About Signs of Safety

Signs of Safety is an innovative, strengths-based approach, created in Western Australia. The model was created by practitioners, based on what they know works with complex cases; it has attracted international attention and is being used in areas of North America, Europe, Australasia and the UK.

It is an assessment and planning framework supporting practitioners in determining safety and strengths within the home, identifying worries about harm and impact for a child and identifying what else needs to happen to keep this child safe and well. The core principles are simple everyday language that families understand, based on evidence and analysis and being open and honest about our worries and why we are involved.

Signs of Safety was developed from a spirit of appreciative inquiry, and the heart of the process revolves around a risk assessment and case planning format that is meaningful for all the professionals, and the parents and children.

Why have Lincolnshire chosen to implement it?

Lincolnshire have chosen to implement Signs of Safety to go some way to meeting the recommendations detailed in Professor Eileen Munro’s report into Child Protection, which in turn should ensure the Directorate’s readiness for meeting future Ofsted requirements.

A key recommendation of Professor Eileen Munro’s report identified the need for:

‘Local authorities and their partners to start an on-going process to review and redesign the ways in which child and family social work is delivered, drawing on evidence of effectiveness of helping methods where appropriate and supporting practice that can implement evidence based ways of working with children and families’.

The use of the approach was approved by Children’s Services Directorate Management Team and is being led by Janice Spencer, Assistant Director, as the Project Sponsor.

What will the impact of Lincolnshire’s implementation be?

Lincolnshire Children’s Services aim is to create a supportive working environment where staff are confident and committed to the professional judgements they make. The benefits of this are:

  • Increased confidence and capability of staff.
  • A supportive working environment for staff working through difficult and protracted cases.
  • Professional judgements based on a balance of information and evidence.
  • Improved engagement with families to meet the best needs, and outcomes, of the child.
  • Improved partnership working with partner agencies to meet the best needs, and outcomes, of the child.
  • Improved quality of assessment, analysis and intervention delivered to families.
  • Improved risk management of vulnerable children as a result of rigorous assessment and safety planning.

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Last updated: 5 November 2015

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