- Professor Nicholas ClarkeUniversity of Southampton
- Dr Susannah BowyerResearch in Practice
This study will compare team-based approaches to social worker training with more traditional training courses, to evaluate which has the greater potential to improve assessment of the capacity of parents who are subject to care proceedings to demonstrate any required changes to parenting practice to ensure the safeguarding or welfare of their children.
Significant policy changes in England have refocused the professional practice of social workers on child welfare needs first, rather than immediately towards child protection. This has taken on added significance within the context of reforms currently taking place within the family justice system. This places an emphasis on improvements in the quality of assessments brought by social workers before the courts. Courts have frequently commissioned repeat assessments of parenting capacity. Currently however we have limited information on what types of training and development activities that might underpin improvements in practice in this specific area of assessment. There have been few advances in designing new approaches for developing these workers’ skills.
Team learning approaches offer an alternative to training modes of skill delivery that would better suit the changing nature of the way social care work is undertaken. However there is little research identifying how best team based learning should be designed nor what factors increase its effectiveness. This study will obtain data comparing training with team-based learning interventions that will give answers to these questions. This has the potential to generate significant cost gains both in terms of offering a means for developing practitioners that is less expensive than training and potentially more effective.