Power Politics And Change In Social Work Social Work Essay

Following a referral to kids ‘s societal attention, the local authorization has a statutory duty to see whether “ there are concerns about damage to the kid ‘s wellness and development or the kid is enduring injury which justifies an initial appraisal to set up whether this kid is a kid in demand ” ( HM Government 2010: 5.34 ) . Regardless of the length and breath of the instance itself, appraisals have to be completed within set statutory timescales. An initial appraisal has to be completed within 10 working yearss and nucleus appraisals within 35 on the job yearss.

This essay proposes that taking current differentiation between initial and nucleus appraisal and the associated fixed statutory timescales for their completion will better the quality of appraisal studies completed by kids ‘s societal workers. A development of a individual appraisal signifier to replace initial and nucleus appraisal signifier would give societal workers extra clip to reflect and reexamine historical information collated and collaborate with other bureaus before finishing the appraisal therefore bettering pattern. Although it is acknowledged that there may be challenges in implementing this proposal, this essay preemptive bids that this alteration would give societal workers greater chances to finish direct work with kids and integrate their positions and feelings into the appraisal ( Munro and Lushey 2012 ) .

In the position of the above proposal, the essay explores the influence of the wider national and European policy docket on the alteration proposed and explores some of the possible challenges from societal work context which may impact on the execution of the proposed alterations. Finally, pulling on Change Theory, I critically discourse how my proposal could be implemented, run intoing the challenges antecedently identified.

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But first, initial and nucleus appraisals are defined. An initial appraisal is a brief appraisal completed on each kid referred to the local authorization within a upper limit of 10 working yearss of the referral day of the month. Where necessary, it determines whether the kid is in demand ; whether there is sensible ground to surmise that the kid is enduring or likely to endure from important injury ; whether the kid requires any services and if so what types ; eventually, a recommendation is made whether a more elaborate nucleus appraisal should be undertaken ( HM Government 2010: 5.36 ) .

The significance of ‘need ‘ is explored under subdivision 17 of the Children Act 1989. A kid is said to be in demand if:

[ He ] is improbable to make or keep a satisfactory degree of wellness or development, or [ his ] wellness and development will be significantly impaired without the proviso of servicesaˆ¦ [ or he ] is disabled, ( HM Government 1989 ) .

Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 places a responsibility on local governments to do enquires when there is a “ sensible cause ” to believe that a kid who is found or lives in their municipality is enduring, or probably to endure from important injury. A completion of the nucleus appraisal is the agencies in which a subdivision 47 question is initiated and should be completed within 35 on the job yearss. In these fortunes, the purpose of the local authorization is to find what signifier of intercession is required to safeguard and advance the public assistance of the kid ( Ibid ; Brown et Al. 2012 ) .

A nucleus appraisal refers to an in-depth appraisal which addresses cardinal facets of a kid ‘s demands. This appraisal may be completed at different occasions depending on the kid ‘s demands ; an bing kid protection concern is non a demand ( Brown et al 2012 ) . Harmonizing to Department for Education ( 2011 ) 40 % of nucleus appraisals bare no relation to subdivision 47 questions.

Harm under subdivision 31 ( 9 ) of the Children Act 1989 is defined as “ ill-treatment or the damage of wellness or development ; ‘development ‘ means physical, rational, emotional, societal or behavioral development ; ‘health ‘ means physical or mental wellness ; and ‘ill-treatment ‘ includes sexual maltreatment and signifiers of maltreatment which are non physical ” ( HM Government 1989 ) .

Completion of both an initial and nucleus appraisal has to be undertaken in conformity with Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families ( DOH 2000 ) and information sing kids ‘s demands should be obtained within the three general spheres of that form the assessment trigon: the kid ‘s developmental demands ; the parents and/or health professional ‘s ability to react to those demands ; and wider household and environmental factors ( HM Government 2010: 5.36, 5.62 ; Turney et Al. 2011 ) .

Current statutory counsel on the completion of initial and nucleus appraisals are criticised for the undermentioned grounds:

First, infliction of a stiff timescale means that there is small clip for societal workers to meaningfully prosecute with kids. This thrust to run into public presentation marks may therefore be at the disbursal of the quality of appraisals, battle with kids and households and multi-agency coaction with professionals ( Hawkes 2005 ; Holland 2010 ; Munro and Lushey 2012 ) .

