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Hertfordshire County Council

Role and Responsibilities of a Keyworker

  • Act as a single point of contact for family through a process of change both supporting and challenging when appropriate.
  • Lead a “single offer” of local co-ordinated service to families through a “Team around the Family”.
  • Co-ordinate the delivery of an agreed Family Action Plan, monitor and review until outcomes are met.
  • Encourage the family to problem solve

A Families First Keyworker will be:

  • An effective communicator,
  • Empathetic and sensitive building on the families strengths
  • Diplomatic with the ability to build relationships with families and other professionals,
  • Able to negotiate and challenge appropriately when necessary with families.

The aim is to provide earlier, coordinated and more effective support to the whole family whilst reducing the long-term costs to local services. Family Keyworkers work in partnership with the family to identify strengths and issues, agree priorities for change, and provide support and challenge.


When you are acting as Families First Keyworker, you are only accountable to your own agency. You are not responsible or accountable for the actions of other practitioners and services.

Key tasks undertaken by the Family Keyworker

  • Register on EHM System – Keyworker needs to have undertaken EHM system training and be registered on EHM system.
  • Be accessible to the family and TAF – Keyworker should be someone that the family is happy to work and engage with, and be accessible to the family.
  • Obtain consent and register all relevant family members for FFA on EHM – this means people that need to be included in the Assessment – Not all extended family need to be registered, but unless parents specifically refuse, all child siblings living within the house should be included in FFA, for example, as behaviour/ actions of one WILL impact on all family members.
  • Undertake FFA within timescales and gain consent – FFA should be undertaken and added to the system within 3 weeks of the family having been registered. Verbal consent should be obtained prior to family registration, and before FFA is started.
  • Obtain written consent from family – Once FFA is completed, written consent must be obtained and the Consent Statement on EHM should be updated to reflect this.
  • Ensure the voice of all family members is reflected in FFA – Within the 3 weeks, it is the responsibility of the Keyworker to meet with all family members and obtain their voice as part of completing the FFA. If this is not possible, any professionals working with the family that can provide this should be contacted but it this must be evidenced clearly within the FFA how the voice of the child/family was obtained.
  • Arrange TAF Meeting – Initial TAF meeting should be arranged by the Keyworker within 6 weeks from completion of family registration and assessment. Keyworker sends out invitation to professionals and the family (it is good practice to check the family and children, where appropriate is able to attend before confirming date with everyone invited). Ensure that the date, time and venue of the meeting is suitable and accessible for the family.
  • Invite attendee, including family to TAF – It is the responsibility of the Keyworker to ensure that they have invited all relevant TAF members – consider who should be invited and at the right time.
  • Share/collate information prior to the TAF – Ensure that discussions have been held with any TAF Member that cannot attend and that report is obtained.
  • Challenge appropriately – Ensure that TAF remains on course and that only relevant information is discussed. Challenge if needed to ensure meeting remains productive and focused.
  • Complete Review Process within timescales – Work through Action Plan and ensure that actions set are SMART and met.
  • Record information on EHM – Following the TAF meeting taking place it is the responsibility of the Keyworker to ensure that the TAF Meeting Outcomes and Action Plan are updated within timescales (2-3 Working Days)

As the Key worker it is your responsibility to

  • Ensure that the episode remains up to date and that all information is added to EHM and accessible to relevant people.
  • Case Notes within an episode are extremely important (see further detail under recording) up to date relevant information on the episode will ensure multi-agency information sharing and aid Step Up Process (should this be necessary).
  • All TAF Members should be given access – the right access level to the episode and any TAF member that is not registered on the system should be encouraged to do so. Families First Partnerships Practice & Development team (FFPPDT) can be contacted to assist with this. Full Access will need to be given to allow TAF Members to add Case Notes and documents. Full access is not needed if wanting to invite someone to TAF to see if they will become involved.
  • Encourage TAF Members to use the system to add notes and share relevant information.
  • Respond to case alerts on EHM – As the Keyworker, you will be alerted to anything that happens with the case, any contact made to Children’s Services, any Case Note added, Domestic Violence alerts, Referrals etc. As the Keyworker you should ensure that you are responding to these or carrying out any directions given, once you have been contacted either by your local senior or Families First Coordinator or a member of staff from Families First Triage team. These will usually be to discuss referrals/notifications with family and ensure that these are being addressed or to be addressed at the next TAF Meeting.
  • Check EHM system regularly – Although you do not use the system on a daily basis, you should be mindful of this, especially if you are aware that you are working with a particularly vulnerable family, and check the system regularly for any updates that may have been added. It is important to always check the Child’s record on EHM
  • Encourage family participation and feedback – Encourage family participation in the TAF meetings. If it agreed that the FFA should be closed, as a Keyworker, you should ensure the views of the family – including children is sought and clearly recorded. You should also ask the family to complete the feedback forms.

