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«March 2015 Page 1 Foreword This is the second annual report of the Regional Emergency Social Work Service covering the period from the 1st April ...»

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Regional Emergency

Social Work Service

Annual Report

1 April 2014– 31

st st

March 2015

Page 1


This is the second annual report of the Regional Emergency Social Work Service

covering the period from the 1st April 2014—31st March 2105. It provides an overview

of the development of the Service, its staffing levels and the activity levels by Trust in

terms of referrals to the out of hours social work service. It has been a very busy

year with an overall increase in the number of referrals received by the Service of 10%.

The Service was officially launched on the 29th May 2014 by the then Minister for Health Mr Edwin Poots. Whilst this was a small and informal event it was none the less an important recognition for the Service and marked the successful implementation of one of the Priorities identified by the DHSSPS in its Social Work Strategy ―A 10 Year Strategy for Social Work in Northern Ireland 2010-2020‖.

During this year the service model has continued to be developed with two new types of post being introduced, that is, the post of peripatetic senior practitioner who will work across two offices to provide a greater flexibility to cover the rota and the role of locum shift manager to add additional capacity to the management team. As the service model continues to bed down it is likely that there will need to be further service developments.

The service fully implemented a new recording and information system ―PARIS‖ at the start of the year. Whilst it is anticipated that in the medium to long term this will provide significantly improved quality information to both the Service and the Trusts there have been some initial issues in relation to the accuracy of the information collated and this is currently being addressed. The information therefore contained in this report is of a more limited nature.

I would like to thank all of the staff for their hard work and commitment during this past year and congratulate them on responding to the challenges which have presented themselves as the service grows and develops. The staff throughout the service have worked very hard to ensure that they provide a quality and timely response in spite of the significant increase in referrals. I would also like to thank the members of the Consortium Board and the Operational Management Group for their on-going commitment to the development of the service and support of the management team.

I hope that you find this second Annual Report informative and I look forward to the on-going development of this service.

Cecil Worthington Director of Social Work, BHSCT Consortium Board Chair Page 2 CONTENTS Page Introduction 4 Service Mode

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The Regional Emergency Social Work Service (RESWS) was established following a number of high profile reports including the SSI Overview Report entitled ―Our Children and Young People – Our Shared Responsibility‖ 2006, The Independent Review into the death of Mr McElhill and his family in 2008 conducted by Mr Henry Toner (the Toner Report) and the DHSSPS Social Work Strategy ―A 10 Year Strategy for Social Work in Northern Ireland 2010-2020‖ all of which highlighted the importance of modernising and reforming the Out of Hours Social Work Service.

This Annual Report covers the Service’s second year in operation i.e. 1st April 2014 – 31st March 2015. The Regional Emergency Social Work Service has been managed by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust on behalf of the five Trusts in Northern Ireland since it commenced and reports regularly to an Operational Management Group and a Consortium Board via the Service Manager and the Co-Director, Community Child Health and Child Care, BHSCT. {See Appendix 1 for membership of both Groups} RESWS continues to provide an emergency out of hour’s social work response across all five Trusts and across all of social care, including Family and Child Care, Learning Disability, Mental Health, Physical Health and Disability and Older Peoples Services. It also provides an emergency response in relation to homelessness and finance on behalf of the NIHE and SSA respectively. The service operates from 5pm-9am Monday to Friday and on a 24 hour basis at weekends and public holidays.

Service Model

The Regional Emergency Social Work Service model is based on having a core team of permanently employed senior practitioner social workers (during 2014-2015 this was

28.75wte) supported by a team of senior practitioner locum staff who provide cover for annual leave, sick leave and training. The Service also has one Service Manager and four Assistant Service Managers.

The Service Manager works Monday –Friday 9am—5pm on four days and one evening 5pm-12.30am per week. The four assistant service managers work on a rota basis including 9am—5pm Monday-Friday as well as providing managerial cover for 5pm-2am 7 nights per week and 9am-6pm Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. To ensure that the service can respond appropriately to demand the senior practitioner staff currently work the following shifts;

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The service has continued to be delivered from four offices across the region: Belfast, Antrim, Craigavon and L’Derry. During 2014 a permanent office base was identified in NHSCT area and staff moved from Antrim to Ballymena in May 2014.

Whilst staff are located across Northern Ireland they are not restricted solely to the Trust area in which their office is based. Staff are deployed as part of a managed network so that for example a Senior Practitioner may be dispatched from the Craigavon area to attend a call in the Western Trust area. This flexibility assists in circumstances where an additional response is required when staff in any one Trust area are already tied up responding to earlier calls.

Locum staff provide cover for the whole shift unless in exceptional circumstances a shorter period is agreed with management. Locums are based in one of the four offices and respond to referrals in the same way as permanent staff. However, there are occasions when locums work from other offices other than their base to cover shifts when required and as agreed with them. (See Appendix 2 for full list of staff employed by the service during 2014/2015) During 2014-2015 two new types of post were introduced to meet the changing demands of the service. Firstly, the interim Locum Shift manager posts were recruited for on a temporary basis to add additional capacity to the management team. Secondly, the introduction of a small number of peripatetic senior practitioner posts to work across more than one office.

Since last year’s report was completed the Service Manager has continued to review both administrative and Telephony support for RESWS with relevant administrative managers.

Arrangements are currently being explored to increase the administrative capacity by one full time post to support the management team as the level of activity and complexity of work has increased.

