Understanding Service User Perspective

Safety to practice assignment: Understanding the service user experience

My two day visit took place at the Somerset County Council, with the Access and Assessment Team which is apart of Children's and Families Services.  

The Access and Assessment Team (AAT) is a local authority agency which carries out all Initial Assessments for Children's and Family services.   'An assessment is where all available and relevant information about a child, or children, is gathered to decide whether they may, or may not be 'in need'(Somerset Council). The AAT should also ensure that the child is seen when carrying out an assessment.

You can become a user of the AAT service by self-referral, professional referral or by a concerned member of the public.

The AAT works with many other departments within Somerset council and also external organisations such as Local Police, Teachers, Head Teachers, Hospitals, GP's, Health Visitor's, Connexion's, Youth Offending Team, Fostering and adoption agencies, Children centres, National Children Homes, Locality team, NSPCC, Barnardos, Child-minders, Nursery nurses, Playgroup workers, Housing officers and Benefit officers.

The service users of the AAT are children and young people who come to the agency because they are or are likely to be at risk of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse or neglect.

The service provided by the AAT is to protect children and young people’s welfare. To do this the AAT will work with the child’s/young person’s family and/or carers, possibly providing/recommending services for them as well.   However for the purposes of this essay any reference to service user refers solely to children and young people as they are the reason for the AAT’s involvement.

A child or young person becomes a service user of the AAT, when either they or someone else raises a concern regarding their welfare.   A concern is raised by calling Somerset Direct on 0845 345 9122 and the children's and young peoples team will...