Putting children and young people first in the family courts

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Welcome to the blog of Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive of Cafcass. Anthony will be blogging each month, sharing news from Cafcass and talking about the family justice system at large.

How do we better understand the cues and clues to assess emotional harm and ensure children’s recovery?

The prevalence of emotional harm is rising faster than any other type of abuse*. This is as much about greater recognition and an understanding that emotional scarring takes the longest to heal.
Written by Chief Executive Anthony Douglas at 00:00

Ramadan puts us in a position to reset mentally, physically and spiritually

Working while fasting can be tough. Concentration can fade, the hunger is uncomfortable and fatigue can creep up on you but the people around me make a huge difference.
Written by Mo Abdelazim at 00:00
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Building collaborative learning and practice improvements through themed webinars

This month Anthony discusses why we have taken up the use of webinars at Cafcass, and what impact we hope they will hae on our staff and overall practice.
Written by Chief Executive Anthony Douglas at 21:00

Stopping hot desking – “My perspective is a little different”

Anthony Douglas

In re-thinking children’s social care, much is being made of reducing bureaucracy and stopping hot desking to give practitioners a more secure working space in offices. My perspective on this is a little bit different.

 

Practitioners need good 4G technology so they can work flexibly and remotely from home, and in and around the visits they need to make, as well as in their office base. The most important source of support for social workers is not a fixed desk but genuinely flexible working so they can balance work and life pressures in the most manageable way. Their employing organisation can facilitate higher productivity and performance by providing a tailored and customised package of support to the individual social worker.

 

It’s not only technology that needs to be tailored to social workers. We know that social workers learn in different ways so an individual learning account model can establish the right balance of input within a 70:20:10 model – 70% of learning coming on the job: 20% from peers: 10% through formal programmes.

 

Of course, in the office base, all social workers need access to a quiet space for making sensitive phone calls and writing reports. However most of us, myself included, can hot desk happily enough. It also has the advantage of letting you sit with different colleagues on different days to get to know a wider group and network.

 

It is of course also important to reduce bureaucracy to the safe minimum compatible with professional standards but we have to create a realistic expectation that bureaucracy is a safeguard for vulnerable service users. For instance, recording that is evidence based and kept up to date is a protection for services users, as are formal reports if they are kept brief and analytical whilst being written in plain English and being shared with service users in an empowering way.

 

I think we need to spend less time criticising the present and bigging up what is  largely an unachievable or heavily-spun future, and concentrate on making the present as good as we can, with clever adjustments to the status quo and marginal gains.

 

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Written by Default at 00:00
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Transitions into autumn

Summer’s over, the kids are back at school, and work is in full flow again for social workers.
Written by Chief Executive Anthony Douglas at 00:00

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