CHSWG guidance publishedPublished Date: 27 Nov 2019
Last week NHS England and NHS Improvement published new Guidance for Children’s Hearing Services Working Groups (CHSWGs). This new guidance was written by us with the involvement of families from across England.
CHSWGs have been around in one form or another for the last 20 years. They are multi-disciplinary and multi-agency groups with professionals, funders of services, and parents of deaf children who all work together to ensure local services across health, education, social care and the voluntary sector meet the needs of local families and are of the best quality. We have been involved in CHSWGs from the early days with many groups having a member of the National Deaf Children’s Society staff on them. We also run courses for parents and support them to be able to actively contribute in local groups. When CHSWGs work well they can really help professionals to work more collaboratively, improve the experiences of families using services, and meet duties to improve outcomes for deaf children. But the quality of CHSWGs nationally is highly variable and in some places the groups have ceased to exist.
This new guidance aims to meet many of the needs that local CHSWGs have been asking for our support with. It shows how CHSWGs fit in with current quality standards and the national policy environment. It will help existing CHSWGs strengthen what they do and where areas don’t have a CHSWG it explains why they should. The guidance has been written so that it is accessible to all members of local CHSWGs and we’ve included:
- Case-studies that demonstrate good practice in action
- Guidance on involving young people and parents in CHSWGs
- Example documents that services might like to use – terms of reference, letters and flyers to parents, a glossary, and a template annual report.
In future we should be able to request copies of the CHSWG annual report and get comprehensive data on the services represented along with outcomes for deaf children in their area. Together, this will help families with deaf children better hold services to account.
This is what some parents have said about their participation in their local CHSWG:
“In my experience, virtually every one of the service professionals and voluntary sector officers I have encountered in my 8 years on the CHSWG has been dedicated, qualified and keen to do the best job they could. Everyone really is on the same page, and the CHSWG helps them work together as a team more effectively. I have felt privileged to know these professionals, and to see the excellent work they are always trying to do. They have been unfailingly patient and supportive, explaining their acronyms and shorthand and always respecting my views as a parent.”
Ellen Purton, Parent Representative, Richmond CHSWG
“I feedback about local services via the CHSWG and feel that changes have happened as a direct result of my work with the group.”
Parent of a deaf child
You can find the new guidance here.
The CHSWG guidance forms one of a series of guides produced to help deliver the recommendations in the Government’s Action Plan on Hearing Loss (2015).
Services can download an audit tool to help them monitor how well they are doing implementing the new guidance here.
You can find information on our work supporting new and existing parent members of CHSWGs here.