It is good practice to:

  • Seek feedback from the family at the TAF meeting, and to record their comments on the meeting and its outcomes. This should be sought at every TAF meeting.
  • If this is an ongoing TAF, you may also want to meet with the family after the TAF meeting and go through agreed actions, to ensure they understand, including any actions that the family needs to progress. Record their comments on the agreed actions and outcomes.
  • As with Keyworker, you should be accessing the system regularly, especially if you are aware of the vulnerability of family, to ensure that you are aware of these.

Role and Responsibilities of Team Around the Family (TAF) Member

  • Attend EHM system training and register to use the system – ensure that you have undertaken EHM system training and that you are registered on the system.
  • Have access to the FFA Episode – it is your responsibility as a TAF Member to ensure that you have access to the episode for the TAF that you are involved in. You are able to access request on the System – or just ask the Keyworker to give you access. To be able to add case notes or documents you will need to ensure that you have full access to the Episode.
  • Respond to Episode alerts – As a TAF Member you may be alerted to specific case notes that require you to take action.
  • Attend TAF Meetings or send reports – As an effective TAF Member you should ensure that you attend TAF Meetings or send your apologies and/ or a report to the Keyworker prior to the TAF, if you are not able to attend.
  • Sharing information prior to TAF meetings – ensure that you have shared any relevant information with the Keyworker and Family prior to the TAF to prevent any surprises or unnecessary confrontation with or for the family.
  • Be responsible for your actions – You should ensure that any action that was set for you has been undertaken and that you have done what you should have to support the family.
  • Ensure that you have done all that you can to encourage family members to have undertaken their actions with your support if needed.
  • Challenge appropriately – you may as a TAF Member need to challenge the family or other professionals within the TAF meeting. If this does happen, you need to ensure that you challenge appropriately and professionally to ensure that you remain able to work with family and maintain the working relationships that you have formed.
  • Record information on EHM system – It is extremely important that you ensure that you share your information about the family with the TAF and using Case Notes to do this is an extremely effective way to ensure that everyone has access to this information. You should ensure that you add Case Notes and documents to the Episode.
  • Be an active member of the TAF – communicate and keep your Keyworker informed of your work with the family. Do not wait until the TAF meeting to update your Keyworker.

Role and Responsibilities of a line Manager/Supervisor of a Keyworker

Managers of Families First Practitioners should:

  • Embrace the common vision and shared aims for Families First and integrated working. These should focus on the benefits for children, young people and families to promote a joined-up approach across professional boundaries.
  • Ensure that practitioners needing to undertake FFAs have all the skills and knowledge they need. Undergoing EHM system and FFA specific practice training is important but will not cover all the skills necessary to undertake effective assessments.
  • Clarify their organisation’s commitment to appropriate information sharing and ensure staff understand information sharing arrangements and procedures (or processes) within your organisation.
  • Recognise that the process requires cultural change and that people need to be encouraged and supported to see the benefits and the importance of changing ways of working.
  • Encourage and support practitioners to broaden their knowledge of local service provision. e.g. through encouraging use of the Families First Portal. This will help practitioners to facilitate effective multi-agency working and ensure access to the most relevant service provision.
  • Recognise that the process requires cultural change and that people need to be encouraged and supported to see the benefits and the importance of changing ways of working.
  • Managers also have key responsibilities to ensure that good practice in information sharing is embedded within and across their organisations, and to support their practitioners in making information sharing decisions when required.
  • Develop the skills and confidence of practitioners and managers to undertake their role(s). This may involve considering your own training and development needs as well as the training and development of staff.

Managers in each service should agree locally with their practitioners:

  • what their role will be in relation to the Families First Assessment (FFA)
  • who can undertake Families First Assessment (FFA)
  • what training they will need to understand the FFA pathway, process and tools and, if appropriate, undertake Families First Assessments
  • how and when they will access appropriate training (need to have knowledge of the FFA tools, processes and EHM and know who to contact to obtain advice or arrange the FFA)
  • how they will be supported in the workplace
  • ensure that integrated working is seen as the ‘day job’ for everyone
  • Line management and supervision

As a manager you should be:

  • fully aware of the Keyworker functions and the demands of working in this way
  • able to monitor caseloads and mandated to change the balance if necessary
  • capable of directing others if needed
  • able to challenge the Keyworker and other practitioners involved in a case
  • able to deal with complaints or performance issues and escalate if necessary
  • able to provide effective supervision or ensure appropriate supervisory support and arrangement is in place for your practitioner.

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