Collaborative Outcomes Learning Tool (COLT) – A Multi-agency Educational Resource to Support Complex Public Protection Understanding and Practice


  • Inga Heyman Robert Gordon University
  • Gavin Innes Robert Gordon University
  • Kate Goodhand Robert Gordon University



Public protection, multi-agency, immersive, flexible learning, collaborative


Multi-agency public protection practice has received significant media and government scrutiny in recent years, in response to failings to protect those most vulnerable people in society. Despite an appreciation by agencies that there are resource and outcome benefits to collaborative practice, how safeguarding public protection policy may be integrated into practice and education is often challenging.

Public protection legislation directs core agencies to co-operate and work together with governmental direction setting out key shared safeguarding responsibilities and arrangements for individuals, professional groups and teams. Despite this there still remain difficulties between organisations to understand each other’s priorities and responsibilities. This can then transpose to an individual level where entrenched professional divisions can compromise joint working.

Many health and social care curricula invest in inter-professional education to encourage exploration of information sharing, reporting and case management. However, when public protection issues are considered, uni-professional and inter-professional education tends to focus on single silos of harm, for example child and adult protection, radicalisation or domestic abuse.

This paper discusses the development, application and future possibilities for innovation of a unique educational tool to address this gap in public protection multi-agency education. The tool aims to support understanding of key public protection issues in Scotland by encouraging learners within undergraduate and practice environments to recognise risk, explore overlapping and ‘grey areas’ of harm and understand partner agency best practice and response whilst encouraging cross-sector working, appreciation and support. Through gaining insight into other agencies safeguarding roles the learner has the opportunity to gain a deeper insight and broader perspective of the complexities of interventions beyond their own discipline whilst recognising opportunities for joint resource management.

Author Biographies

Inga Heyman, Robert Gordon University

Inga Heyman is a lecturer in mental health nursing. Her practice, research and teaching interests lie in police and health services collaborative working and education, suicide, adult protection and radicalisation. Her PhD studies are focused on the pathways and interface between police, those in mental health distress and health services.

Gavin Innes, Robert Gordon University

Gavin Innes is an e-Learning Adviser at the School of Nursing & Midwifery in Aberdeen. His primary role is to advise and support academic staff in the use of e-learning technology. Gavin also creates interactive e-learning materials in Flash or HTML5 and provides staff development in the use of e-learning technologies.

Kate Goodhand, Robert Gordon University

Kate Goodhand is an Adult Nursing Lecturer, Learning Enhancement Co-coordinator, Teaching Fellow and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Kate is interested in simulation, clinical skills development and feedback using digital devices. Her current Doctorate in Professional Practice (DPP) is focused on the effectiveness of simulation in education.


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