March 10, 2021 Blogs, Vlogs, and Webinars, Learning and Reflections Resource Tackling Child Exploitation Support Programme: What to expect from a Bespoke Support Project By Ellie Fairgrieve, Leanne Dagger The Tackling Child Exploitation (TCE) Support Programme is often asked: ‘what is required of an individual/agency/partnership to engage in a Bespoke Support Project (BSP)? What are the time commitments and expectations? What might a BSP ‘look like’?’ In this blog, we try to answer these questions. The TCE Support Programme works with local areas and partnerships at a strategic level to enhance responses to child exploitation and extra-familial harm. One of the ways we do this is through a BSP – a time-limited, focused project tailored to local context and need. A support offer, as the name suggests, is bespoke, so can vary widely, but all consist of three stages: scoping, delivery and learning (explained below). It’s really important to emphasise the underpinning approach of how the TCE Support Programme works with local areas and partnerships. We take a strengths-based, relational approach: high-support, high-challenge, high-expectation. Whilst this can lead to challenging conversations, it can also result in more honest and transparent partnership working, as this quote from a BSP participant illustrates: ‘There is now a better understanding of where agencies are in terms of responding to the challenges that are emerging…I think we have moved from, ‘We could do something if they did something’, to, ‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’ Scoping We begin by setting out and agreeing parameters for joint working. The TCE Support Programme team have between 7-10 days for each BSP across a number of months. Clarifying expectations in terms of input and resource both from the team and the local area or partnership to ensure optimum use of the time available is an important first step. Partnerships are requested to consider and actively discuss their local landscape: knowledge of the local area, the coalition of partners and strengths and limitations of each. These considerations help the partnership to understand and share with the TCE Support Programme what is within, or indeed outside of their sphere of influence. Subsequently, these considerations will begin to form the BSP project plan and goals. The scoping phase allows partnerships to come together to critically reflect on local challenges and identify potential solutions, resulting in a co-produced ‘change goal’ for the BSP. Local area participants highlight the importance of creating space for these conversations to happen, described as being a key strength, as the following quote illustrates: ‘I think the support that we received from the TCE Support Programme was excellent, we were encouraged to think more widely as to how were could tackle the problem of exploitation in our area.’ Delivery A huge benefit of being bespoke is that we are able to work with each area or partnership to design an approach to delivery that suits the local context1. Depending on the aims of the project and session, this could be a workshop/ larger partnership meeting or smaller, more regular single/multi-agency meetings. Not every objective requires a meeting to progress, and we are increasingly working with partner’s ‘offline’ (outside of virtual meetings), with focused activity either in place of, or in between larger delivery sessions. Alternatively, a local area or partnership might identify the need for a particular resource, such as a briefing or evidence-informed tool that the TCE Support Programme are able to commission. Learning At the end of each BSP, a Project Learning Report is co-produced by the local area/partnership and TCE team to promote and enable cross-sector learning. These reports draw out key strategic issues linked to child exploitation and extra-familial harm from the project and flag transferable learning for other local areas. To help support sustainable change, partnerships are asked to co-produce and agree a local action plan as the project closes. We also welcome and encourage continued relationships with the TCE Support Programme for partnerships to inform future BSP delivery and to engage in other work that can be found on our TCE website. Express your interest We are currently inviting expressions of interest (EOI) to work with us on the next round of BSPs. EOIs need to be submitted by 1 April; projects will take place between April-July. If you are interested in finding out more about working with TCE Support Programme or submitting and expression of interest, contact Ellie Fairgrieve, Head of Delivery (Ellie.Fairgrieve@childrenssociety.org.uk). 1 At the moment, all delivery is happening virtually using Microsoft teams.