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Pitfalls for managers and policy makers 4

Policies, procedures and practice tools are developed and implemented without the involvement of practitioners

Organisational and practice developments have resulted in significant changes in recording practice. The emphasis on measurable outcomes and evidence based practice resulted in social work records that are focused rather than narrative (1).

New developments are not informed by the experience of practitioners

In order to support practitioners considerable attention was paid to the development of more focused recording formats. However, research has indicated that if formats, policies and procedures are not informed by the experience of practitioners then their potential benefits are limited. Some practitioners may view changes as management driven and therefore not relevant to their practice. Indeed, some may feel that changes inhibit rather than support their practice (2). In these circumstances new developments may be ignored or only partially implemented by practitioners. Old recording practice may be squeezed into new formats or new formats may be supplemented by additional records (3).

The need for attitudinal change is not appreciated

To change practitioners' approach to recording, is not simply a case of familiarising them with new policies, procedures and formats. For some practitioners attitudinal change is necessary (4).

Research has shown that where practitioners are involved in new developments and are supported with training, new recording formats, policies and procedures have generally been welcomed by practitioners and have resulted in improvements in the quality of recording practice (5). This is particularly so in the case of computerized records.

References

1. Kagle J D (1983) The Contemporary Social Work Record. Social Work 17: 149-153. Kagle J D (1984) Restoring the Clinical Record. Social Work 19 46-50. Ames N (1999) Social Work Recording: A New Look at an Old Issue. Journal of Social Work Education  35: 227-236. Prince K (1996) Boring Records? Communication Speech and Writing in Social Work. Jessica Kingsley, London.

2. Kagle J D (1983) The Contemporary Social Work Record. Social Work 17: 149-153. Kagle J D (1984) Restoring the Clinical Record. Social Work 19 46-50. Kagle J D (1993) Record Keeping for the 1990s. Social Work 38: 190-196. Ames N (1999) Social Work Recording: A New Look at an Old Issue. Journal of Social Work Education  35: 227-236.

3. Edwards R and Reid W (1989) Structured case recording in child welfare: An assessment of social workers' reactions. Social Work 34: 49-52. Kagle J D (1984) Restoring the Clinical Record, Social Work. 19: 46-50. Kagle J D (1993) Record Keeping for the 1990s. Social Work 38: 190-196. Ames N (1999) Social Work Recording: A New Look at an Old Issue. Journal of Social Work Education  35: 227-236.

4. Kagle J D (1983) The Contemporary Social Work Record. Social Work 17: 149-153. Kagle J D (1984) Restoring the Clinical Record. Social Work 19 46-50.

5. Ovreveit J (1986) Improving Social Work Records and Practice, BASW, Birmingham. Kagle J D (1984) Restoring the Clinical Record. Social Work  19 46-50. Kagle J D (1993) Record Keeping for the 1990s. Social Work 38 190-196.

 
 
 
By Steve Walker, David Shemmings and Hedy Cleaver
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