Multi-professional collaboration in Anchor work

Anchor work is based on common national principles and also organised to address local and regional needs and special characteristics. The needs and special characteristics of Anchor work are based on the area’s population, the number of adolescents and the resources available to Anchor work, as well as the types of organisations in the area.

Anchor professionals’ fields of expertise

The Anchor team has professionals from the police, social services, health services and youth services. If not all occupational groups are available, their expertise in Anchor work is ensured in another way. The number of professionals in the Anchor team is adjusted according to local needs and conditions.

The tasks of the team’s professionals are based on their education and legislation governing their occupations (Figure 3). This requires each professional to be familiar with the competence needed in their profession and the related job description so that they can make their expertise available to the Anchor team. In addition, they must be familiar with the job descriptions of other professionals in the team. This improves work management and supports occupational wellbeing. Limiting the participating professionals’ job descriptions to Anchor work helps them manage their work and develop their competence.

Figure 3. Tasks of Anchor operators

Figure 3 describes the tasks of individual actors, which are divided according to the competence of the professions. In addition, there are common tasks, such as legal education, which belong to each team member.

In addition to field-specific tasks, Anchor work includes common tasks involving the assessment of the adolescent’s need for individual support, legality education, service referral based on the adolescent’s needs or further work with the adolescent and/or their family (Figure 3).

The tasks of the police officer in the Anchor team are primarily set out in the Police Act and the Criminal Investigation Act. The tasks include interviews with adolescents and, if agreed locally or regionally, pre-trial investigation of the crime committed by adolescents involved in Anchor work as well as other statutory police duties. The tasks of the Anchor police officer mainly concern the prevention of crime. The police also play an important role in field surveillance.

The tasks of the social welfare representative are based on social welfare legislation. In the Anchor team, the social welfare representative’s tasks include assessing the need for services, providing service guidance or involvement in these according to local agreements, as set out in the Social Welfare Act and the Child Welfare Act. The Anchor team can also forward service need assessments for implementation by social services according to local practices. The social services professional is also responsible for social work in prison and probation services for adolescents involved in Anchor work.

The tasks of the health care professional are based on health care legislation. In the Anchor team, health care professionals are responsible for performing health and health behaviour assessments. In addition, they are responsible for identifying and reducing general health risk factors, as well as for strengthening protective factors and identifying potential risk factors.

The youth worker’s tasks are based on the Youth Act. Their duty in the Anchor team is to help the adolescent change their choices with respect to criminal behaviour, for example, and help them integrate into society. The youth worker can strengthen positive attitudes towards school and help the adolescent find meaningful leisure activities. All the above measures support the adolescent’s efforts to give up criminal behaviour.

Orientation, mentoring and work guidance

In view of the continuity of Anchor work and occupational wellbeing, it is important that new Anchor team professionals and leaders are introduced to their work. Orientation is also important in order to ensure the quality of Anchor work. An orientation programme is prepared for each Anchor team (Appendix 4), and the party responsible for its implementation is clearly agreed. The entire team must be committed to the orientation of a new professional. The Anchor team professionals are responsible for the guidance and orientation of other team members as concerns the activities and courses of action related to their specific fields. Understanding the professional field and activities of other team members supports and strengthens collaboration within the team.

In mentoring, tacit knowledge is transferred from a more experienced Anchor team professional to a less experienced one. The mentor supports and guides the less experienced person through mutual interaction. Mentoring helps ensure that experience-based knowledge is also passed on to new Anchor team professionals.

Work guidance can be used to support Anchor team professionals in offering high-quality services for adolescents. It consists of regular guidance and support provided by an expert to help Anchor team professionals assess their own work and identify possible problems at work, as well as plan the necessary measures. Work in the Anchor team involves recognising difficult matters, taking them up and intervening in them, which can be mentally straining for a professional. Anchor work is based on the employee’s interaction skills, personality and professional competence. Therefore, it is important that care is devoted to their ability to offer objective, tactful service.

Supplementary training

The high-quality implementation of Anchor work requires that attention is paid to ensuring the adequate competence of the Anchor team professionals and to the provision of supplementary training. In addition, all professionals are personally responsible for maintaining and taking care of their competence. The leadership team and stakeholders jointly assess the need for supplementary training. The responsibility for enabling and financing supplementary training lies with the employer.