Second, current statutory appraisal timescales are unrealistic particularly the 10 on the job yearss set for the completion of initial appraisal. It does non take into history that there might be some troubles in prosecuting with certain households and appraisals may as a consequence be form-led instead than demands led ( Horwarth 2002 ) . Turney et Al. ( 2011 ) argued that the force per unit area to run into statutory timeframes set for initial and core appraisal may take to the developments of short cuts which may supply latent conditions for mistake and in bend addition the hazard factors posed to vulnerable kids.

An appraisal which is child-centred contains thorough, concise and accurate information ; includes chronological information about household and wider history and makes good usage of information from a broad cyberspace of beginnings is considered a good appraisal ( Turney et al 2011 ) . A good appraisal is important in bettering results for kids as it can lend to keeping the public assistance of kids by forestalling holds in the proviso of support and services.

Despite the Assessment Framework ‘s voluminous counsel in finishing good appraisal, ( DOH 2000 ) research grounds continues to foreground ongoing concerns of societal workers assessment analysis ( Dalzell and Sawyer 2007 ) . Holland ( 2010 ) contends that rigorous infliction of tight timescales combined with high caseloads does non let for in-depth analysis through critical contemplation of available grounds.

The demand for the proposed alteration

Replacing kid in need initial and nucleus appraisal timescales with a individual appraisal signifier and taking fixed statutory timescales for the completion of initial and nucleus appraisal will better quality of kids ‘s societal workers pattern and increase the range for practicians to exert their professional opinion. Although the individual appraisal signifiers will still retain the construction of Framework of the Assessment of Children in Needs and their Families ( DOH 2000 ) , it is hoped that this development will let societal workers to exert their professional opinion about what information to record.

Research surveies and questions into child deceases and analysis of serious instance reviews systematically study that the quality of societal workers assessment studies have at times fallen short of the expected criterion peculiarly in the undermentioned countries: failure to prosecute with the kid, differential thresholds, insufficiencies in information assemblage, defects in critical analysis, and deficits in inter-professional working ( Turney et al. 2011 ) .

Whilst it is acknowledged that the execution of a individual appraisal signifier may non needfully eliminate some of the defects of the current appraisal signifiers highlighted above, it is hoped that taking timescales for finishing appraisal will better quality of completed studies by making an environment where workers are under less emphasis to pull out all information during the first visit to the household and therefore more attending can be paid on what is go oning for the kid. Furthermore, cut downing prescription refering timescales would enable societal workers to set up to run into with kids and households at a convenient clip for the household instead than at short notice to run into statutory timescales. For instances whereby parents are loath to prosecute in services or instances where there are lingual or cultural barriers to get the better of, flexibleness in timescales can be used as a mechanism to better pattern ( Munro and Lushey 2011 ) .

Collaborative working relationship between societal attention services and households is indispensable in advancing the public assistance of the kid ( DOH 2010 ) . Having sufficient clip to work at the kid ‘s gait is hence important to bettering pattern. Furthermore, appraisals may take longer if household members have particular demands which have to be met so that they can meaningfully lend to assessment ( Holland 2010 ) . Whilst there is a demand for appraisals non to lose focal point and way, appraisals need to be completed jointly by both societal worker and the household within a context which takes into history issues of power, inequality and favoritism. Lack of flexibleness within appraisal is about necessarily traveling to come at the cost of cardinal rules such as partnership and authorization. Hawkes ( 2005 ) suggests that there is merely every bit much grounds about the impact of partnership and authorization upon the results of kids as there is for the demand to forestall hold and impetus in appraisal which may be caused by flexibleness steps of appraisals.

