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Signs of Safety


Thurrock has adopted Signs of Safety as our way of working with families because this is helping to support us to achieve the type of service that children, young people, parents and carers have told us they want. Best practice is child-focused, solution-orientated, and respectful and inclusive of families, and this is what we want to achieve through adopting Signs of Safety.


  1. What’s working well? 
  2. What are we worried about?
  3. What needs to happen?

Safety/Wellbeing Scale – After completing what is working well, what we are worried about and what needs to happen, family members and agencies are asked on a scale of 0 to 10, where they rate the situation right now.

Danger/Worries Statements & Safety/Wellbeing Goals - These are compiled with agencies and families to clearly state what the current risks are and what it will look like for the children to be safe. They are used to help shift thinking from the future we worry about to the future we want to create


Signs of Safety is much more than a three column map. Signs of Safety for Thurrock means:

  • we listen to what the children say
  • we place high value on the quality of relationships we have with, families, carers and each other
  • we think critically and never assume we have all the answers
  • we work with families collaboratively to help them find their own solutions
  • we use plain language that families can readily understand
  • we balance optimism with curiosity so that we assess risk rigorously


We use Signs of Safety to help children and young people talk about things that go well in their family as well as things that worry them.  We try to use different methods to help children tell us how we can keep them safe

Delivering Signs of Safety in Thurrock means driving continuous improvement in four key themes:

  • Leadership: Modelling behaviours; "Inquire before require"; appreciative inquiry; driving change
  • Learning: Formal, self-directed and collaborative learning experiences; tools for reflective practice; group supervision; audit; multiagency
  • Organisational alignment: Recording, processes and policies align to SOS ethos, principles and disciplines; targeted work based on data/audit/feedback
  • Meaningful measures: Data, QA, feedback from staff, children and families

Children and families say: We will know that we have fully embedded Signs of Safety in Thurrock when:

 They are getting the right help at the right time

  • They understand why services are involved and find them helpful
  • Involvement of their own network in plans ensures changes made are maintained through long-standing support

 Practitioners say:

 They are undertaking direct work that empowers families to keep children safe and well looked after

  • Only the right children are taken into care and where this is necessary the outcomes for children are good
  • They have the right working conditions that means they have time to do good quality work with children, parents/carers and their support network

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