We are aware of an access issue and are currently working to resolve it with Microsoft. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Users will be notified via email when it has been resolved

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

Why is Professional Choices being introduced?

Professional Choices is one of the initiatives committed to in the Children’s Trust Children and Young People Plan (CYPP). In the latest Ofsted inspection it was highlighted that information flow between professionals and partner groups was inefficient and slow. Professional Choices will enable professionals to share information instantly and securely, track progress and ensure there is a single version of the truth – ultimately benefiting the children involved with a more joined up service across agencies.

What is the process of checking the validity of new people registering? Who checks their legitimacy?

All new users have to register on the site by completing the registration form. All details from here are then checked by a variety of verification methods by the central administration. The verification process has been reviewed and signed off by the Information Governance and ICT teams to ensure they meet the required security checks.

The access to the meeting rooms is controlled by the lead professional allocated to that room. They are the only people with the ability and responsibility to control who can interact with that meeting room and the level of access any individuals have.  

I can’t register online. Who do I contact?

If you experiencing problems whilst trying to register please contact professionalchoicesadmin@somerset.gov.uk 

Is registration compulsory

No, you can still access the early help assessment documents without registrations, but you will need to be registered and log in to access the virtual meeting rooms and ‘who’s who’ directory. 

 

Who’s Who Directory

Who updates the Who’s Who?

It is the responsibility of individuals to ensure that their contact information and details are up to date. We do however recognise that under certain circumstances i.e. if someone changes job etc. that it will not be possible for this to happen.
Therefore a report will be run every quarter to our key contacts in each service area for them to review and report back any updates. This will help to ensure that the directory is kept up to date.
To assist in keeping the integrity of the data intact, any changes that are made directly on the site will be logged and sent into a central administration team to approve or reject. Although this is a manual process currently, we will be looking to automate in the future.

Which professionals can I find on the Who’s Who?

Below is a list of the current professionals on the site. This is still a work in progress and we are in the process of encouraging others to add their details to this directory.

Agency Role
Acute Trust Midwife
Avon and Somerset Police Neighbourhood Beat Managers
Police and Community Support Officer (PCSO)
CAMHS Operational Manager for CAMHS East
Operational Manager for CAMHS West
Primary Mental Health Linkworker
Children’s Social Care, Somerset County Council Assessment Team Social Worker
Children Looked After Social Worker
Safeguarding Social Worker
District Council Area Community Manager
Area Community Manger
Deputy Safeguarding Lead
For the homeless or risk of homelessness in Taunton Deane
Safeguarding Lead
Getset Deputy Early Help Officer (DEHO)
Early Help Officer (EHO)
Family Support Worker (FSW)
Family Support Worker (FSW)
Family Support Worker (FSW)
Play Worker
Service Manager
Homes in Sedgemoor Assistant Director Neighbourhoods
Neighbourhood Manager
Knightstone Housing Assistant Director Supported Housing
Community Empowerment Team
Housing Manager Tenancy & Estate Services
Individual Empowerment Team
Magna West Somerset Community Services Manager
Tenant Advisor
School Parent & Family Support Adviser (PFSA)
SHAL Housing Operations Director
SIDAS Family Intervention Worker
Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA)
YPVA (Young Person Violence Adviser)
Somerset Partnership Health Visitor
Occupational Health Therapist – Integrated Therapy Service
Physiotherapist – Integrated Therapy Service
School Nurse
Speech and Language Therapist – Integrated Therapy Service
Support Services for Education (SSE), SCC Administrative Assistant
Apprentice
Business Support Assistant
Education Safeguarding Advisor
Education Welfare Officer
Educational Psychologist
Learning Support Service (LSS) Lead Teacher
Learning Support Service (LSS) Team Leader
Project Support Assistant
Senior Business Support Assistant
Traveller Education Advisor Early Years Worker
Traveller Education Advisory Teacher
Traveller Education Support Workers
Yarlington Housing Community Safety Manager

If you would like to add yourself or colleagues to this list there is an “add new entry” button within the Who’s Who.
If you would like us to upload multiple entries in bulk on your behalf please contact the admin team on professionalchoicesadmin@somerset.gov.uk and we will let you know what information we need from you.

How do I change my details within the Who's Who?

With your details on the screen, click on the ‘Edit’ icon. A pop up window will appear where you can edit your details. Once saved, the changes made will need to be accepted by the admin team. This could take up to 3 working days to complete.
Please note: if you are using Google Chrome as your browser you will not be able to edit your details at present due to a technical issue. Please exit and log in using Internet Explorer.
If you have any issues or questions at any time, please contact the administration team at professionalchoicesadmin@somerset.gov.uk 

What is the process of removing staff who are on longer in post?

It is the responsibility of the various service areas to ensure they keep their information up to date. If people leave then anyone can notify, edit or remove the individuals’ data which will then come to the central administration team to approve the change.

We also have key contacts in each service area and every quarter we will download and send a full report to them. At this point they can then review all the data that is currently on the system for their area and notify us of any changes.

 

The Early Help Assessment (EHA)

What are the benefits of the new EHA?

The new EHA replaces 43 referral forms (although some will remain in use i.e. SIDAS and SDAS). This reduces the amount of paperwork and ultimately means a quicker less complicated process.
The new Practitioner Guide provides valuable advice on how to complete an EHA. This ensures that the quality of the information given prevents duplication and the risk of having to start the process again.
The new process also works seamlessly with Professional Choices and the new Virtual Meeting Room function which also encourages multi agency collaboration.

