ideas for Kidz Klub and also about being children in Leeds.  After the focus group, we ran 2 pilots using many of the new ideas the children had helped to formulate. We ran these in different parts of the city so we really got a feel for what worked where.  These certainly helped us as there were many things that didn't work!  After the pilots, we gathered more feedback through feedback sessions with the children, questionnaires, community partnership forums and telephone calls.  We then gradually rolled out our new programme; there was a sense of shared anticipation and excitement - it was definitely a time to celebrate!

The process wasn't short - there was a period of around 6 months where we stopped all our weekly activities except home visiting.  But we really believe it was the right thing to do and an invaluable exercise.