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Community Care survey of social workers on IT systems’

Commenting on a survey of social workers on IT systems Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee, said:

“Social workers do important work on behalf of us all supporting children and families in challenging, and sometimes high risk, circumstances. As employers we are committed to getting the basics right and creating the conditions in which great social work can flourish. Much of our focus is on ensuring that social workers receive regular, reflective supervision where they can confidently raise concerns about issues that might impact on their work with children and families. This includes any concerns about case management systems getting in the way of good practice.

“Recording, in some shape or form, is necessary in most professions, but in social work it’s essential to keep children safe and help them understand their history. That said, if social workers are spending too much of their time on recording it reduces the amount of time they can spend working directly with children and families, so the quality of any case management system, and its implementation, can have a significant impact on the quality of social work. Local authorities vary considerably in the systems they use, how frequently they update them and the quality of implementation of any new system. However, ADCS is clear: it is good practice, when implementing any new system, to involve the people who will use it day to day at every stage, from specifying what the new system needs to do, through to user acceptance testing, delivering training and designing post-implementation support. The more purposeful the involvement of the core users of the system in its implementation, the more likely the system will successfully support essential recording and reporting.

“Despite the impact of austerity, which has halved our budgets since 2010 at the same time as the level of need in our communities has risen significantly, local authorities are doing a range of things to better support social workers and to make sure they aren’t overly burdened with administration, including investing in their IT systems and in dedicated administrative support teams. We continue to strive to resolve issues that impact on social workers or inhibit the vital work they do with children and families. I would encourage all local authorities to heed the messages of this survey.”


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