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Working with Other Agencies for the Benefit of the Client and Organisation

In: Social Issues

Submitted By esmica
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Unit 7 Working with other agencies for the benefit of the client and organisation

1. Understand the characteristics of networks that support career information, advice and guidance

1.1 Critically analyse the purpose of networks that support career information, advice and guidance

The key element of networking to develop relationships that are equally beneficial for us and our partners. Providing careers information, advice and guidance is improved if we have a strong network of partners around us (often in the local area of delivery) to look at opportunities and share there may be to assist us with the delivery of our service. With the bigger range of clients we see and the restrictions of the NCS it would be difficult to provide assistance for all the needs of our clients. Once we have assessed the goals of the clients, we can often rely on the expertise of our networks. Talking about our service and taking interest in the service offered by other providers/ organisations we can see how we may help each other and to see the interest and build on this foundation. Good understanding is required so all partners can have understanding of each service, which may result on ‘good’ referrals. For example, if I wanted to refer a client to a training course I would need to know what is the minimum educational level for the client to entry the training. If I continually sent people along who did not fit the minimum criteria the other organisation/partner would not feel their criteria is being fulfilled or we did not care about the criteria.

1.2 Explain the process governing the creation, operation and evaluation of networks.

Creation; to open new networks often entails lots of talking , on the phone and face to face – discussing with the partners and what they have to offer and what they are looking for from us. Building a relationship and looking if this could bring about mutual benefits for us and benefits for the clients. We meet potential agencies anywhere (JCP’s, careers fairs, socially), so need to be open in discussion. It is a bit like a sales man and sales man – we have something to sell and so do the other agencies – it could become a wining relationship, with an outcome to benefit the client. Operation; we need to be able to conduct a partnership of trust and to make sure a referral will be well respected and followed up. We need to ensure that the referrals are relevant and suited to the client. If a partner fails to call back a client then this has bad reflects on us - so trust other agencies needs to be established for the business to operate. We need to be reliable, trusted and expect that from the partners. Evaluate; Making meetings “alive” or phone calls to see how successful the partnerships and referrals are important to assess and evaluate the relationship and if amendments are needed or if more information can be exchanged to improve the working relationship. Working in a flexible way, looking at ways to satisfied each other’s needs and requirements we can adapt the way we work together to help the process be smooth and positive. We often are expressing gratitude and enthusiasm throughout the tree stages of the process to keep the partnership alive and developing.

2. Understand the networks supporting the delivery of career information, advice and guidance by the organisation

With the different range of clients advisors meet on a daily basis, we are unable to cater for all their needs, therefore building strong networks have a substantial affect on the clients ability to achieve their personal objectives. Seeing a young person and refer to a 18-24 adviser who would be able to provide range of extensive and on-going one-to-one support, applying for apprenticeships, jobs, training, workshops which would not be available under the NCS contract. One another example would be when advisor see client who has disability, who has seen this as a major barrier to employment. I discuss the availability of advisors support from agency which have contacts with companies who have openings to employing people with disabilities. If clients can quickly gain specialist support then their goals and objectives able to come “alive” quickly and they gather the knowledge and support to move them forward. Excellent partnership through network services enables me to offer a range of support from different agencies.

2.2 Analyse how networks benefit the organisation

The main partner we work with is the Jobcentre. We have an adviser who is our first point of contact and the person we can discuss our service and needs of a client. Prospects managers also have regular meetings with the manager at the JCP as the NCS is the major partner. As the process is getting dipper , our District managers have been providing extra support by visiting the JCP to have meetings with advisors and the manager to emphasise the importance of partnership and introducing different workshops to introduce a different aspect of our service.

The problems arises with clients with disabilities and with clients with long time unemployment’s which are not able to start work immediately because of lack of skills and experience. In this case they will need voluntary work in order to gain that. JCP often doesn’t like to support voluntary work. Another problem is if NCS advisor thinks that training would benefit the client needs to be proved by Job centre advisor. In this case it can slow down or blocked client’s development in the near future. The time is running out.

