In all our work we will seek to ensure that information and support given to; parents, carers, children, young people and to professional workers is impartial. Understanding impartiality and how it is evidenced in practice has been, and remains, a core theme in the development of our service. This policy document sets out our thinking and practice with regard to impartiality.
Plymouth Information Advice and Support for SEND’s (PIAS) starting points for ensuring impartiality are:
Dictionary definitions include ‘not partial, unprejudiced, fair’ (OED); ‘not favouring one person, etc., more than another; fair and unbiased’ (Chambers); showing lack of favouritism; the cold neutrality of an impartial judge’ (Webster’s); ‘free from undue bias or preconceived opinions; an unprejudiced appraisal of the pros and cons, the impartial eye of a scientist’ (Webster’s). Such definitions are helpful but one person’s ideas of fairness, neutrality, or perception of the role of judge or scientist, may be nother person’s perceptions of demonstration of vested power, lack of understanding, or adherence to political beliefs or faith interests. The well – known saying ‘Having no axe to grind’, essentially of not preparing either side for battle is pertinent here. Similarly, ‘You can talk to me because I’ve got nothing to win and nothing to lose’. It may be productive to equally consider a definition of partiality, the absence of which seems essential to evidencing impartiality. The OED offers ‘inclined antecedently to favour one party in a cause, or one side of the question more than the other’, ‘prejudiced or biased in someone’s favour’, and ‘pertaining to or involving a part only’. We also like the OED’s ‘Partialism: a partial theory or view which does not take into account all the facts.
From these varied emphases, we currently synthesise a definition of impartiality as:
‘Not taking sides, not favouring one point of view over another because of preconceived ideas or beliefs, and ensuring that all available facts, truths, opinions and perceptions are being shared openly.’
Being able to achieve impartiality in service delivery calls for professional awareness of many factors that may influence us, or any of the wide range of our service users, towards partial understanding of events or information. These might include:
Being able to achieve impartiality in service delivery also calls for awareness of frequent themes in PIAS practice and in supporting parents in diverse family and community settings, at differing stages of parenting, and in varied relationships with schools, Local Authority and other services. These might include:
Lastly, PIAS must examine the structures, procedures and organisational arrangements it offers that evidence its impartiality in its delivery of service. These include:
 The word ‘parent’ is taken to include all those with a direct responsibility for parenting.hese might be birth parents, step-parents, grandparents or other member of the family, foster or adoptive parents or other adult caregivers.
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