Personal advisers call for Connexions caseload definitions

    Personal advisers delivering the government’s new Connexions
    strategy should have defined caseloads, new research shows.

    A report by schools inspectorate Ofsted on the second round of
    New Start partnerships finds that individuals carrying out personal
    adviser work are able to sustain case loads of no more than 15 or
    20 referrals at any one time.

    The Connexions strategy, which began a three-year national
    roll-out programme across England at the beginning of April, is
    based on the premise that all 13 to 19-year-olds will be allocated
    a personal adviser to provide career, education and personal advice
    and a link to other services.

    New Start partnerships, launched in 1998, aim to get young
    people aged 14 to 17 who have disengaged from mainstream education
    back into education and training, and are therefore considered to
    provide “a valuable source of experience and expertise for the
    Connexions service to draw on”.

    Other lessons from New Start partnerships include the need to
    set out performance criteria and clear national standards for the
    scope and quality of Connexions services, plus a need to define
    ways of monitoring students’ progress and achievements,
    particularly in relation to aspects of personal development.

    Personal advisers will also need to develop exit strategies for
    their clients, and develop systematic procedures for recording
    privileged and confidential information, as well as protocols for
    sharing it.

    Procedures and protocols to define the working practices
    required to underpin multi-agency working will also need to be
    developed.

    “The importance of multi-agency working to the success of this
    work needs to be spelt out more clearly by those developing the
    Connexions service,” the report says.

    “Organisations need to work together but also need to have
    clearly-defined roles. The relationships between Connexions service
    staff, school management teams and teachers need to be given
    further attention.”

    The report also highlights the “inherent risks” to personal
    advisers of working alone to sustain contacts with young people in
    non-traditional contexts, and calls for workers to receive “proper
    training in this style of work and careful supervision”.

    New Start Partnerships 1999-2000: learning to connect from www.ofsted.gov.uk

     

     

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