1. Registering with IIF
Settings in the secure estate that wish to gain the quality mark register with IIF by completing a simple registration form. An IIF associate will arrange to visit the setting to discuss how the scheme can be adapted to meet the needs of the setting. The setting should identify who will lead the process within the setting.
It is important that there is support from the senior management and the staff in the setting.
2. Starting to work towards accreditation
Once registered, the first step is to audit the work that the setting already does in working with families.
To make this easier for secure settings, we have adapted the audit tool from 1-HOP Quality Statements and Toolkit. The eight elements in the toolkit are a reasonable fit with areas that secure settings should be working on with families and they have the benefit of being well known in the sector.
The first part of the audit should be to look at each of the quality statements in the i-HOP document that are of particular relevance to Investors in Families and “RAG rate” each of the quality statements. (This is essentially a self-assessment exercise that some settings already undertake for their own planning purposes.)
Once the audit has been completed, the setting should identify FIVE key priorities that the setting believes could contribute significantly towards developing the work being done to “keep the family together”.
Some of the five priorities might span more than one quality statement and the five priorities should span a range of the quality statements.
3. Developing the work plan
Having identified those priorities that will improve partnership working with families, the setting will be able to develop a work plan and time line for each priority. (They will, of course, be phased over the course of a year, or perhaps longer, depending on the nature of the activity.)
At this stage, the setting will decide which member(s) of staff will lead on each of the activities and what needs to be done. It is helpful if different staff lead on each of the five activities.
4. Taking the work forward
As each activity is taken forward, the setting will keep a record of the actions taken by the setting and collate information about the steps taken. (At this stage, a Priority Action Cover Sheet can be used as a diary of activities.)
Alongside this “diary” the lead should also collect evidence, for example, letters to families, details of the activities (with photographs), engagement with partner agencies, take-up by families, feedback from families and the impact of the activity on family engagement.
The Priority Action Cover Sheets and the evidence collected will be used to complete the portfolio that the setting will put together to gain the quality mark. The portfolio will be electronic and could include video material.
5. Putting together the portfolio
Once the setting has completed the activities identified in its action plan, the Priority Action Cover Sheets are completed and put together with the information/evidence about how each of the activities identified were taken forward.
In addition to this activity specific evidence, which comprises one component of the portfolio, the setting will provide the generic evidence (drawn, for example, from the setting website or key strategic documents) which demonstrate the setting’s commitment to working with families.
The third component of the portfolio is an outline action plan setting out how the setting will develop work with families over the next three years.
6. The assessment process
Once the portfolio of evidence has been collated, the setting will contact IIF to arrange for the assessment visit.
Once the arrangements for the assessment visit have been made, the setting will send to the assessor the first page of the assessor’s report, with the setting details and the context sections completed. The setting will also submit the Priority Activity Cover Sheets to the assessor, at least one week before the visit.
7. The assessment visit
In advance of the visit, the assessor will have reviewed the information submitted by the setting. On the day of the visit, the assessor will review the portfolio of evidence with the IIF lead for the setting. The assessor will also meet with members of staff, partner agencies and ideally parents, children and young people.
At the end of the visit, the assessor will provide informal feedback to the setting about the assessment, indicating whether any further work needs to be done.
8. Completing the process
Following the visit, the assessor will complete the Assessor’s Report and submit it to IIF for quality assurance. If the assessor reports that the setting has met the standard for the award, IIF will inform the setting and send the IIF certificate to the setting.
The setting will then be able to use the IIF quality mark logo on its communications. IIF will work with the setting to celebrate and publicise the award.