Rotherham Charter Genuine Partnerships
In 2009/10 Rotherham Parent Carer Forum and a small group of practitioners from RMBC began to work together as equal partners. They had been involved in research about what it is like to be a learner in our Rotherham schools if you have additional needs, and what is like to be a parent or carer of that child or young person.
The stories shared were powerful, demonstrating the anxiety and worry parents and carers have about their children and young people, and how their child’s well-being affects their own. However, the research also shows that there is lots of good practice in our schools and services, and that small changes can make a big difference to the experience of children and young people, and their families. Nearly all of these changes are about investing in relationships and building trust.
Together, parents and carers from the Forum, and RMBC practitioners, created a set of principles they hoped all Rotherham schools, settings, services and providers would follow. These are the principles of what is now known as The Rotherham Charter.
The team grew and is now a diverse group of parent carers, practitioners and young people working together in Co-production (genuine equal partnership). Self-evaluation tools, training and packages of support for schools, settings and services leading to Gold Accreditation have been co-developed, and are co-delivered by the team. The approach is appreciative; it has been recognised that identifying strengths and building on them can create increased confidence and restore relationships. Every year there is a fantastic Celebration Event enjoyed by all the parents, children, schools and services involved in the Gold accreditations. It is a really fun, uplifting and joyous occasion.
Year on year, the Rotherham Charter family grows as more schools, services and settings seek accreditation or attend our First Steps and other training events. A key aim over the next year is to involve more young people.
Following the values and ethos created by the Charter, each team member is valued for whatever they bring and feel comfortable offering. Training and shadowing opportunities are offered and this year a Level Two accreditation course is being developed for team members who are interested.
In 2016 The Rotherham Charter went national! The Genuine Partnerships Community Interest Company was formed and the team began working in partnership with national charity Contact a Family. Genuine Partnerships was invited to join the newly formed national strategic group Voices: National Alliance for Local Area Partnership Working. This group wants to improve Co-production across Education, Health and Care in terms of equal partnership working at all levels with parent carers, especially through Parent Carer Forums, and with young people.
The Rotherham Charter and the Co-production modelled by the Genuine Partnerships team has been recognised as national best practice. The Charter principles have become the Four Cornerstones of Co-production. Genuine Partnerships has been asked to pilot Voices Days in other Local Areas, which invite all key partners, including parent carers and young people, to work together on identifying their strengths in terms of Co-production, and how they can work together even better. So far the team has been to Lincolnshire and Nottingham City. The next adventure is to Trafford. Once the pilots have been evaluated the plan is to support the training of Genuine Partnerships teams in other regions around the country.
Feedback to the team from parent carers and young people so far involved in our work has been incredibly warm and positive. A Genuine Partnerships family has been created. The impact of our approach on schools, settings, services and now other Local Areas has been equally effective.
Rotherham Parent Carer Forum and RMBC are proud partners of all that has been achieved through The Rotherham Charter, Genuine Partnerships and now Voices.
It’s been a day I’ll remember for a long time and for all the right reasons. The work in Rotherham is inspiring.
(Parent, VOICES pilot)
I feel grateful for being given the opportunity to speak…coming here today has made me feel better about myself…
(Young person, VOICES pilot)
The Rotherham approach helped me to move my thinking on from co-production to think differently about implementation of working with families
(Statutory colleague, VOICES pilot)
We felt better prepared for our Ofsted inspection. Presenting the portfolios of evidence was extremely well received; we were awarded ‘outstanding’ in every area.
(Charter training participant)
Click here to learn more about the Voices programme offered to local areas.