Appreciative Inquiry Champions Group

Appreciative Inquiry Champions Group

Appreciative Inquiry Process

The Appreciative Inquiry Panel (Terms of Reference PDF doc) was instituted at the request of the Newcastle Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) which wanted to hear examples of good multi agency working practice.

Appreciative inquiry turns the problem solving approach on its head. It focuses on achievements rather than problems. It should not be seen as a model of working but more a strategy for identifying what works.

The appreciative approach involves collaborative inquiry, based on interviews and affirmative questioning, to collect and celebrate the good practice stories that enhance the working relationship between professionals and between professionals and clients.

There are four steps to the appreciative approach.

The core task is the discovery phase, to appreciate the best of the work that people have done and to seek to understand the conditions that made innovative work possible.

The second phase allows the inquirers to celebrate good practice, to be excited by innovative working and to challenge any perception that there is only one way of achieving success.  The whole panel meet to hear from practitioners about good practice.  After careful consideration it has been decided not to invite family members to this meeting but information can obviously be shared with them if it is thought appropriate. The panel is always interested in what the family think and a worker may negotiate a meeting between the facilitator and a family member. A member of the team who have worked with the family would be present at this interview. At the end of the panel meeting a brief report will be sent to a manager of all agencies who have contributed.

In the third part of the inquiry, panel members and participants seek to create a strategy to share their findings with leaders within their own organisations, ensuring those who can endorse good practice are aware of the pieces of work that staff are justly proud of.

The final phase is achieved when the agencies recognise good practice which has been highlighted in Appreciative Inquiry and make efforts to share that good practice across their organisation.

What happens during an Appreciative Inquiry (AI)

Anyone can make a referral to the Appreciative Inquiry Panel by completing the referral form (Word document, 120KB).   For more information about Appreciative Inquiry please contact .

There is no single definition of good practice; the panel is keen to hear of all cases where good practice has been identified.

 Four inquiries a year will be undertaken by the panel. Cases do not have to have reached the threshold of referral to Children’s Social Care, however any case referred must:

  •  have a child focus
  • involve at least two agencies
  • have been active in the last 3 months
  • have permission for referral  by a manager of lead agency involved with the case

 If a family you have worked with has been accepted by the panel for an AI you will be invited by one of the facilitators of the inquiry to attend a meeting with the AI panel and others who have worked with the family. 

On the day of event the facilitators will invite individuals to share their thoughts on what they feel worked well for the family, and will then encourage discussion amongst those present. Any discussion will include ideas on how good practice is to be shared. 

There will always be a report to the NSCB as the AI is being carried out at their request

It is never the function of an AI to deal with poor practice but neither can it be ignored so if there is some concern raised during the inquiry one of the facilitators will be responsible for ensuring appropriate action is taken, but this will not be discussed during the event.  If anyone has issues which have not been addressed there will be the opportunity to meet with one of the panel members before they leave.


AICG Membership (pdf, 85kb)