Family Group Conference Service (FGC)

Family Group Conferences (FGC) are family-led decision-making approaches that empower families, and their wider support networks of friends and carers, to find solutions to areas of need.  The adult accessing the service is enabled to participate fully in the process and express their views.  A crucial strength is that family members are the experts about their own situation and when professionals can work with and support this strength, we are more likely to achieve a good outcome.  Empowering families to work together to find solutions can have long-term benefits for individuals.

Feedback is gained after every FGC.  So far, it has been consistently positive from the people using our service. The service has also benefitted from local and national research evaluation and has received awards recognising the positive impact a family group conference can have on the lives of service users and their networks.

We currently offer the FGC process in the following areas:
• care planning and decision making
• isolation and homelessness
• managing emerging adult safeguarding concerns
• support planning

How the meetings work

The FGC co-ordinator supports the adults accessing EPUT services to identify who needs to be involved in their conference. The adult chooses the information that needs to be shared and the issues that need to be addressed.  If there are any risks identified, the conference agenda must address these concerns and the people invited need to be able to inform and support the prevention of these risks.

The FGC coordinator may need to help the adult accessing the service with identifying and supporting network building, and to support this network to identify concerns and consider how to discuss these together effectively.

The FGC Meeting:
This is held in three parts-

  1. Information Sharing: Professionals are invited to the first part of the meeting to share information, ideas and advice on the plans going forward.  The adult, their family, friends and the professionals talk together to discuss the areas agreed prior to the meeting.  This helps everyone to better understand the situation from all sides, builds a wider understanding throughout the network and opens up support and ideas.
  2. Private Time: Family/friends have time away from the professionals to agree how their plans will work within their personal situation and how these can be supported by the family group.  The FGC coordinator ensures information is provided by the professionals to enable the adult accessing the service and their family group make plans and decisions during this time.
  3. Validate the Plan: The FGC coordinator and care coordinator/referrer of the adult accessing the service return to listen to the plan, to help make sure it is comprehensive and to validate it.  The agreed plan is signed by the adult accessing the service and their care coordinator after the meeting. Review FGC meetings can be agreed at this stage too.

Signing and reviewing the family plan
The plan is given to the care coordinator to monitor and make the referrals requested.

Possible Outcomes:

  • Enables informed discussions between the adult accessing the service, their family/network and the professionals involved.
  • Helps to reorganise or connect the adult accessing the service with a network of mutual support, opportunity and/or protection.
  • Can help resolve some relationship issues that may be getting in the way of forming an effective support network.
  • Can bring together networks that have been fragmented/overstressed/or have become confused.
  • Decreases stress placed on the network of the adult accessing the service.
  • Increases understanding of strengths and needs between individuals across the whole system.

Referral

This service is open to all service users accessing EPUT services.

Where service is based

Mental Health FGC Service for Adults
Chelmsford and Essex Centre
New London Rd
Chelmsford
CM2 0QH

Hours of operation

We offer flexible appointments in the community.

How to contact service

We welcome calls to discuss if this service is suitable for your needs:
Telephone 01245 315233
Email epunft.mhfgc@nhs.net
Team Manager: Lyndsey Taylor