Which forms is the new EHA replacing?

Following the review of the Early Help Assessment process the forms now included within the new EHA are below. For further guidance on completing the new EHA please view the new Practitioners Guide.

Children’s Social Care Common Request for Involvement (CRIF)
Children’s Social Care/Children with Disabilities Referral for The Children’s Autism Outreach Team
Children’s Social Care/Children with Disabilities Short Break Team Support request
Children’s Social Care/Children with Disabilities Somerset Supporter Scheme Referral and Contract Form
getset getset Additional Support Level 1 & 2 Service
getset getset Complex Support Level 3 Service (CRIF)
Public Health – Healthy eating / physical activity / healthy weight Somerset Zing Health Professional Referral for Family / Child & Young People Lifestyle Course
Somerset Partnership/CAMHS CAMHS request for involvement
Somerset Partnership/Integrated Therapy Service Integrated Therapy Service Referral Form
SSE/Ethnic Minority & Traveller Education Somerset Ethnic Minority Achievement EAL Referral Form
SSE/Ethnic Minority & Traveller Education Traveller Education Service Pupil Referrals
SSE/SEN Support Services Area Multi-Agency Referral/Consent Form
SSE/SEN Support Services Early Years Area SENCO Team Parent/Carers Consent Form
SSE/SEN Support Services Hearing Support Team Referral Form
SSE/SEN Support Services MAISEY referral/consent form
SSE/SEN Support Services Physical and Medical Support Team Initial Referral Form
SSE/SEN Support Services Request for Involvement with the Autism and Communication Service
SSE/SEN Support Services Somerset Vision Support Team Referral Form
SSE/SEN Support Services Time Together Referral Form
SSE/SEN Support Services Special Educational Needs Assistive Technology Advisory Service (SENATAS) referral form
SSE/SEN Support Services Vulnerable Learners Parent/Carers Consent Form
Vulnerable Young People/Targeted Youth Service Targeted Youth Support request for support
Vulnerable Young People/Young Carer’s Project Young carers project referral form

Can I still use the old forms?

Although we are advising that the new form should be used the old forms are still available while we are phasing in this new process. We expect all forms will be fully replaced by November 2016. For further guidance on completing the new EHA please view the new Practitioners Guide.

Does the new EHA replace the Common Request for Involvement Form (CRIF)?

Yes – all information formally collected through the Common Request for Involvement Form (CRIF) is now collected through the new Early Help Assessment form (EHA).
If you need any help and support completing this new EHA please phone the Early Help Advice Hub on 01823 355803

I have some specific questions regarding a case / EHA I am involved with, who do I contact?

In the first instance contact the lead professional and/or telephone the Early Help Advice Hub on 01823 355803.

 

Virtual Meeting Rooms (VMR)

What is a Virtual Meeting Room (VMR)?

The Virtual Meeting Room function is where documents can be shared securely and updated instantly by more than one person. A dynamic Action Plan can also be created to enable the tracking of tasks and actions. Reminders can be set and sent so that deadlines can’t be missed and issues raised and highlighted in-between review meetings to reduce delays in any other action being taken. As a result less time is wasted by chasing any outstanding information and will make the whole process much more streamlined which is good news for everyone!

Will the Virtual Meeting Rooms (VMR) replace the Team Around the Child meetings?

No. The current Team Around the Child (TAC) process must still continue as they currently do. Documentation has been updated through the new Early Help Assessment process but the way in which the TAC works has not been changed.
The Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) is designed to be an enhancement to the process to support the work being completed by multi-agencies. They should not replace the meeting themselves.
For more information on how the VMRs can support the TAC meeting or other multi agency meetings you have please contact the admin team on professionalchoicesadmin@somerset.gov.uk 

What stops me accessing other VMRs that other colleagues have created?

The only VMRs that will be visible on your dashboard will be the ones that you have either created or are invited to. If you need to gain access to another VMR, please contact the lead professional responsible for the room and request an invite.

Can I modify the notifications I receive in a VMR?

As a lead professional you can set up and customise the alert settings for a particular room. If you are an invited member you can only alter the alerts for your own preferences. For further guidance on how to change your notification settings please refer to the online user guides.
If you have any issues or questions at any time, please contact the administration team at professionalchoicesadmin@somerset.gov.uk 

Why can't the VMR be 'mothballed' in case the work with a child needs to be picked up again in the future and the notes and documents from the 'closed' case would be highly relevant?

Professional Choices and the Virtual Meeting Rooms are not designed to be a permanent store of information or to replace any current case management systems / methods currently used. When a case closes it is the professionals’ responsibility to remove/download all relevant information from that meeting room to be stored on their own relevant files.

Once the meeting room is closed, all information will be permanently deleted and cannot be recovered.

If a case is reopened, or future work with that child is required then it would be expected that any previous work would be captured within their case files as per the standard information retention policies.  

How do I invite someone who isn’t a member of Professional Choices to a VMR?

For security reasons only registered members can be invited and join a VMR. If you wish to invite a non-registered professional please ask them to register on the site by visiting www.professionalchoices.org.uk and clicking on ‘Register Now’.
They can follow the onscreen instructions and complete the registration form. Their request will then be submitted and application processed. Please note that the expected turnaround time will be 2 working days.

There is a problem with the VMR, who do I contact?

If you are the lead professional please contact professionalchoicesadmin@somerset.gov.uk for technical assistance and user support.
If you are a guest please contact the lead professional so they can report the problem or help you direct.