Last updated: 15.05.18

How can digital solutions address training challenges and encourage positive behaviour change?

Safeguarding training challenges come in various forms, whether it’s deciding the type of training to deliver, how to measure impact and most importantly, if changes are being made on the back of it. I think most L&D professionals will agree that it is vital that learning and development objectives are clear and encourage positive behavioural change, which in turn help deliver organisational goals.

Setting the scene

Let’s take a look at some of the high level issues facing safeguarding professionals today:

  • The volume of issues being dealt with and their diversity and complexity is becoming more vast; such as sexual exploitation, FGM and neglect.
  • Positive behaviour changes to frontline professionals is an indication of effective training and development. Within all safeguarding roles it is vital for professionals to not only continue to safeguard vulnerable children and adults, but to develop their skills on a continuous basis, not only by refreshing their training but by building on their existing knowledge.
  • Practitioners do not feel confident to address safeguarding issues. It is vital to reduce the number of cases slipping through the radar because individuals are unsure what to ‘label’, i.e. neglect, abuse, sexual exploitation to attach to each case and refer in the most effective manner. There is huge pressure on resources available to tackle some of these challenges; namely budgets, volume of people needing protection and cultural diversity in the UK which, is widespread and continuously evolving.

Defining the changes required

Many organisations that have a duty to safeguard need to understand the changes that need to take place throughout their level, at all levels, so that real changes in behaviour can be made.

  • What knowledge do they need and how can this be personalised to the individual?
  • What help is required to enable practices to be changed – how can we support safeguarding professionals to adopt practices which generate greater success?

Choosing the right partnership

Establishing a relationship with a training provider to help with training challenges is a good first step. Finding the synergy to confidently and sensitively manage complex training challenges, to push learning and development boundaries and help highlight the issue that needs to be communicated, in the most appropriate way, is also a key ingredient. This is where the longstanding partnership between Central Bedfordshire and Virtual College flourished.

The objective

Debbie Crawford, Head of Academy of Social Work and Early Intervention, has been responsible for ensuring efficient and effective delivery of staff L&D and aspiring leadership across Central Bedfordshire for 18 years. More recently Debbie has undertaken strategic leadership responsibility for shared safeguarding training arrangements across Bedfordshire through the Pan Bedfordshire Training Unit. Debbie’s role allows her to continuously approach training goals with a unique perspective to support the development of the whole of the Children’s Workforce.

When Debbie approached Virtual College with her concern around referrals for neglect within Bedfordshire, it was clear that this challenge required a unique approach to training for staff at all levels.

“Neglect is often picked up as a secondary factor in Serious Case Reviews (SCRs), my role has been to sit down with my team and understand why this is the case”– Debbie

The goal was to create behaviour change throughout Bedfordshire which will ultimately lead to:

  • An increase in early referrals for neglect within Bedfordshire (in turn reduce the volume of neglect as a secondary factor in case audits and SCRs).
  • For front line professionals to increase their understanding and ability to identify signs of neglect.
  • Empowering practitioners to feel comfortable to refer without having to commit a professional label.

Consulting with Virtual College

L&D professionals are often faced with the challenge of choosing the right solution for their training delivery. A plethora of ideas seems like the ideal solution for some, for Debbie it was quite the opposite. In need for some direction towards her end goal she opted for a consultation with Virtual College to discuss her thoughts around neglect training.

“The consultancy session was a very valuable experience, the creative team took my blurb, my views and my thoughts and they sequenced them. Whilst I knew what I wanted to achieve and what the workforce need to know, I didn’t know what I needed to do in the middle to get them from A to B. Virtual College are the experts when it comes to e-learning, they know how to take an idea forward to achieve the desired outcome.”– Debbie

During the consultancy process, we not only aim to identify training needs, but use these to complete a training needs analysis. This then helps to identify the learning objectives and offer a solution based on the most appropriate pedagogy. The consultation is a collaborative activity; we work alongside you to establish answers to key questions such as: what behaviour changes need to take place? How will we know when we’ve solved the problem? What information is required to meet the end goal?

A pedagogical approach is aligned with the desired outcome for the course. The sensitivity of the topic of neglect meant that the proposed outcome for a change in behaviour (namely an increase in earlier referrals for neglect) had to be communicated in a powerful way. A video based 30 minute e-learning course was suggested for which our Graphic Design Team created the following mock-up to help Debbie visualise the concept of the suggested e-learning course.

“We’ve had training and conferences around the topic but, they only touch on neglect and are often approached from a worst case scenario perspective. The bespoke e-learning solution will allow us to approach this from a best case scenario perspective.”– Debbie


Virtual College works closely with clients to ensure their training challenges are addressed and objectives are met. We create bespoke solutions for a wide range of organisations across the UK and internationally. If you’re interested in finding out more, get in touch.