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Unit information: Multi-Agency Working in 2020/21

Unit name Multi-Agency Working
Unit code ACHSD0009
Credit points 20
Level of study D/8
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Dan O'Hare
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit is concerned with developing awareness of the roles and responsibilities of other professionals who work with children within education, health, social services and medicine. It will examine, in the context of the government policy, developing partnerships and effective collaboration with the interacting systems of families, schools and other agencies in order to maximise effective outcomes for clients. It includes aspects of networking, communication, advocacy and decision-making, taking account of the organisational frameworks in which professional agencies operate. Principles of consultation, advisory work and problem-solving are considered, but in relation to the complex field settings in which professional roles often overlap. Issues within organizational development will be examined. For applied psychologists, effective practice hinges on early intervention, evidence informed decision-making, effective negotiation with key agencies, and an awareness of the dynamics and micro-politics of judgement making. The body of evidence on issues relevant to decision-making in social contexts drawn from research in child psychology and psychiatry will underpin the unit.


To develop the skills of communication, negotiation and consultation within multi-disciplinary teams. To develop knowledge, awareness, skills and values that enable effective work with diverse client populations through a clear understanding of the demographic characteristics of communities including the influence of culture, gender, ethnicity and factors influencing social exclusion. To enable trainees to take the role of advocate for children and families in contexts where the psychological interests of individuals are at risk of being compromised. To familiarise students with the literature drawn from social sciences which underpins decision-making on critical issues for children and families. To be aware of the roles, responsibilities and respective expertise of other professional groups including the limits of professional competence.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students will have developed knowledge and understanding encompassing the historic and current legislative context of the profession; ethical practice; knowledge and understanding of structures and systems within educative settings in addition to local authorities, health, CAMHS, and voluntary bodies. They will be equipped to work under supervision in public sector agencies (such as LAs) effectively engaging children and families, where psychological advice is required in order to support decision-making and intervention. Students will have acquired appropriate techniques for working across a variety of different contexts through the development of creative approaches that draw on a wide range of theoretical models, frameworks and psychological paradigms. They will be able to promote the psychological well-being of clients with particular regard to their emotional and social needs. They will be able to present psychological advice in applied contexts in conjunction with and alongside other professional agencies.

Teaching details

Blended learning will include guided reading, use of Blackboard Collaborate for input and break out group discussion, on-campus input and group work, to make link links between research and professional practice Placements will be organised so that trainees are directly involved in the work of EP services and LA organizations, including attending meetings, liaising with LA officers and other professional colleagues (teachers, doctors, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, social workers). Course inputs will include range of professionals, updates on legislation, required reading on professional issues.

Assessment Details

Satisfactory reports from fieldwork supervisors, and a range of professional activities reflected within the submission of the Professional Practice Protfolio. At least two reflections should focus on integrating experience with a critical examination of multi agency working. The range of professional activities will need to demonstrate theoretical understanding and knowledge of different models of psychology, and how they apply to a given situation or context.

Reading and References

  • CDWC. (2010). Integrated working: a review of the evidence. Institute of Educational, London: C. Oliver, A. Mooney, & J. Statham.
  • Dale, N. (1995) Working with families of Children with Special Needs: Partnership and Practice. London: Routledge.
  • DfEE (1995) Protecting Children from Abuse: The Role of the Education Service. London. HMSO
  • DFES (2001) Promoting Children’s Mental Health within Early Years and School Settings. DFES Publications
  • Dowling, E. and Osborn, E (Eds) (1994) The Family and the School: A joint Systems Approach to Problems with Children. London: Routledge
  • Fallon, K., Woods., & Rooney, S. (2010). A discussion of the developing role of educational psychologists within children’s services. Educational Psychology in Practice, 26 (1), 1-23.
  • HM Government (2015). Working together to safeguard children. London.
  • Hughes, M. (2006). Multi-agency team: why should working together make everything better? Educational & Child Psychology, 23 (4), 60-71.
  • Pettitt, B. (2003) Effective Joint Working between CAMHS and Schools. London DFES
  • Schaffer, H.R. (1990) Making Decisions about Children: Psychological Questions and Answers. Oxford: Blackwell.