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.
The Social Work Procedures Manual is managed by the Quality Assurance, Audit and Policy Team.
AMENDMENTThis chapter was revised and updated in September 2021.
1. Roles and Responsibilities
Operational Directors authorise significant changes to chapters within the Social Work Procedures Manual. This may be through a relevant Practice Guidance Note (PGN), which is later incorporated into the manual or authorisation new and updated content. An electronically signed front sheet of Practice Guidance Notes or new chapter may be stored by the CS Editor for the Intranet Pages.
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 the HCC Website and CS Intranet Pages;
- Relevant Children Services input into the HSCP Child Protection Manual.
All staff should inform their manager 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.
Management should then contact the Quality Assurance, Audit and Policy Team to discuss.
The Quality Assurance and Policy Manager coordinates the organisation and up-dating of The Social Work Procedures Manual and may provide information, advice and support with Practice Guidance Notes and the Forms and Additional Documents pages on the Intranet, S/he will support 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 the Intranet and the Web Team manages the HCC Website on request. This can be by instruction from the Quality Assurance and Policy Manager or a member of the CS Management Team.
2. The Social Work Procedures Manual (SWPM)
This electronic Manual of Children Services' policies and procedures, enables practitioners across Children's Services to undertake their duties in line with the law, statutory guidance and HCC Policy.The first two chapters within the Social Work Procedures Manual 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.
Access to the Social Work Procedures Manual is available on the HCC Intranet or directly from the Internet. This website may be made available to foster carers, adopters, independent social workers and partner agencies.
It is not placed on the HCC Website, because it has electronic links to policies and procedures from HCC departments, that have their policies and procedures on the Intranet, rather than within Tri.x, and are therefore only available to those with access to the Intranet. 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 the HCC Website, which are available to the public;
- Forms on the Intranet 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 HSCP 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 Quality Assurance and Policy Manager 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 of March and end of 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.
Copies of each edition of the Social Work Procedures Manual is held, 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
The Quality Assurance and Policy Manager makes decisions when the changes to the manual are:
- Minor changes (e.g. adds a link at request of a practitioner);
- Related to incorporating a PGN, or other changes, the content of which is already agreed;
- New chapters/policies and requires authorisation by an Operational Director or Head of Service.
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 the chapter (the Quality Assurance and Policy Manager may assist). S/he then obtains agreement from their 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)
A Practice Guidance Note (PGN) 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 HSCP Child Protection Procedures.
It has a signed front sheet, with authoriser's name, not visible on the Intranet, but stored by the CS Editor in the Document Management Library.
The current PGNs can be accessed directly through the link provided or via the Learning and Practice Guidance button on the left hand of each page of the Social Work Procedures Manual.
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 obtain sign off by the relevant Operational Director.
Once the PGN is agreed, the Director's Office circulates to all staff groups, including the Quality Assurance and Policy Manager and the CS Editor to place on the Intranet. The CS Editor stores a front sheet to the PGN, which can be made available but is not visible on the Intranet.
The Quality Assurance and Policy Manager incorporates the content of the PGN in the relevant chapter within the Social Work Procedures Manual for the next update.
4. Forms and Documents on the Intranet and the HCC Website
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 the HCC Website. All leaflets designed to be used with children and young people should be placed on the Children's Webpage.
4.2 How to Make Changes to Forms and Documents Stored on the Intranet and the HCC Website
CS Editor is Anita Rixon (Intranet).
Web Team manages the HCC Site.
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, 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. 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 the Intranet or the HCC Website. The Quality Assurance and Policy Manager 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.
Operational Managers, the CS Editor and the Quality Assurance and Policy Manager will work together to identify documents due for renewal in the Forms Library. The Quality Assurance and Policy Manager will check to ensure they are linked to the Social Work Procedures Manual.
5. Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP) Procedures Manual
The HSCP Procedures Manual also commissioned from Tri.x. The HSCP, rather than Children Services, is responsible for its content. The process for preparing changes is the same as the Social Work Procedures Manual.
However HSCP describes requirements for service, undertaken by Children Services, within safeguarding work. Children Services may request changes to the HSCP Procedures Manual, through the Policy and Practice Sub Group of the HSCP. As with the Social Work Procedures Manual, a Practice Guidance Note may be required to highlight changes to be introduced.
The Quality Assurance and Policy Manager and HSCP Business Manager work together to ensures consistency between the Social Work Manual and the HSCP Procedures Manual.
6. Communications about Changes
Operational Directors circulate Practice Guidance notes.
The Quality Assurance and Policy Manager will inform staff of changes after every update.
The Amendment Page describes recent updates.