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11.1 Polices, Procedures, Forms and Leaflets

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter explains how Children Services policies, procedures, forms and documents, and leaflets explaining these to the public, are written, authorised, stored and updated.

  • Note 2015 CS Editor is Anita Rixon and Policy Practice and Development Officer (PPDO) within Independent Review Team. Current post vacant, Team Manager Janet E Jones.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was revised and updated in March 2015.


Contents

1. Roles and Responsibilities
2. The Social Work Procedures Manual (SWPM)
  2.1 Introduction
  2.2 Availability
  2.3 The Social Work Procedures Manual has Electronic Links to
  2.4 The Social Work Procedures Manual Updates
  2.5 How to Prepare an Update for a Social Work Procedures Manual
  2.6 How to Prepare a New Chapter in the Social Work Procedures Manual
3. Practice Guidance Notes (PGNs)
  3.1 Introduction
  3.2 How to Write and Progress a Practice Guidance Notes
4. Forms and Documents on Compass and HertsDirect
  4.1 Introduction
  4.2 How to Make Changes to Forms and Documents Stored on Compass and HertsDirect
5. Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) Procedures Manual
6. Communications about Changes


1. Roles and Responsibilities

Operational Directors authorise significant changes to meaning to chapters within the Social Work Procedures Manual. This may be through a relevant Practice Guidance Note (PGN). An electronically signed front sheet of Practice Guidance Notes or new chapter may be stored by the CS Editor.

Relevant Heads of Service are responsible for keeping the following up to date:

  • Relevant sections of The Social Work Procedures Manual;
  • Relevant PGNs;
  • Relevant Forms, leaflets and documents on HertsDirect and Compass;
  • Relevant Children Services input into the HSCB Child Protection Manual.

All staff should inform their manager, or the PPDO, if they are aware of necessary, or beneficial, changes to the Social Work Procedures Manual, Practice Guidance Notes, Forms or Leaflets, or any other information regarding Children Services.

The PPDO, Independent Review Team coordinates the organisation and up-dating of The Social Work Procedures Manual, Practice Guidance Notes, Compass and HertsDirect. S/he will undertake the preparatory tasks for managers when complex revisions are required. However service areas should take increasing responsibility for undertaking this work themselves.

The Children Services Editor manages and places documents on HertsDirect and Compass on request.


2. The Social Work Procedures Manual (SWPM)

2.1 Introduction

This electronic Manual of Children Services’ polices and procedures, enables practitioners in:

  • Social work teams and provider services within Specialist and Safeguarding Services;
  • Social care teams within Education and Early Intervention Teams.

to undertake their duties in line with the law, statutory guidance and HCC policy.

The first two chapters describe policies and procedures that apply across the services e.g. Equality and Diversity. The ensuing chapters are specific to delivery of service to a child, or provision of service e.g. Adoption.

It also has a Learning and Practice site to:

  • Identify useful information and research for practitioners;
  • Link to current and archive Practice Guidance Notes; and
  • Link to Research and Good Practice Bulletins.

2.2 Availability

It is available on the HCC Intranet or directly from the internet at http://hertschildcare.proceduresonline.com/index.htm. This website may be made available to foster carers, adopters, independent social workers and partner agencies.

It is not placed on HertsDirect, because it has electronic links to policies and procedures from HCC departments, that have their policies and procedures on Compass, rather than on HertsDirect, and are therefore only available to those with access to Compass. However the content may be made available to the public under Freedom Of Information, or on request. It should be made available to foster carers and independent social workers and providers commissioned by CS. This can be done by printing off particular chapters (that are valid for 72 hours from printing) or by giving the website address that is on the internet.

2.3 The Social Work Procedures Manual has Electronic Links to:

  • Documents on HertsDirect, which are available to the public;
  • Forms on Compass that practitioners require in the course of their duties. Please do not save copies of forms on the shared Word Drive, as they are quickly outdated;
  • External websites and ‘buttons’ e.g. to HSCB Child Protection Procedures, Research in Practice and National Minimum Standards.

2.4 The Social Work Procedures Manual Updates

The Manual is updated every six months. The PPDO submits required changes to tri.x, the host company, with whom HCC holds a contract, every six months (end January and end July) to go live end March and end September.

The manager preparing the update obtains legal advice, from Adult and Children Law Group if required. Tri.x provides a further check prior to publication from their legal team regarding the content of the Manual and whether any sections require revision  to be legally compliant.

The need to update content occurs because: 

  • External changes occur e.g. changes in the law, statutory guidance, external titles;
  • Children Services undergoes organisational change, affecting how service is delivered;
  • Learning e.g. from management reviews, complaints or audit processes occurs;
  • Required changes are noted by staff members, these include minor required corrections or improvements.

The CS Editor holds copies of each edition of the Social Work Procedures Manual, so that practice can always be measured against the relevant policy and procedures, for purpose of  complaints and case reviews.

