Report 64: Reviewing the impact of the Social care governance workbook
Introduction and key messages
The ‘Social care governance workbook’ (hereafter referred to as ‘the workbook’) was commissioned by the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) in 2007. The aim was to provide a structured approach to support frontline staff and managers in the implementation of SCG arrangements across Northern Ireland. The workbook was produced by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). It sets out a model of clinical and social care governance, providing a structured approach to review, agree, implement and demonstrate improvements in practice and service provision.
The workbook was piloted with a sample of social work teams in Northern Ireland during 2007. Each health and social care (HSC) trust was responsible for rolling out the use of the workbook, with senior management responsible for promoting the implementation of SCG arrangements. In 2012 SCIE was commissioned to undertake a review of the impact of the workbook and update the content to reflect developments over the past five years.
The review found that
- Using the workbook across a range of layers of the organisation can raise the profile of SCG. This can help ensure that governance is ‘everyone’s business’
- Consistency is important in terms of responding to the SCG agenda, but there needs to be a degree of flexibility.
- There needs to be good lines of communication between practitioners and management.
- Decisions about action or inaction need to be communicated to frontline staff.
- Potential difficulties should be considered and managed to preserve relationships and collaborative working arrangement.
- Limitations placed upon staff should be recognised and made transparent
- Staff should be provided with practical support
- The provision of a systematic process and support from SCG leads to facilitate teams is useful.
- Providing examples of everyday practice is a good mechanism for helping staff to understand their role in delivering on the SCG agenda.
- Securing participation from front-line staff is important.
- Good practice in social care governance can empower practitioners as it can; provide a forum whereby practitioners views are sought; promote team building; and it can enhance staff investment in their job and the service.