Multi-sectoral supplementary training is needed in order to strengthen and update competence. The Anchor team professionals must be offered regular training across occupational boundaries, as this will increase the operators’ understanding of the work done by the other contributing parties and of their goals, and strengthen multi-professional cooperation. In multi-professional work, the stakeholders are familiar with the main principles of the legislation and steering governing the other participating professionals, which supports the content and timely implementation of information exchange. In addition, it is important to strengthen the competence of the Anchor team professionals regarding their key tasks and the development of team work skills.

Structures of collaboration

There are jointly agreed, permanent structures for multi-professional cooperation in Anchor work. Multi-professional cooperation is based on common principles, that is, the adolescent’s participation, individuality and wholeness and a multi-professional approach, as well as promoting the wellbeing of adolescents and preventing crime. Collaboration is promoted by the Anchor team working in the same building and a common workspace. The workspaces are usually located at the police station, but they can also be in municipal facilities or the premises of a family counselling clinic.

The Anchor teams hold regular meetings between their members and with leaders. At the meetings, possible clients are discussed and selected, and the Anchor team professionals who will meet the adolescent the first time are assigned. In addition, current matters are discussed. A memo is prepared of the meetings and distributed to the team and the leaders in order to keep everybody up-to-date of current matters and the decisions made in the team. The leaders regularly attend meetings, which strengthens the exchange of information between them and the team and keeps them up-to-date on the actions taken by the team.

It is important that everyone records client meetings in the shared platform to facilitate the monitoring and development of operations. Anchor stakeholders use a shared statistics system (Anchor Extranet), which is accessible to all of them. The system must be used by all team members, and the user IDs must be assigned. This also applies to the leaders.

The Anchor team members must wear uniform clothing, such as vests with professional badges, when in the field (e.g. at events). This helps adolescents distinguish the team members from other operators. In addition, uniform clothing introduces equality between the team members and strengthens their team spirit. Each operator’s organisation is responsible for acquiring the clothing.

Stakeholders’ role in Anchor work

Anchor stakeholders supporting adolescents

Anchor work is implemented locally and regionally through multi-professional collaboration with partners (Table 3). Collaboration with stakeholders and partners is based on mutual appreciation, respect and partnership.

Promoting collaboration with stakeholders and partners in Anchor work

  • Up-to-date, easy-to-find contact information
  • Regular contacts with stakeholders and partners
  • Anchor coffee gatherings
  • Visibility in social media
  • Visits to schools or educational institutions and partners
  • Promoting Anchor work within the organisation

Anchor is a well-known, recognised stakeholder in promoting the wellbeing of adolescents. It is visibly present in adolescents’ events, social media, schools and educational institutions. Collaboration with stakeholders can be promoted through regular communication. Anchor coffee gatherings are a good way to enhance people’s awareness of Anchor work. The purpose of Anchor coffee gatherings is to bring together the stakeholders engaged in Anchor work and the parties working with adolescents and help them get to know each other. This improves information exchange and facilitates collaboration. At coffee gatherings, the stakeholders and partners can also convey information about their activities and observations to other stakeholders.

Anchor work also makes use of stakeholders’ expertise in efforts to support the adolescent. Stakeholders comprise parties who are meaningful with respect to the adolescent’s life and who can support and help them. The involvement of stakeholders is decided together with the adolescent case-specifically.

The Anchor team professionals agree who of them will be in contact with possible stakeholders. The team members agree on joint practices with the stakeholders in order to ensure as fluent operations as possible.

Especially schools and educational institutions are important partners in Anchor work and close collaboration is pursued with them. Teachers and staff of the school or educational institution reach the great majority of adolescents. Student welfare employees can contact the Anchor team directly. Anchor work is part of the multi-professional collaboration of schools and educational institutions.

Public sector stakeholders include schools and educational institutions, crisis services, youth services, the police, other services involving crime matters, social and health services as well as other services provided by the municipality or city.