Influence of wider national and European policy docket

The demand for a thorough appraisal of kids and households where there are child protection concerns is a cardinal focal point of many national policies in the UK. The Model for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families ( DOH 2000 ) for illustration acknowledges that bettering assessment procedure is a critical facet in bettering societal work pattern with service users and guaranting multi-agency working. Although the model offers counsel to societal workers on how to run into the demands of kids through a comprehensive procedure of appraisal taking to action, its infliction of stiff timescales to finish appraisals challenges some of the rules of the Children Act 1989. The counsel fails to take into history that the clip it may take longer to prosecute with some households who may be ab initio hostile towards intercession. Furthermore, due to miss of clip to prosecute to the full with kids, societal workers may be unable to determine and integrate the kid ‘s feelings into appraisal ( Calder 2003 ) .

Similarly, the importance of timely and clear appraisal was highlighted in Lord Laming study into the decease of eight twelvemonth old Victoria Climbie ( DOH 2003 ) . Lord Laming ‘s question led to the execution of Children Act 2004 which emphasised the demand for better results for all kids. For kids who come into attending of societal services, these results could be explored further in appraisals. These results are: being healthy, remaining safe, doing a positive part ; and accomplishing economic well-being ( HM Government 2004 ) .

Equally good as national policies, international statute laws including the European Convention on Human Rights Act ( 1998 ) and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( 1989 ) influenced the proposed alteration as enshrined within these statute laws is the demand to protect kid and their involvements ( ECHR 1998: Article1, 2 ; UNCRC 1989: Article 2, 3, 12 ) and recommending for a individual appraisal signifier is a agency of guaranting kids ‘s voices remain the cardinal focal point of appraisals.

Potential challenges from the wider societal work context which could impact on the execution of the proposed alterations

Although this essay has highlighted some of the possible benefits of holding a individual appraisal signifier and taking fixed statutory timescales, some possible challenges which could impact on the execution of the proposed alterations are critically discussed here.

First, increased flexibleness refering timescales does non needfully intend that the possible benefits discussed antecedently will be realised because a cardinal facet in gaining these benefits mostly depends on the accomplishment and capacity of single societal worker and wider organizational contexts in which they are working. Although the purpose of a flexible timescale was proposed in this essay to heighten societal worker ‘s apprehension of kids ‘s demands, should the proposal be implemented, some societal workers may utilize it as an alibi to prorogue complex determinations ( Turney et al. 2011 ) .

Second, in the absence of timescales societal workers may pass longer clip finishing appraisals. Whilst it is acknowledged that the more information gathered, the longer it may take to analyze, nevertheless, in the absence of extra staffing, the excess clip societal workers are apparently passing on direct work with kids and households may put greater demands on the squad. This in bend may take to the followers: longer working hours to counterbalance for the extra clip spent on appraisals ; prioritizing kid protection instances which may ensue in hold and impetus in instances, which based on the presenting issues appear less serious ; or alterations to the threshold for intercession ( Broadhurst et al. 2010 ; Holmes et Al. 2010 ) . The consequence of such challenges may therefore inhibit worker ‘s ability to carry on extra visits, engage in more direct work with households and hence sabotaging the intended purpose of the individual appraisal proposal ( Monro and Lushey 2012 ) .

Change Theory

Change is inevitable ; it can be baleful, riotous and hard to pull off as it involves accommodating to new scenes, working patterns or personal fortunes ( Hayes 2010 ) . Although one of the nucleus values of a societal worker is to recommend for alteration on behalf of their service users ( Dolgoff et al. 2008 ) as a profession, it has been rather immune to alter ( Munson 2012 ) . Whilst there is no standard expression in pull offing alteration, there is a organic structure of utile theories which that can assist analyze how to pull off the challenges of alteration in order to better on pattern and guarantee better results for service users. Here, I draw on Kurt Lewin ‘s ( 1951 ) theory of alteration and discourse how developing a individual appraisal signifier to replace current initial and nucleus appraisal signifiers can be implemented run intoing some of the challenges antecedently identified.

Lewin ( 1951 ) argued that implementing alteration involves pull offing viing forces and actively easing the drive forces to accomplish the coveted alteration while seeking to cut down or extinguish restraining forces ( Russell and Russell 2006 ) . In the first measure of his three measure alteration theoretical account, Lewin contends that to implement alteration, alteration leaders will necessitate to dissolve the position quo. Persons who will be affected by the alteration must be led to recognize why the alteration is necessary ( Griffin and Moorhead 2011 ) . Following, the alteration itself is implemented. Finally, refreezing involves reenforcing and back uping the alteration so it becomes a portion of the system.

