Deal for your Street
Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives
Wigan Council’s ‘Deal For Your Street’ training experience empowers front line staff to positively support safeguarding within the local community. There are over 1000 front line staff employed by Wigan Council in a variety of essential services who work out in our local communities on a daily basis. Our innovative and interactive ‘Eyes and Ears’ approach to training supports the identification of any potential safeguarding issues they come across during the delivery of their day to day role. Through the aid of a fictional street, staff are trained to be vigilant and to be aware of potential safeguarding issues together with general environmental street scene operational issues. The interactive training experience developed by managers and operational staff allows for the earlier detection of safeguarding issues, leading to more timely intervention and support for our residents.
A fictional ‘ IDeal’ Street is shown towards the end of the experience and shows the community in the future to be thriving and self-reliant. It is an inspirational element to the experience which encourages staff to work with residents and communities to achieve this through activities such as volunteering or reporting issues online.
What are the key achievements?
Since the experience was launched 80% of front line staff have attended the training. Evaluation is a simple exercise which asks the attendees three basic questions. Staff use a green counter as an indication that they have a good understanding or a red counter to show they have a poor understanding. 96.7% of staff indicated they had a confident understanding of the Deal for your Street training. In addition to the understanding of staff, specific comments have been captured that highlight the value of the training. A colleague from our repairs service quoted “We see things when we are out there doing our jobs – this is exactly what we’ve been waiting for to be able to report issues”.
In terms of results for our residents, feedback from the Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub has highlighted 6 serious safeguarding cases that have resulted in action as a direct result of reports from staff following their attendance at the Deal for your Street experience. The reports include referrals of vulnerable individuals in domestic abuse cases, rape victims, cases of neglect and people at crisis point through social isolation. As a result of the detection of these issues, we have been able to provide the necessary support and intervention.
What are the key learning points?
To overcome an historical culture of ‘not my job’ the experience focuses on the basic function of using staffs ‘eyes and ears’ to identify potential issues that are morally right to report. Using interactive techniques, minimising writing and by avoiding traditional ‘talk at staff’ training we were able to achieve staff buy-in on a large scale. The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) which is a forum of different agencies including Police, Education, Drug & Alcohol services, Health, Probation, Housing, Adult Social Care and the community sector was identified as the one point of contact for staff to report safeguarding issues. This streamlines previous historical unlinked processes of reporting any concerns and it ensures effective feedback can be received. Logistically we needed to ensure training sessions were booked to an acceptable capacity at flexible times for a dispersed workforce with a requirement for continuous service delivery. Flexible early morning and evening sessions were used to meet service need. Sessions were limited to 20 staff at a time to encourage interaction and understanding and a dedicated set of hosts were trained to deliver a constant set of core messages and learning outcomes.
Donna Hall, Chief Executive of Wigan Council personally endorses the experience. After attending the experience, Donna has asked that the training originally developed for approximately 1,000 front line staff, to now be rolled out to over 5,000 council staff due to the key messages it delivers in an interactive and engaging way. The experience supports the Wigan Council ‘Deal’ which is an informal contract between the council, residents and local business. It is our innovative asset-based approach to public sector reform. The principles behind the experience focus on an asset based approach by enabling communities to help themselves and take pride in the borough. The key to the successful implementing of this approach is to promote a new workforce culture, centered on our ‘BeWigan’ behaviors. Through the experience the workforce is encouraged to work more creatively and imaginatively in partnership with our residents to provide a safe, clean and green borough.