2.5 How to Prepare an Update for a Social Work Procedures Manual

Click here to view How to Prepare an Update for a Social Work Procedures Manual.

The PPDO makes decisions when the changes to the manual are:

  • Minor changes (e.g. adds a link at request of a practitioner);
  • Relate to incorporating a PGN, or other changes, the content of which is already agreed;
  • Is a new chapter/policy and requires authorisation by an Operational Director or Head of Service. In this case the PPDO will request the CS Editor to make up a front sheet, as for a Compass document, to obtain signature and store on the Document Management Library.

2.6 How to Prepare a New Chapter in the Social Work Procedures Manual

This is in the event of a significant development in service delivery. The operational managers should prepare and the PPDO may assist. S/he then obtains agreement from appropriate Head of Service and Operational Director. It may be taken to CS Board so that any implications across Children Services may be considered, prior to approval from Operational Directors.


3. Practice Guidance Notes (PGNs)

3.1 Introduction

A Practice Guidance Note is a stand alone document, issued by Operational Directors or Heads of Service, that describes a change in procedures, or policy, or reminds practitioners of a procedure or policy that has not been sufficiently followed.

It is usually undertaken as an interim measure pending the update of a chapter of the Social Work Procedures Manual or the HSCB Child Protection Procedures.

It has a signed front sheet, with authoriser’s name, not visible on Compass, but stored by the CS Editor in the Document Management Library.

It can be accessed through the Social Work Procedures Manual through the Learning and Practice Guidance button on the left hand of each page.

Click here to view Screen shot

When A PGN is no longer required it is archived on Practice Guidance Notes Archive, which remains accessible through the Learning and Practice Guidance Button.

3.2 How to Write and Progress a Practice Guidance Notes

An update may be required before the next update of the Social Work Manual. This applies to most changes to the Manual that incorporate a change of meaning, or when changes to a form, mean a change of practice.

A manager of the service should prepare a Practice Guidance Note using the template, and pass to PPDO.

Click here to view Practice Guidance Notes Flow Chart

If the PGN is agreed, the Director’s Office circulates to all staff groups. The PPDO passes to the CS Editor to place on Compass. The CS Editor stores a front sheet to the PGN, which can be made available but is not visible on Compass.

The PPDO incorporates the content of the PGN in the relevant chapter on the Social Work Procedures Manual for the next update, and requests the CS Editor to place in the PGN Archive for future reference. 


4. Forms and Documents on Compass and HertsDirect

4.1 Introduction

Some of these will have a signed front sheet with name of author, authoriser and date written and to be reviewed. Other forms will not require such a front sheet.

All forms or such documents, which relate to delivery of service should have a link from the relevant section of the Social Work Procedures Manual.

Leaflets for the public can be placed on HertsDirect.  All leaflets designed to be used with children and young people should be placed on the Children’s Webpage on HertsDirect. Managers should send to PPDO.

4.2 How to Make Changes to Forms and Documents Stored on Compass and HertsDirect

CS Editor 2015 is Anita Rixon

A change of, or to, a form or document, can be undertaken, at any time, by a manager.

The manager should obtain the form in Word, from the service Word Directory or from the CS Editor, or create a new template. The required change should be made.

The manager will need Services Manager or Head of Service agreement to the changes if the change leads to a change in practice. The updated form should be sent to the CS Editor requesting that the new form is placed on the same webpage with the same number as the previous form, which will then be archived. The link from the Social Work Procedures Manual is then retained.

If a new form is created, the manager should request that the CS Editor place it on a specific page on Compass or HertsDirect. The PPDO will then ensure that a link is created on the next update of the Social Work Procedures Manual. The Manager should consider whether a Practice Guidance Note is required, or another form of communication to specific staff groups instead.

The CS Editor will continue to run a weekly report regarding documents due for renewal. S/he will check to ensure they are linked to the Social Work Procedures Manual. If they are not linked then s/he will pass to the PPDO to review, link or request deletion.

Forms on Compass are placed together where possible to aid ease of location e. g page entitled Link to all Practice Guidance Notes, Link to all Adoption Forms.


5. Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) Procedures Manual

The HSCB Procedures Manual is also commissioned from tri.x. The HSCB, rather than Children Services, is responsible for its content. The process for preparing changes is the same as the Social Work Procedures Manual.

However HSCB describes requirements for service, undertaken by Children Services, within safeguarding work. Children Services may request changes to the HSCB Procedures Manual, through the Policy and Practice Sub Group of the HSCB. As with the Social Work Procedures Manual, a Practice Guidance Note may be required to highlight changes to be introduced. 

The PPDO sends any requested changes to the HSCB Development Manager. The PPDO ensures consistency between the Social Work Manual and the HSCB Procedures Manual.


6. Communications about Changes

Operational Directors circulate Practice Guidance notes.

The Quick Guide describes recent updates.

CSF News highlights new Practice Guidance Notes and updates on a monthly basis.

End