What is the status of multiagency keyworking in England? Are there any keyworkers now? What happened to the generously funded CCNUK? Can you provide information?

keys2Peter Limbrick writes: This is an appeal for information about established multiagency keyworking projects in England for children and adults.  We will publish a list of all valid projects that are sent to us.

There was great interest in keyworking during the first few years of this century but it seems to have gone very quiet now.  CCNUK (Care Coordination Network UK) seems not to be operating at all in England (where it began about 12 years ago).

A multiagency keyworker is the interface between the user (baby, child, teenager, adult or elderly person) and the two or more agencies who are offering support simultaneously or in close succession. A close and caring relationship and the linking function are antidotes to fragmentation and chaos.

During the 1990s, the charity One Hundred Hours[1] provided keyworkers to families of disabled babies and infants. Pioneering and developing the keyworker model, they found that most families wanted all the child's learning and development interventions linked together as much as possible into a whole-child approach.  The two options were:

  • The OHH Keyworker acted as a go-between, collecting information from therapists and pre-school teachers and then supported the parent in joining them all together at home into a whole approach
  • The OHH keyworker and parents invited the key interventionists to a 'TAC'[2] meeting in the child's home at which approaches were shared and a unified plan agreed for the child's play, development and learning.

The latter option was the most successful. But TAC and keyworking are intimately linked together because a multiagency keyworker can generate a TAC if it is necessary and the TAC facilitator functions as the multiagency keyworker or lead professional. TAC is now established in many countries but multiagency keyworking might, as far as I can see, have lost favour among service providers in England – hence this appeal.

I am broadly defining the multiagency keyworker as one paid worker whose role is formally agreed and supported by two or more local agencies and who is given the time and resources to function effectively for the children or adults in his or her care.

I am broadly defining a valid multiagency keyworking project as one which is formally established and funded by two or more local agencies and which provides keyworkers to all the children or adults of a particular category - who meet the qualifying criteria - for as long as needed in that locality.

TAC interconnections supports the multiagency keyworking role and hopes to hear of very many viable projects in England.

If you have a valid project which does not exactly fit the above definitions, please send it to us anyway.

[1] See The Keyworker: a practical guide by Gudrun Limbrick-Spencer (WordWorks and Handsel Trust, 2001). Available from Interconnections.

[2] These meetings were named as 'TAC' (Team Around the Child) later.