Effective joint working protocols should have established criteria - local authorities can use these to assess their existing protocol, or as guiding principles for drawing up a new one.
To be effective, a joint working protocol should meet five key criteria:
Research carried out by Homeless Link, Young and Homeless in 2012, found that almost 50% of local authorities who responded felt that their local joint protocol was ineffective or had limited impact.
The evidence suggests that many protocols have shortcomings, and that a substantial minority are not effective. On the other hand, experience suggests that the process of developing a protocol itself brings important benefits, such as:
In the best examples, local authorities have established a shared commitment to young people in crisis and a shared frame of reference for each other’s statutory duties.
They have developed realistic options for young people’s accommodation and support, and secured sufficient resources to provide these in both the short and long term. They also recognise that practices must be developed and refined over time.
For more information, see Shelter’s benchmarking guide for joint working between services.