Recording skills exercises
||Law into practice 1: General principles
of recording and data protection
||Law into practice 2: confidentiality and
||Law into practice 3: Access to information
and sharing records
||Fact ... or professional judgement?
||Relevant ... or not?
||Towards inclusive recording
||Assessing and analysing information in
||Planning and reviewing progress in records
You are asked to complete the following eight exercises
and keep notes of your thoughts and reflections when doing
them; similarly, please keep a copy of your own attempts
at recording which are prompted by each of the exercises.
Remember to bring your notes and recordings with you when
you discuss them with your colleagues.
The material in the exercises is either taken from actual
records or it was generated in training exercises with social
workers and other professionals involved in children's services.
We decided to do this because they have greater authenticity
than if we had 'made them up'. We are not claiming, however,
that the examples are representative of all social work
recording in the 21st century.
All extracts have been anonymised to protect family members.
We have also disguised some of them so that the writers
are also protected but there is a remote possibility that
you could see in the exercises something that looks like
an extract which you wrote - therefore don't tell anyone,
because, unless you do, they are unlikely ever to know!
The main point of these materials is to stress that we
can always improve our recording; few of us can honestly
say that we are entirely happy with the way we record. As
an introductory exercise have a look at some of your own
recording (preferably over as long a period of time as possible)
and ask yourself two questions:
At the beginning of each exercise we ask you to rate your
own knowledge and skills in respect of the topic; we then
ask you to answer the same question after doing the exercise.
Finally, before making a start, have a think about the
following quote from one of the first researchers into recording
and access to records - John Øvretveit - who wrote:
The research concluded that a
social worker cannot write a 'good record' unless they can:
decide which is relevant to observe; decide what information
is required to understand the background and causes of the
problem; select and summarise the most important aspects
of a case and define the . . . focus of the work; define
the aims of their intervention in a way in which they and
others can later judge the extent to which aims have been
achieved; define the actions and tasks which they will undertake.
These abilities are also necessary for 'good' social work
practice, and improving records is at the same time a way
of improving social work. (Øvretveit,
What do you think - do you agree? Although we consider
that the 'recording' of social work and the work itself
are interlinked, nevertheless, when preparing these exercises
we have concentrated on what social workers write and not
on the different ways they practice.