Prospects have the obligation as part of the government contract to work in partnership with the JCP, therefore to fulfil the partnership is equally important to continue on the foundations of our over five year relationship working in Jobcentres. However, on a day to day basis there are many aspects of our partnership which really help advisers deliver to a large group of people, who would otherwise be difficult to reach. Prior to working in Jobcentres the NCS service found it difficult to engage and reach certain ethnic groups, for example we saw very few young white British males. The group very seldom visited the libraries, community centres or colleges where we had our advisors. Immediately we were able to explore our outreach and make our service available and open participation to this group. Advisors are able to provide a higher quality service through the information such as LMI, employers’ job opportunities and the JCP District Tool. The JCP often has already employers interviewing clients for a wide range of jobs. The JCP advisers and JCP employability advisers share information about vacancies such as jobs at Security jobs/ Olympic vacancies – giving the information of the type of client/ skills required – this in turn helps me to inform clients about opportunities which I may never have heard about. There are providers to support people to become self-employed, IT training providers, ESOL, ex-offenders and many others. This can help us to extend our networks by contacting them and asking questions about the support they provide for their clients and for which sort of client group.

2.3 Examine sources of potential conflict and their resolution within networks

Conflicts can arise due to our different targets/ service. The JCP is mainly looking to take people off benefits and place people in employment, no matter what sort of employment. Statistically people would stay in longer term secure employment if they have more choice, planning and longer term vision. Our career objective is to equip the clients with career related information and guidance and often to secure longer term sustainable employment.

With good communication and respect of each other’s priorities, understanding their targets we can work well with the Jobcentres – often the conflict may be just misunderstanding, as we often find the clients are happy to take shorter term employment, but still want to be equipped to plan his longer term goals, thus satisfying his aspirations and dreams. The client can benefit from the help of the JCP by providing help with shorter term employment and from us as NCS advisers by finding the ways to plan their future effectively.

3. Understand the benefits of specialist support to meet the needs of clients and the service

3.1 Evaluate sources of specialist support within own organisation and other agencies

I worked closely with other training partners such as “Best computer training” – a member of staff actually attends the JCP so they are at hand to provide information about courses and to take referrals to help clients apply for courses.

Working closely with “Best computer training” it has been “win” situation because they provided lots of “popular” courses for the clients and location was desirable (located close to few job centres in East London). Problems began when “Best training lost the contract to Learn Direct and now we are not able to use their facilities.

I tend to demonstrate the selection of courses provided by local colleges by showing the client tools such as and – this websites are easy to use and then we select the course and put in the clients post code which gives all the colleges in the area, showing distances to the clients home. Mostly the clients investigate and apply themselves; however I often call the colleges to as details about courses and fees.

3.2 Evaluate way to access specialist support

I also regularly refer to business start up organisations which are in great demand from clients who are considering becoming self employed or starting businesses. They run workshops and provided one-to-one support for often between one or two years to provide workshops, advise about tax, websites, networking, marketing etc. Clients’ very rarely realise there is this kind of support is available, therefore these provide the ability for the clients to quickly gain vital information which will give them a greater ability to succeed in setting up, and stand a better chance of sustaining a successful business. The sharing of information can provide clients with the resources, knowledge and ability to search and secure employment, training and skills which may in turn increase their chances of success. I have found a local support centre for 18-24 year olds which can provide regular, on-going support which is within a few minutes of the jobcentre and easily accessible for the young clients needing intensive support to prepare for training, education and work. As with the other specialist where I refer, they can offer something I cannot – this results in the client gaining more support than would be available from the NCS – the objective and outcomes can be greatly enhanced for the client.

In the Stratford and Hackney area there are homeless charities which also help with ESOL and basic IT. Most organisations have targets and deadlines – for example we have targets to see a certain about of clients per month, so working closely assists us to meet our target. The JCP want to see their clients enter employment – the employability skills we can assist them with can help speed up this progress, therefore helping the JCP with their targets.

NCS have specialist helpline support providing different language speaking helpline staff, which is a great asset to the service. The trained helpline advisers are knowledgeable to be able to refer and signpost the client for the training and coach in interview skills. All these can be accessed without any restrictions and are available 7 days a week.

