Signs of Safety: Making IT work

Servelec has collaborated with Munro, Tunrell & Murphy, the owners of Signs of Safety, and is the Lead Development Partner in the UK for Signs of Safety. Servelec and Munro, Turnell & Murphy is a unique partnership to revolutionise social care practice putting children at the centre of Children’s Services.


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The Signs of Safety® approach was first created in the 1990s in Western Australia by Andrew Turnell and Steve Edwards, through action research projects with over 150 front-line statutory practitioners.

Signs of Safety is now the most comprehensive practice approach currently available to the child services field. Since 1993 it has been refined by thousands of practitioners across 18 countries as diverse as Sweden, Japan, Australia, USA, England and Cambodia. The Signs of Safety approach transforms Children’s Services by placing parents, children, their family and social network at the centre of assessment, planning, decision making and solution building. Munro, Turnell & Murphy’s primary goal is to sustain and grow the continuing development of the Signs of Safety and the international community of agencies and practitioners to which the model belongs.

In confirming Servelec as the Lead Development Partner for Munro, Turnell & Murphy, Andrew Turnell said:

“The partnership with Servelec is an exciting moment as we create the capacity to provide organisations, practitioners, managers and leaders the recording tools to track the use and implementation of Signs of Safety.”

Dynamic partnership to deliver IT bourne out of practice

Munro, Turnell & Murphy has now partnered with Servelec, the provider of leading social care case management solution, Mosaic, for Children’s and Adult’s services.

Working together, Servelec and Munro, Turnell & Murphy have created the Signs of Safety Mosaic case management solution providing end to end support for this innovative practice model whilst still ensuring all legislative and statutory requirements are met.

Mosaic delivers the key Signs of Safety principles:

  • Working relationships are critical
  • Developing a stance of critical inquiry
  • Landing grand aspirations in everyday practice

Servelec is also working with Munro, Turnell & Murphy to create the first Signs of Safety dashboards that auto-populate with information held directly within Mosaic, providing managers and practitioners with up-to-the-minute information about caseloads and using scaling to track and monitor the progress of the work they are undertaking.

Finestra, the fully integrated Mosaic portal, will support children, young people and their families to work in partnership with practitioners, by providing access to appropriate parts of their Mosaic records, and to input directly into their ongoing safety plans.

The collaboration will also include the integration of the ‘My Three HousesTM’ app with Mosaic. The groundbreaking practitioner’s app is the first of its kind, providing interactive tools and real-time guidance for practitioners to involve children in assessment and planning and explanations for parents about the work with their children.

The app makes it easier for social workers, who have limited time to do the most important and often hardest part of their job - enabling vulnerable children to engage. The integration allows the information held in the app to be automatically uploaded into the child’s record held in Mosaic and to inform ongoing assessment and safety planning.

The implementations of Signs of Safety in Mosaic will be available to existing customers of Servelec who have already implemented the Signs of Safety approach as part of the English Innovations Programme, with many other councils following on.


Putting children at the centre of Children’s Services

The Signs of Safety approach focuses on the question “How can the worker build partnerships with parents and children in situations of suspected or substantiated child abuse and still deal rigorously with the maltreatment issues?”. The strengths-based and safety-focused approach to child protection work is grounded in partnership and collaboration.

In 2014, the Signs of Safety England Innovations Project was launched to work intensively with ten local authorities in England to fully implement Signs of Safety to redesign their organisational procedures and functioning to better support the approach in helping children, young people and families. Mark Stonell from Munro, Turnell & Murphy, said “It was truly inspiring to work on the England Innovation Programme in my previous role at Wakefield Council; everyone was committed to delivering good outcomes for children and making transformational changes to the complex work of keeping children safe and helping struggling families.”


Joining up social practice with IT

The Signs of Safety forms developed with Servelec reflects learning from the England Innovation Project on effective implementation. The Servelec and Signs of Safety collaboration revolutionises social care practice ensuring that the important work being undertaken by practitioners and children, young people and their families is fully reflected in the family group case record. This is achieved using modern recording practices including intuitive pathways, logical forms, and forward-facing creative apps.

One of the most important developments of the Signs of Safety England Innovation Project was to expand the approach so that it fits the entire children’s services continuum of early help, child protection and all looked after work.

By developing the Signs of WellbeingTM and Signs of SuccessTM forms and pathways within the Mosaic platform, this enables single assessment case transition when they move from Child in Need to Early Help and when children are taken into care. Most critically, the platform supports and assists practitioners and local authorities to lead participatory safety/wellbeing/success planning with parents, children, extended family and naturally connected support people.

Andrew Turnell adds: “Working with Servelec means we can provide great practice focused backend and forward facing IT products. More exciting than that though is this work provides the platform for us to partner with local authorities to undertake further development so that we have IT systems that practitioners will want to use because it will help them do their work and make a difference for children and families. That’s the revolution we’re after and we want as many local authorities to join us in that task. In many local authorities, it is common to find that systems do not support the implementation of practice in social care. The partnership between Servelec and Munro, Turnell & Murphy demonstrates world leading practice and IT collaboration to support children’s services in delivering the best outcomes for children.”