Tayside Pilot - Connor Goes Swimming

Service improvement aims

Morag Dorward, the Children and Young People Allied Health Professional Lead for NHS Tayside, organised the first pilot site for Connor Goes Swimming.  Her service was already transforming the way it managed referrals and she saw Connor Goes Swimming as key to: 

  • helping stakeholder colleagues understand and adapt to the new ways of working
  • involving families and voluntary sector colleagues in conversations about how services were changing and what it would mean to them
  • developing staff skills in building the kind of relationships with families that support service transformation.

The pilot group

The pilot group was made up of six organisations (see below).  They had a three day preparation training – the first two days in May and then a follow up day six weeks later.

  • Parent to Parent – Head of Service and Operations Manager
  • NHS Tayside – Health Behaviour Change Coordinator, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Speech and Language Therapist
  • PAMIS – key worker
  • Dundee City Council – Senior Officer
  • Champion’s Board – Care Experienced Young People’s Coordinator
  • Action for Sick Children Scotland – Area Officer

The aim of the preparation training is to get people to the point where they have the confidence and skill to start using the approach and techniques with individuals and groups to meet a local need.


Members of the group are now applying the Tool in different ways according to local needs.  For the key worker from Pamis, it’s offered a way to open up conversations with parents about their own expertise so that they may feel more confident about referring to it in interactions with professionals.

It’s been very useful to explore how this training can be used within our existing work.  I’ve found it really complements our PAMIS Empowering Conversations programme.  The group of parents I tried it out with are keen to do more.

The managers from Parent to Parent have used the Tool during team meetings.

We realised how hard it is to remain impartial as facilitators.  It’s important to keep an open mind and not to make assumptions.  Even when you have a small group, the activities provoke so much discussion.  So facilitation takes a lot more time than we anticipated.  The team really liked the opportunity to hear and listen to everyone’s feelings even if they were different from their own buy generic viagra nz.

The Tool is being used within the Champions Board work to support conversations between children, young people and key stakeholders about their experience of services and what’s important to them.  Two of the Speech and Language Therapists teamed up with the Area Officer for Action for Sick Children Scotland to run sessions for SLT colleagues looking at transitions and relationship endings with families where a child has complex needs.

The material content is vast and works well.  Discussions can almost lead themselves.  People found it really valuable to put themselves in another person’s shoes.

The learning and development specialist who attended, together with two of the AHPs, have designed a one day course for all AHPs working within Children and Families Services.  The course helps practitioners understand their role in implementing the Children and Young People’s Act (reflected in the AHP policy response Ready to Act) through the relationships they develop and support between children, young people, families and health care professionals.  They have piloted the course within CAHMS and are now ready to roll it out.

One concern we had was whether senior practitioners would engage with the story material.  However, they connected with it really well and the process opened up a lot of discussion (we used Scene 6 which is the consultation scene).

Next Steps

The group is next meeting in December where they will share what they’ve learnt about applying the Tool and identify next steps.   We’ll post a blog update after that.

To find out more please contact us.


How delighted I am with this resource for Ready to Act. It feels just perfect in terms of reflecting both our working context and also the challenges we face. It brings our strategic plan to life and will be a great asset. I have many plans for how we can use it locally.

Morag Dorward, Children and Young People Allied Health Lead, NHS Tayside