Seven steps to better protection

For the past 60 years, inquiries have highlighted the need for better:

INTERAGENCY WORKING – those involved in the child’s life should work together.

UNDERSTANDING OF OTHER AGENCIES’ ROLES – all those  involved should know what each other’s responsibilities are and what they should or could be doing.

COMMUNICATION – all those involved should keep each other informed about what has or has not been achieved. This could be done through a lead professional who co-ordinates responses and makes sure that those who need to know do know. They should make sure that all those who could contribute do so.

RECORDING – staff should recognise the integral role of recording, but so should management who should allocate sufficient time for recording. All staff should receive training that spells out clearly what the agency expects (too often staff do not know this and copy what has gone on before). Recording should be accurate, relevant and analytical. It should also differentiate fact
from opinion although judgments, clearly stated as such, should be encouraged. Recording could also be subject to peer review to ensure that standards are kept. Social care must really begin to consider case allocation as part of workload management.

SUPERVISION – time must be spent reflecting on cases with managers. Supervision is all too often cancelled because of
other commitments and seen as a lesser priority. It is the time to discuss and plan training needs for individuals. Team meetings
should agree training needs for the whole team. Staff need to feel supported. Peer support is also crucial and should be  recognised as such by management.

RISK MANAGEMENT – too often warning signs go unheeded. Staff should be clear what constitutes a warning sign and
respond. Training, supervision and team meetings should cover warning signs.

DECISION-MAKING – management must recognise the need for thoughtful but prompt decision-making. If all of the above
is in place decision-making will be easier and clearer.

How can social workers avoid being deceived by abusive parents/carers of children? Have your say on our Discussion Forum


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