Surrey Appreciative Inquiry and Learning (SAIL)

Many working in the public and voluntary sectors long to help children, young people and families as soon as a problem occurs, before they move into crisis, and are frustrated by the silos which prevent us serving them in the way we want. We need to find a new, holistic and inter-agency way of working to offer children and families the service they need.

It’s important that we listen to families more and find ways of responding as a system, not just an individual agency, and to customise our services and responses to meet each individual’s needs. Across Surrey, we are working with organisations on a mission to create major systems change, to break down operating silos across the sector and to transform multi-agency delivery.

SAIL

Since 2015, multiple agencies in the Plymouth area have been developing some new ways of working, building on an approach called Appreciative Inquiry (AI). Using the AI approach, they have successfully addresses many of the issues experienced by the sector to achieve system change. We believe that the Plymouth’s methods could be extremely beneficial in Surrey and we are keen to support implementation here.

With financial support from Jamma International, Surrey Youth Focus organised a number of masterclasses for professionals in late 2020 to learn more about this approach. These were delivered by Gary Wallace, Former Director for Public Health Plymouth. Since then, we have continued to roll out further sessions based on Gary’s material in order to reach more professionals and build momentum for the approach.

Surrey Appreciative Inquiry and Learning (SAIL)

Many working in the public and voluntary sectors long to help children, young people and families as soon as a problem occurs, before they move into crisis, and are frustrated by the silos which prevent us serving them in the way we want. We need to find a new, holistic and inter-agency way of working to offer children and families the service they need.

It’s important that we listen to families more and find ways of responding as a system, not just an individual agency, and to customise our services and responses to meet each individual’s needs. Across Surrey, we are working with organisations on a mission to create major systems change, to break down operating silos across the sector and to transform multi-agency delivery.

Since 2015, multiple agencies in the Plymouth area have been developing some new ways of working, building on an approach called Appreciative Inquiry (AI). Using the AI approach, they have successfully addresses many of the issues experienced by the sector to achieve system change. We believe that the Plymouth’s methods could be extremely beneficial in Surrey and we are keen to support implementation here.

With financial support from Jamma International, Surrey Youth Focus organised a number of masterclasses for professionals in late 2020 to learn more about this approach. These were delivered by Gary Wallace, Former Director for Public Health Plymouth. Since then, we have continued to roll out further sessions based on Gary’s material in order to reach more professionals and build momentum for the approach.

For those with previous experience of Appreciative Inquiry, please note that the techniques used by teams in Plymouth differ from other implementations of Appreciative Inquiry. We are particularly attracted by the simplicity of the approach, which we believe will help us to embed it here in Surrey. In contrast to traditional AI which typically seeks out only the positive, Plymouth’s techniques do ask ‘negative’ questions, such as “Tell me about a bad day”. For this reason, we have decided to refer to this approach as Surrey Appreciative Inquiry and Learning (SAIL).

In most cases, the solution to improving situations for individuals and groups rarely focuses on one single thing, but rather a combination of different things. The SAIL approach supports this change by working across every level of the system – reaching end users, families, communities, professionals, commissioners, service teams and more.

For those with previous experience of Appreciative Inquiry, please note that the techniques used by teams in Plymouth differ from other implementations of Appreciative Inquiry. We are particularly attracted by the simplicity of the approach, which we believe will help us to embed it here in Surrey. In contrast to traditional AI which typically seeks out only the positive, Plymouth’s techniques do ask ‘negative’ questions, such as “Tell me about a bad day”. For this reason, we have decided to refer to this approach as Surrey Appreciative Inquiry and Learning (SAIL).

In most cases, the solution to improving situations for individuals and groups rarely focuses on one single thing, but rather a combination of different things. The SAIL approach supports this change by working across every level of the system – reaching end users, families, communities, professionals, commissioners, service teams and more.

“SAIL is about getting to the heart of an individual’s lived experience by collecting stories in the first person. This allows practitioners to draw out themes and reveal the information that agencies need in order to offer targeted and appropriate assistance. The more that we can understand about someone’s life, the more opportunity we have to find ways to make a difference.”

Cate Newnes-Smith, Surrey Youth Focus

“SAIL is about getting to the heart of an individual’s lived experience by collecting stories in the first person. This allows practitioners to draw out themes and reveal the information that agencies need in order to offer targeted and appropriate assistance. The more that we can understand about someone’s life, the more opportunity we have to find ways to make a difference.”

Cate Newnes-Smith, Surrey Youth Focus

Want to find out more?

We are running regular workshops to help share the Surrey Appreciative Inquiry and Learning approach with organisations working across Surrey. If you are interested in attending our next workshop, please contact us.

We are currently testing the techniques we have learnt from Plymouth, taking a “temperature check” of how children and young people are feeling as we start to come out of lockdown. We will keep you posted with our progress.

Contact us

Want to find out more?

We are running regular workshops to help share the Surrey Appreciative Inquiry and Learning approach with organisations working across Surrey. If you are interested in attending our next workshop, please contact us.

We are currently testing the techniques we have learnt from Plymouth, taking a “temperature check” of how children and young people are feeling as we start to come out of lockdown. We will keep you posted with our progress.

Contact us