The Service Manager and the Co-Director also meet at regular intervals with IT staff and Administrative managers to review the effectiveness of the systems and processes that are in place to support the single telephone number and the computer system as well as to review the levels of telephony activity and staffing ratios to ensure the service is accessible and responsive.

The Draft Operational Policy that was written prior to the commencement of the service has continued to be reviewed during this year and a final version will be completed during 2015incorporating the service changes that have taken place to date.

Accommodation When the service was established two of the four offices were based on co-located arrangements with day services. The benefits of having a specific and separate office space for staff became clearer during the first year of operation, particularly at the start and end of shifts. To this end the staff moved from their shared accommodation in Muckamore Abbey Hospital to their own accommodation in Braid Valley Hospital in May 2014. In addition discussions commenced with the SHSCT to identify similar separate accommodation for the

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Access to SOSCARE The ability of all staff to access all domains and fields in SOSCARE across all five Trusts has continued to be problematic for the service. Arrangements were negotiated during the year with staff in BSO to work on a solution to address this. Whilst the situation has improved for the service full access for all staff is still to be achieved and this will be prioritised in the next year. Given the developments in Soscare, further training for staff has also been arranged for RESWS for April 2015.

Introduction of Community Information System (PARIS CIS)

As reported on in last year’s Annual Report the service introduced a new information system which commenced in February 2014 and was incrementally rolled out across the office over an eight week period, concluding in April 2014. Further work has been identified by the service in relation to the formatting of the recording templates, including the reviewing of the mandatory recording fields to ensure consistent information is recorded by staff across the service. This work will ensure that the system can deliver more accurate data in the future.

Further training is also required for the managers in relation to the interrogation of the reports available.

Workforce Planning

Workforce planning has been of critical importance since the service was established to ensure that the service has sufficient staffing levels to run the service. In February 2015 Mrs Sage was appointed permanently to the post of Service Manager, Mrs Louise Smyth, Assistant Service Manager, returned from maternity leave in December 2014 and Mr Des Flannagan continued to act up as Assistant Service Manager. The permanent recruitment to this post is underway.

In terms of work force planning and taking into account the needs of the Service to ensure 2permanent staff are released each year to undertake ASW training it was agreed to recruit another 3 permanent staff to the service on a peripatetic basis. Recruitment will continue for these posts into 2015-2016. Alongside increasing the number of permanent staff it was recognised that the pool of locums across the service also needed to be increased to ensure sufficient locum cover particularly ASW in the outlying offices. Following recruitment during the year a number of Locums were appointed taking the total number of locum staff to 77.

Two staff in the Belfast office left their permanent posts during the year but have remained with the service as locum staff which has allowed the service to continue to benefit from their many years of knowledge and experience.

Governance Arrangements The Executive Director of Social Work within Belfast Trust holds overall responsibility for the provision of this Service. All social work staff within RESWS are on the social work part of

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Within BHSCT there is a clear line of accountability from the frontline senior practitioners to the Executive Director of Social Work, through the relevant Assistant Service Manager, the Service Manager and the Co-Director. As noted previously whilst BHSCT has overall responsibility for the day to day management of the service the five Executive Directors of Social Work across the five HSC Trusts retain responsibility and accountability for the discharge of delegated statutory functions as they pertain to the delivery and assurance of social work services within their respective Trust areas. Each Executive Director discharges this responsibility by being assured that the regional service is providing safe and effective care and response. This assurance is provided to the Executive Directors through a Consortium Board which met on a bi monthly basis until Summer 2014 when the frequency of meetings decreased to quarterly. The Operational Management Group continued to meet on a bi-monthly basis during the year. (See Appendix 1 for Membership of Consortium Board and Operational Management Group) Throughout the year RESWS has been able to discharge its statutory functions across the service areas, although as noted in last year’s report there were areas where this was particularly challenging. One of the areas was in relation to the emergency admission of service users to residential/ nursing care out of hours. Mr Des Flannagan Assistant Service Manager led in a piece of work with representatives from Day Services and RQIA to agree arrangements to facilitate emergency placements outside normal office hours. These arrangements were approved by the Operational Management Group and Consortium Board and subsequently implemented by the service. The impact of these changes on the overall workload for staff particularly at busy weekends will be monitored during 2015-2016. In terms of provision of accommodation for 16-18 year olds this has not posed the same challenge as last year.

All Approved Social workers within RESWS have been placed on the BHSC Trust’s ASW register and RQIA notified. All ASWs within RESWS have also been placed on each of the other four Trusts ASW register.

All permanent senior practitioner staff are trained to Designated Officer level under the Vulnerable Adults procedures.

The service has 15 staff trained to undertake Preliminary Interview Assessment and 9 staff trained to Achieving Best Evidence standard under the Protocol for Joint Investigation by Social Workers and Police officers of alleged and suspected cases of Child Abuse – NI. PIA training was also arranged for all of the Assistant Service Managers and the Locum Shift Managers on 10th March 2015 thus increasing the number of staff who are PIA trained to 28 in total including the 4 Assistant Service Managers.

Each of the Assistant Service Managers has management responsibility for one of the offices and a lead role in relation to service areas. During the year there were some changes made to these roles to accommodate the managerial changes.

The table below sets out areas of responsibility and lead offices that each of the Assistant Service Managers have been responsible for from 1st April 2014.

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