The NCS Website has a ‘Skills health Check’ (SHC) which is very popular with all age groups and people from all backgrounds. This tool can help people identify their skills, interests, motivations amongst other areas. The tool assesses the information and leads to the ‘Job Profiles’ where the client explores the job families relating to the results. There is also a free on-line CV builder which at the end the client can forward to NCS to check – a very popular tool as many websites charge for this service.

We face to face advisers are trained to assess the individual needs of clients, utilise open questions and encourage the clients to explore their possible future plans by getting to know themselves, facing area of development and challenging the restrictions they may have built up over time. These specialisms assist the client to open up to broader options and plan their future career. The specialist guidance/ helper facilitate the client to make educated career choices. We can discuss a choice of specialist support and help the client consider their best options for the way forward to help them to achieve their SMART planned goals we create together and outline on their action plan.

I find we are knowledgeable about many career options and training, however by referring or signposting the clients to specialist they can access, progress and achieve their objectives and goals with greater ease gaining the support required.

4. Understand the principles of negotiation

Some of the principles which need to be employed during the career guidance sessions and the building of relations with other providers and organisations are that of negotiation. By accepting that we cannot do everything ourselves, we can see that the Mutual Gains Approach (MGA) could benefit both the organisation and the client in our goals and objectives. The MGA advocates negotiation between partners so that the outcome is a joint consensus building, win-win approach. Different parties can identify shared goals and negotiate ways of working together for their own/ and their clients benefits. This may often lead to creative problem solving and more constructive outcomes than an individual/organisation would have been capable of alone. By building relations with the others involved people can gain understanding and respect of each others and shared goals/expectations, which may lead to considering alternative solutions to achieve the goals. Negotiation can help in the process of problem solving and resolving disputes, however there are key principles in the negotiation process which can contribute to the success of the project. There are great advantages for both the client and the NCS in employing good negotiation skills with partners and other providers – however certain principles need to be understood:

• Look after the interests of all parties

• Research, gather and share information

• Take responsibility

• Trustworthiness

• Build and maintain relationships

Improving skills in negotiating can advance the effectiveness of the NCS for the clients by being able to engage with others who have the skills and specialism to make a win/win situation. The client wins by gaining the information and opportunities they need to progress with their objectives, whilst the NCS and other providers gain by seeing successful outcomes and meeting targets. Problems may arise if people/organisations are not willing to engage, lack trust and honesty with each other, do not take ownership when problems arise and negatively criticise.

5. Be able to collaborate with other agencies for the benefit of clients and the organisation

As advisers we often have follow up appointments to assess how the client is progressing with their objectives and goals. We reflect on the discussion from the initial meeting, discuss how they have progressed, any problems that may have arisen and how they have found the specialist support. At this point we may find out that the course may be full or that they have not found a specialist provider helpful. We can then access and discuss how the client wishes to progress (possible try different colleges or providers). The information is detailed and recorded on their action plan so they can see the progress, goals met and outstanding objectives. The client often feels a sense of achievement and pride. In the JCP the protocol is that the client action plan is shared with the JCP advisers (with the consent of the client) – this is to build good communication and information sharing so if the JCP adviser knows of other specialist help then they can suggest alternatives. Sometimes once the client has investigated their options they actually decide to change the goals as they are now more informed, therefore at this point we can look into other alternative career, course or plan forward. We can help the client build on their experiences and grow in confidence in their own ability to explore and make decisions in the future.

6. Be able to refer clients to sources of specialist support

I also regularly refer to business start-up organisations which are in great demand from clients who are considering becoming self-employed or starting businesses. They run workshops and provided one-to-one support for often between one or two years to provide workshops, advise about tax, websites, networking, marketing etc. The main organisation is Small Business running workshops in Hackney and Stratford for East London. Some of these I can refer direct, whilst others have a contract with the JCP, therefore I have to refer the client back to the JCP adviser and then they in turn refer to the provider. Referring clients back to the Job centre advisor to be referred to organisations can be slow process and client can lose the place for the workshop. These kinds of workshops are quickly booked and period of waiting can be 2-3 months.…...

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