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Introduction

All practitioners working in children's social services are involved in recording. Recording is an essential part of the service provided to children and families. Although recording is not an activity that is approached with enthusiasm by many practitioners, most recognise its importance. Case recording supports good practice in a number of ways. These include:

  • Supporting effective partnerships with users and carers
     
  • Assisting continuity when workers are unavailable or change
     
  • Providing a documented account of a department's involvement with an individual service user
     
  • Providing evidence for planning and allocating resources at an individual and strategic level

  • Facilitating reflection, analysis and planning
     
  • Supporting supervision and professional development
     
  • Recording that the practitioner and agency have met the expected standards of social care

About Write Enough

Write Enough is an interactive training pack commissioned by the Children's Services Division, Department of Health (now Department of Education and Skills), to support good practice in recording.

It is suitable for all practitioners working in children's services who are required to keep records.

Write Enough is available in two ways: through the Internet as a web site and as a CD ROM. The CD ROM version contains a series of video clips and additional exercises, which for technical reasons are not available through the web.

To order a copy of Write Enough on CD, click here for our printable order form and details of how to order by phone.

It is intended that Write Enough will be updated at intervals to take account of changes in legislation, policy and planning. We would therefore welcome comments and suggestions about the individual exercises and the pack as a whole. For practitioners using Write Enough through the Internet we have provided a facility for feedback.

Structure

The majority of training in children's social services is provided through training courses involving small group activities. This is because much of the work we undertake involves us in interactions with others, talking with children and young people and their families, meetings with other professionals, discussions with colleagues. However, writing up the outcome of these interactions is almost always an individual activity. Therefore, although it can be supportive to undertake some of the exercises with a colleague, Write Enough has been designed to enable practitioners to work on their recording on their own.

Although there are some areas where there is clearly a 'right' or 'wrong' answer, such as, what information can be restricted if a family member asks to see the file, recording is not an exact science. It requires reflection and analysis based on what we know from research, inspections and practice. For this reason many of the exercises in Write Enough provide practitioners with an opportunity to give a response to an issue or to record a situation or event, which can then be compared with a version we have provided. Where there are differences practitioners are encouraged to reflect on these and consider why these have occurred. However, we certainly are not claiming that our examples are perfect! A key aim of Write Enough is to get people thinking about recording and the examples are intended to facilitate this.

Content

Write Enough contains a number of sets of activities. These are listed in the column on the left-hand side of the page.

Records and recording: Provides a number of exercises looking at what actually constitutes the record in children's social services and what the record should contain for children and young people who have different levels and types of need.

Recording skills: Contains exercises that provide an opportunity for practitioners to test their knowledge of the legal framework for recording in children's social services and to practice their recording skills.

Pitfalls in recording: Drawing on research and information from inspections this section identifies some of the common pitfalls in recording for practitioners and managers. It provides some suggestions for how each pitfall can be avoided and provides some tools to enable practitioners to audit their recording.

Recording in residential care: Focuses on recording within the context of residential care. In addition to a series of exercises, this section also contains examples of recording formats and a suggested structure for recording in residential care.

Training materials: This section contains provides trainers with materials for a training course for foster carers on recording and an outline for how a training course for practitioners building on the material in Write Enough.

Resources: This section contains copies of audits sheets and recording formats.

Using Write Enough

Write Enough has been designed to be used flexibly. It does not have to be completed in a certain order or within a particular period of time. It can be used by individual practitioners, teams or agencies. The training materials section contains an outline of how Write Enough can be used as part of a two-day training course.

When practitioners are using Write Enough on an individual basis it is important that they work through the materials systematically. One approach would be to start with the Pitfalls section, using the audit sheets to review current practice. Practitioners then complete the exercises. Three months after completing all the exercises practitioners again audit their recording using the audit sheets.

What if I have never used the web before?

If you are using the web-based version of Write Enough you will need to be familiar with the very basics of web-browsing.

If you've never used the web before, we recommend "The Internet Social Worker", which is a free "teach yourself" tutorial on Internet information skills for social workers.

Click here to visit the Internet Social Worker.

We hope you will enjoy this new approach to training. Keep in touch!

If you are a supervisor or manager click here for more information.

If you have a responsibility for training click here for more information.

 
 

 
By Steve Walker, David Shemmings and Hedy Cleaver
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