Exploring the complex realities of inter-agency working: a group relations conference

Conference overview

This is an applied four-day group relations conference exploring complexities in caring for the emotional and psychological well-being of adults, young people, children and their families within multi-disciplinary and multiagency contexts.

Download the flyer.

    This conference is an opportunity to:
    • Better understand how the dynamics of professional practice and different perspectives, impact on authority and authorisation of roles in groups and organisations.
    • Increase your ability to recognise and manage hidden agendas, stereotypes and unspoken assumptions, which get in the way of individuals and agencies working together.
    • Become more aware of the inherent dilemmas in collaboration and competition within and among groups, understanding why sometimes collaboration works and at other times is difficult and frustrating.
    • Enhance your skills in managing yourself and others in complex multi-disciplinary and multi-agency work roles and settings.

    Connected circles - inter-agency working group relations conference

    A group relations conference is an immersive event which aims to increase your personal effectiveness in any organisational role. The method is not one of conventional conferences. The conference is designed to be a miniature organisation in which a range of events take place that mirror typical organisational situations. Participants are invited to work with each other and staff to explore how issues of authority, task, role and boundaries, ideas of difference and diversity, impact on the professional use of self and professional identity and how an understanding of these may be applied to conference members’ experience. The conference and its activities, will seek to study organisational behaviour as it happens. This creates a continuous process of feedback about organisational behaviour from staff and other participants.

    The closing date for applications is Thursday 28 February 2019.

    Anyone who works in the public or voluntary sector finds themselves in a time of political and social policy review and change. Uncertainty is ever present about the future of service provision. Policy directives continue to stress the importance of integrated working across agencies, but “partnership working” takes place in an increasingly turbulent, frugal, austere and competitive climate, subject to increasing scrutiny and debate both from within and outside the services in which we work.

    All of these factors affect and shape organisations which are tasked with caring for the emotional well-being of others. How they organise their internal relations and manage change will be influenced by a number of other inter-relating factors:

    1. The emotional impact of the work.
    2. The primary function of the organisation (e.g. Social Services, schools, CAMHS, adults mental health, safeguarding, police, paediatrics, general practice, youth services etc) and the sector it operates within.
    3. Policy directives at national, regional and local levels.
    4. Public expectation and media coverage in a changing and uncertain political climate.
    5. Practitioner's own internalised experiences of authority care and control.
    6. Professional role and relationships with colleagues and with other agencies.

    This conference acknowledges these factors, the potential difficulties of ongoing work in such organisations, in putting into practice aspirations for integrated working.  Thus the primary task of the conference will be to explore how our different backgrounds, trainings, theoretical models, upbringings, ethnicity, cultures, and social classes, play a part in what we learn and accomplish together in this temporary institution. Personal experience, ethnicity, culture, authority and the unconscious, all contribute to how we each, and together, hold the ‘system in the mind’. The conference invites us to use what emerges to become aware of the many hidden, layered and textured ways in which we relate to others.

    This conference is for anyone who works directly with adults, young people, children and their families, or who manages or supervises this work, who also wants a better understanding of themselves and of groups and organisations in this work.

    A proportion of the conference places are reserved for students enrolled in
    Child, adolescent and family mental wellbeing: multidisciplinary practice (D24) and
    Mental health and well-being: multidisciplinary practice with young people and adults (D24A).

    Group relations conferences are a demanding experience

    Group relations conferences provide opportunities for learning which may feel challenging to those who are in the midst of emotionally stressful situations. Attendance may not be advisable in such circumstances. If you are unclear as to whether you should attend please discuss this in advance with your tutor, the course lead (if you are on an existing Tavistock course) and or the conference director, to think through what is desirable or possible for you (attendance at a different conference at a later date might be preferable).

    Please note course leads and conference directors reserve the right to withdraw membership, or not agree to membership of a given conference, if there is evidence that attendance might adversely affect the prospective conference member and/or the experience of other members within the conference, if they were to attend.

    Director Mellini Mahadevan

    Associate Director Karen Tanner 

    The staff team will reflect the multi-disciplinary and multi-agency settings of the membership.

    'Amazing experience. More learning done on the conference than I ever could have imagined in relation to group dynamics as a whole, my role in groups, how I conduct myself and how all of this applies to my work with children and families.'

    'I found the experience to be a deeply intense representation of the true challenges to joining with others. It gave me some profound ideas about myself and what I bring to my work, for better or worse. And overall, despite feeling worn out, the conference increased the awareness I have of myself when in groups, personally and professionally, which is beginning to really help me.'

    'I felt overall I learnt a lot from the conference....though this was more to do with my relationship to power and authority than the emotional impact of our work...'

    I found the conference was very thought provoking and I felt emotionally charged by it. It has left me thinking more deeply about my own role, my work and the impact on my clients. I appreciate having this opportunity to be guided through so many complex issues by the consultants...

    Internal applicants: £550

    External applicants: £660

    For more information on fees please contact the conference administrator at GRC@tavi-port.nhs.uk

    Applications are open now – please download the application form.

    The closing date for applications is Thursday 28 February 2019.

    Tuesday 2 April, 9am to 6.30pm

    Wednesday 3 April, 9am to 6.30pm

    Thursday 4 April, 9am to 6.30pm

    Friday 5 April, 9am to 5pm

    To maximize the conference learning for you and other attendees, we ask all members to commit to attending the whole of all four days.

    The closing date for applications is Thursday 28 February 2019.

    The Tavistock Centre, London
    2 April 2019 09:00 to 5 April 2019 17:00