"The establishment of a multi-agency resource on which all staff in Scotland working with complex child protection issues can draw for advice, expertise, training and research ….."
(Social Work Inspection Agency 2005)
One of the ways that we work with the wider child protection community is to share knowledge and expertise via Communities of Practice. Our communities are available to frontline practitioners, middle or senior managers and local policymakers who need some advice and support when addressing a particular issue. Our members have joined from a variety of disciplines.
Communities of practice are not new, probably first started with artisans in ancient Greece and recognise that learning does not take place with the ‘master’ but with the apprentices and that learning is a social process. Communities are as diverse as the situations that give rise to them and they differ from other forms of organisation in several ways.
As a Community we can solve problems quickly because we know who to ask for help with a problem. As a Community we can exchange best practice – not just about specific problems but generating solutions. We can help develop professional skills by connecting and learning from each other, exchanging ideas and developing networks.
Community members are drawn from agencies working in child protection, including the statutory, voluntary, academic and private sectors. One specific community is the one that provides advice and support to others, called a Community of Expertise. Here, Expertise should be understood in its widest definition from frontline practitioners who have grounded knowledge in practice through to senior professionals or academics who have built up an expertise in a particular area. Expertise is underpinned by confidence, knowledge, skills, experience, supervision and resource management.
To become a community member you need to provide the following:
- a completed submission form
- a letter of nomination from your organisation
If you would like to become an active member, please submit the information requested and return to: WithScotland, School of Applied Social Sciences, Colin Bell Building, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA or email to a completed form to WithScotland@stir.ac.uk.