Case Studies


Knowsley’s Safeguarding Children Board is the statutory organisation responsible for agreeing how services and agencies work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children borough-wide. Members include organisations and individuals from the statutory, voluntary, community and faith sectors in this part of Merseyside.

The Board sees partnership-working as critical both in child protection work with families and in the development of quality links between all agencies involved in the process.  They are responsible for inter-agency training locally.

The Challenge

Part of that inter-agency implementation in Knowsley took the form of a “Working Together to Safeguard Children” course – based on the principles and government guidance contained in the 2010 document of that name. This is a mandatory, multi-agency course for a variety of staff such as social workers, health visitors, Family Crime Investigation Unit (FCIU) police officers and agency child protection coordinators. It is recommended too for all practitioners who attend child protection case conferences.

The Training Co-ordinator who acted as the key facilitator had recently left, and because the programme was designed to be delivered by two trainers, co-facilitating, the departure of this member of staff left a gap. There was a high demand for training which had to be addressed, especially for this particular course.

A vital factor in determining next steps for this LSCB, centred on the desire for the identity and format of their training programme to remain consistent. They specifically needed a training provider who wouldn’t push their own agenda.

The Athena Solution

We provided a trainer who could run with the “Working Together to Safeguard Children” programme and yet bring a fresh energy to the facilitation.

Our trainer met with some of the current co-trainers to discuss the programme and how they would like it to be delivered. We were able to suggest different exercises that complemented the existing material and provide an independent perspective to delivery. We were able to work with different co-trainers at short notice to ensure the programme was delivered to meet the required learning outcomes set by the customer.

The Outcome

Glenys Hurst-Robson, Children’s Workforce Strategy Manager said: “I sourced North West Inter-Agency Training Group for an approved training provider. I knew that The Athena Programme had already been through our robust tendering process.

What I found exciting about the company was Sarah Goodall’s profile as winner of the North West Business Awards in the category of Best Start up Business. I knew the short-listing process for this award was challenging and so felt confident that Athena was a strong and solid company.

There was very positive feedback on the original evaluation forms. I was able to prove to the Board the cost-effectiveness of bringing in an external trainer which enabled us to make savings on the expense of employing a full-time trainer.

There has been a marked increase in the confidence of our co-facilitators as a result of them having the opportunity to experience different styles of delivery and the use of creative methods. This has given momentum around developing our training pool and moving the training programme forward.

I also found it exciting that The Athena Programme was able to send a Creative Facilitator who could pick up and run with our established course. The trainer came in and worked with our material with ease. Athena brought their own individual style and approach and managed to blend new methods of delivery to produce the optimum learning results we expect from our course. I have had great feedback from the co-facilitators who have worked with Athena’s trainer.

I feel that our training programme has been refreshed having a co-facilitator from an independent source. Working with Athena has consolidated the move forward to continue the delivery of our training programme with a new perspective.”