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Two day training programme: Recording in Social Work

Suggestions for Supervisors And Managers


How often do you really look at files? And what are you looking for when you do?

As supervisors and managers you have a pivotal role to play in helping practitioners to improve their recording. In addition to encouraging them to work through this website and then complete the various exercises, there are four additional things you can do:

  1. Use team meetings as a focus for discussions and debate by asking practitioners to complete some of the web pages before you get together. You and they could use some of the audit sheets (see resources) to examine and evaluate each other's recording. Examples of 'live' recording, so to speak, add a degree of relevance to the materials that a training programme would find hard to match.
  2. Look carefully next time you read files for the kinds of difficulties and problems identified in the various sections of the website (especially pitfalls and recording skills) and then, perhaps using supervision or reviewing processes, you might suggest a specific set of web pages for the practitioner to visit.
  3. Because reading records can give you and practitioners unique insights into what practitioners are doing as well as gain a picture of how they are approaching certain tasks, looking at files can help you both to identify gaps in knowledge and practice.
  4. Try to facilitate and encourage a more 'research-minded' and evidence-based approach to practice (see Shemmings and Shemmings, 20011). Is it your practice to ask the questions like . . . 'On what evidence do you base your plan/recommendation/assessment etc.'?

In addition, two courses are available, which we have designed to be as flexible as possible. The first is a two-day programme designed for people who write records in files kept on children and families. Participants may well include foster carers and specialist family aides as well as practitioners in fieldwork, residential and daytime settings. The second programme is designed as a one day course aimed specifically at foster carers.

Whatever setting participants work in, it is important that you reinforce the way in which the Assessment Framework is central to all assessments of children. You might need to emphasise, for example, that whilst a foster carer is not the child's parent, nevertheless a fuller understanding of the way in which the Parenting Capacity domain relates to the assessment of a child's needs within the wider context is as important to them as it is to any other child care practitioner.

Similarly, the implementation of the Integrated Children's System will minimise the unnecessary duplication of forms and procedures as well as rationalise and streamline the various parts of the child care system. You will need to update staff regularly about the progress of these developments (to do this use the Department of Health website at http://www.doh.gov.uk).

1 Shemmings, D and Shemmings, Y (2001) 'Supporting evidence-based practice and 'research-mindedness': The role of managers and supervisors' in Social Care Management: A Reader for Course K303, Open University Press.
By Steve Walker, David Shemmings and Hedy Cleaver
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