Relational Practice: Session Six Blog

Information and Overview

For the final session we focused on celebrating participants’ progress over the course of the programme and reflecting on what helped and sometimes hindered relational practice in the various projects across all of the organisations.

To refresh our collective memory of the learning programme, we started off with a highlights reel, which you can see below. This led us to ask people to reflect on the changes they had experienced and unexpected developments as they progressed over the last 12 months. Building on Nick Andrew’s input on Most Significant Change from the previous session, we invited people to select one story that felt most significant to them and helped describe the impact of their work. Some participants highlighted shared commitments across multiple agencies towards working together relationally, re-establishing links between young people and professionals who had been significant to them in the past, improvements in organisational culture and some of the events they had undertaken, such as a trip to the seaside with a group of care experienced young parents, celebrations of Ramadan with unaccompanied asylum seeking young people, or sending out the first baby boxes to care experienced young parents.



We then reflected on the barriers people had come up against and what had enabled progress. One of the key challenges across many projects were around staffing, with issues highlighted both about recruitment and consistency, as key professionals left projects or partnerships that had been developed. As the year had moved on, some organisations had also had to shift priorities away from their project, or lost out on funding. Some organisations found that they had started off with objectives that were too broad and needed to narrow the focus to better align with the realities in their organisation. Keeping partners and young people engaged throughout the projects had proven challenging for some organisations too.

Factors that enabled success were as follows:

  • A shared commitment to working together, with a culture to challenge safely, consistent attendance in meetings, and eagerness to work in partnership.
  • Co-location or joint training with colleagues.
  • External funding.
  • Organisational culture – senior leadership buy-in giving permission to teams to commit to time out.
  • Capturing memories to give something to share and talk about.
  • Positive feedback from young people.
  • Having fun together (in a way that’s transferable to working with young people).
  • Make it personal for everyone in the system, e.g. by enabling young people to reconnect with some of those carers that had an impact.
  • Changing the environment, e.g. taking group out into a park and doing an activity together.

The next part of the session looked ahead to the coming 12 months and how we can sustain and share what we’ve learned. To this extent, we invited participants to reflect on where they are now in relation to their project and where they want to be in a year’s time. We introduced them to the below image to stimulate discussion:

People identified which roles they were in and where they wanted to be in the future. This led to explorations about how they might be able to get there and what might need adapting / changing. The reflections also highlighted the importance of empathy with other professionals and understanding the challenges they might be encountering, which might prevent them from engaging as fully as hoped.

This led us to exploring what each participant and their organisation were hoping to take forward from the programme:


Finally, we reflected how the programme had helped and what would have made it even better. Key considerations were around the length of the programme and the voice of young people. We hope that the insights from this programme will continue to inspire the programme participants and spread beyond to other organisations. These insights can contribute to recent policy developments, particularly around ‘Stable Homes Built on Love’. We will be hosting a series of learning events over the coming months.