Table 3. Examples of Anchor work stakeholders in the public sector

Sector Stakeholders, e.g.
Crisis services Children’s homes/youth homes, mother and child homes and shelter homes, the crisis centre, the Finnish Substance Abuser Care Foundation (Päihdepalvelusäätiö)
Youth services Youth service points/youth facilities, special youth work, outreach work, youth work at schools, and workshops for adolescents
Educational services Teachers, rectors, school welfare officers, vocational special education providers
The police Preventive activities
Other services in crime matters The Criminal Sanctions Agency, Victim Support Finland, correctional services, mediation in criminal and civil cases, legal aid office
Social services Child welfare services, family work/family services, adult social welfare work, services for the disabled
Health services School health nurses, school physicians, family doctors, child guidance and family counselling centre, psychiatry, psychologists, services for substance abusers
Other services Fire and rescue services, Reception centres, employment services, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

Religious stakeholders and communities offer support services and the possibility to talk about crisis situations for people of any age. You can read more about the operation of communities and parishes by visiting their websites and contacting local stakeholders.

Public and third sector operating models and parties offer different types of support services to deal with crime, violent radicalisation and domestic and family violence. Operating models also offer services and support for adolescents who are in danger of being left outside of other services or need support to cope with their daily lives or in matters related to education and employment.

Organisational stakeholders offer services, support and help in different situations. They include the Finnish Red Cross, HelsinkiMissio-Aggredi, Ehyt Ry, Mono, Pilari, NFG, Jussi-työ, partnership houses for girls and boys, Children of the Station Association, Scouts, sports clubs and Starttipaja workshops. Please contact the local organisational stakeholders for more information about their activities.

Table 4. Potential stakeholders in Anchor work

Victim Support Finland (RIKU)  
Purpose To provide support and counselling for victims of crime and their close relatives.
Target group Victims of crime, close relatives, witnesses of crime.
Locations Available throughout the country.
Methods Support and counselling for overcoming one’s experiences and exercising one’s rights. Social involvement through statements and opinions.
National steering Ministry of Justice
Further information Victim Support Finland
Purpose Offers easy, quick help to persons who have suffered from or are living under the threat of domestic or intimate relationship violence.
Target group Persons suffering from or living under the threat of intimate relationship violence.
Locations Available in approximately 90 municipalities.
Methods/services A multi-professional working group prepares a safety plan for victims of violence.
National steering Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Further Information Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, MARAC - multi-professional risk assessment; Reducing violence, Marac; Crime prevention, MARAC.
Mediation in criminal and civil cases  
Purpose Support and help in the reconciliation and compensation for crime or a dispute.
Target group Parties to the crime and/or dispute.
Locations Available throughout the country: services offered by municipalities, organisations or associations.
Methods/services Help in the processing, reconciliation and compensation for crime or a dispute. The operation is confidential, impartial, voluntary and free of charge.
National steering Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Further information Ministry of Social Affairs and Health: Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare: mediation services.
Purpose Targeted, individual support for adolescents who are in danger of being left outside of other services.
Target group Mainly adolescents aged 16–29 years.
Locations Available in seven locations: Espoo, Helsinki, Kuopio, Lahti, Oulu, Turku, Rovaniemi.
Methods/services Support for adolescents to help them find a suitable path to employment, training or other meaningful activities. This can include individual support, group activities, career services and peer and recreational groups. The operation can be contacted by any party upon the adolescent’s consent. The operation is free of charge and does not require a referral or diagnosis.
National steering Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Further information Vamos: Helsinki Deaconess Institute
Purpose Guidance, counselling and support for managing everyday life, social capabilities, education and employment.
Target group Adolescents under 30 years of age.
Locations Available in approximately 50 locations.
Methods/services The operation includes services from the following fields, based on individual needs: outreach work, TE services, study counselling, job coaching, information and guidance services, social services, health services, Kela, substance abuse services, mental health services. The operation is free of charge.
National steering Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Further information Ohjaamo guidance centres
Purpose The Barnahus initiative enhances the investigation processes of suspected cases of violence against children, as well as the support and treatment provided to children who have experienced violence. It is based on European Barnahus standards.
Target group Parties working with children who have been subjected to a sexual or violent offence. Primarily health and social services authorities, the police and prosecutors.
Locations The goal is to expand activities nationwide. The LASTA screening model has been adopted in various forms in more than ten localities.
Methods/services The model for multi-professional collaboration and information exchange between authorities will be expanded nationwide (LASTA screening model and form). The coordination of support and care will be developed by modelling care pathways, providing education and establishing evidence-based methods of support and care (e.g. TF-CBT, CFTSI, CPC-CBT) and by strengthening existing competence.
National steering Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Further information The free Barnahus online course on violence against children (, which provides means for recognising violence against children and acting in situations involving suspected violence. The course also provides practical tools for supporting children who have experienced violence.