Using Lewin ‘s theoretical account, the first measure ( dissolving ) implementing my proposed alteration would affect converting Michael Gove, current Secretary of State for Education to allow local governments dispensation of Working together to Safeguard kids counsel because of its capableness to better societal work pattern with kids and households. After this unfreezing is accomplished, a pilot strategy conducted with several local governments analyzing the likely impact of implementing my proposed alteration on pattern will be introduced. If the consequences of the pilot strategy are positive, the strategy will be rolled out nationally ( execution ) . Following execution, regular preparation, robust supervising and support systems will be introduced to back up societal workers in composing appraisals ( refreezing ) in order to run into challenges antecedently identified.

Equally influential as Lewin ‘s theoretical account of alteration is, some critics have argued that the theoretical account is excessively stiff and assumes alteration occurs in inactive stairss. It is argued that Lewin ‘s theory lacks the flexibleness required to suit with the helter-skelter procedure of alteration ( Longo 2011 ) . In relation to my proposed alteration, Lewin ‘s theory fails to..

Similarly, Williams et Al. ( 2002 ) argue that whilst Lewin ‘s theoretical account of alteration is utile in gestating how to convey about alteration, it fails to research how what causes persons to accept or defy alteration.

Similarly to Lewin ( 1951 ) , Beckhard and Harris ‘ ( 1987 ) alteration theoretical account provide a utile analogy of what motivates persons to alter. They argue that for alteration to go on, the forces of alteration must outweigh the sensed costs of alteration ( in footings of emotions, energy fiscal costs etc ) . Beckhard and Harris suggest that to successfully implement alteration, persons need to be convinced that the present is debatable ; persons need to comprehend desirable vision of the hereafter and that there is a agency of accomplishing it ( Williams et al. 2002 ) . Although this theoretical account is valuable to understanding how to pull off planned alteration, likewise to Lewin ‘s ( 1951 ) theory, Beckhard and Harris ( 1987 ) besides assume that that there is a logical, additive procedure to accomplishing alteration. Burke ( 2002 ) argues that in pattern, planned alteration occurs in a coiling manner instead in a additive line as suggested by both Lewin and Beckhard and Harris. Harmonizing to Deutsch et Al. ( 2006 ) there are many unintended and unforeseen effects which may impact and be affected by planned, alteration attempts and neither of the alteration theories discussed above explore this in deepness.

Whilst a alteration in current policy of how initial and nucleus appraisal are being completed may look irrational, a recommendation for such alteration was late proposed by Eileen Munro in ‘The Munro Review of Child Protection ‘ ( Munro 2011 ) . The Secretary of State for Education granted eight local governments ( Hackney, Knowsley, Cumbria, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth and Islington ) between March and September 2011 permission to transport out flexible appraisal patterns. Although a huge bulk of societal workers and directors were in favor of the individual frame assessment signifier and findings from the pilot survey reported that flexibleness of appraisal timescales improved pattern and quality of appraisals ( Munro and Lushey 2012 ) , this proposal has yet to be implemented nationally. This recommendation is good illustration of some of the challenges implementing alteration. As merely put by Chaudry et Al. ( 1994 ) “ a good thought that is really hard to implement is, after all non that good an thought ” .

In decision, this essay has highlighted some of the possible benefits of developing a individual appraisal signifier which replaces current initial and nucleus appraisals and the associated fixed timescales for their completion when finishing appraisals kids. Whilst this essay acknowledges that execution of the proposal does non needfully vouch betterment in the quality of appraisals produced by societal workers or the sum of direct work completed with kids and households, it is felt this flexibleness in timescale will heighten societal work pattern with kids ( Munro 2011 ) . Importance of back uping societal workers via preparation and equal supervising was besides acknowledged in guaranting completed appraisals are of good criterion. As good has researching the influence of national and European policy docket on the proposed alteration, the essay besides critically analysed how the proposal could be implemented pulling on Lewin ‘s ( 1991 ) theoretical account of alteration.


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