Practical Tips for Social Work Professionals: Assessments and Reports

One Stop Social have something exciting for all those who need guidance and tips in the Social Work world! This is a series of 8 blogs pieces giving advice, tricks, useful information and practical tips for social work professionals. In today’s blog we’ll be covering assessments and reports.

Below are 13 tips that will help you develop your assessment and report writing skills.

Keep a record of useful literary quotes

Keeping note of key academic quotes in a folder can come in handy when writing supporting statements.

Note deadlines in your online diary

Use your online diary to note assessment and report deadlines and mid-way points. It will act as a reminder and help you remain on target.

Avoid abbreviations

Try to use universal language- ‘DV’ for example, could mean domestic violence or diarrhoea and vomiting, depending on your professional teaching.

Ask for access to a good practice example

In order to meet your employers preferred report and assessment standard, it is imperative that you are fully aware of what is considered to be best practice. Accessing good practice examples can act as a valuable training and development resource.

Formatting

Don’t underestimate the importance of formatting as it provides structure and consistency to your report, facilitates adherence to practice standards and helps allow you to focus your efforts on the content. Good formatting also demonstrates you take pride in your work.

Avoid repetition

It is easy to think that repeating particular points in reports will emphasise their relevance however, it is important to remember that it is the analysis of the facts that will strengthen any recommendations.

Proofread your report

Proofreading is an integral part of report writing. Grammar and spelling errors will not be well-received, particularly if they are obvious mistakes such as misspelling a client name.

Be clear with your wording

Ensure that you can clearly distinguish between what is fact, observation, allegation and opinion.

Ask for feedback on your reports/assessments

Gaining feedback guides good practice and can assist with job satisfaction and productivity. It is important to know how others perceive your work and how you can improve the quality of your assessments. It also helps prevent individuals from becoming overly self-critical or self-congratulatory.

Never throw away your assessment notes/diaries

It is important to keep note of your thinking. You may not realise it but your observations and recordings could prove vital, particularly if an assessment is lost.

Traffic light priorities for your ‘to do’ list

Consider using a traffic light system to assist with time management –

• Red light priority equals vital and urgent

• Yellow light priority equals tasks that can be set aside and dealt with within a set timescale

• Green light priority equals tasks that are not time sensitive

Help develop a team resource library

Building a knowledge depository will help your team identify and access the most appropriate and effective resources (i.e. books and papers relating to best practice) and activities (i.e. games, worksheets and exercises) that suit the assessment at hand.

Keep things simple

If the task appears over complicated, it most likely is. Try to break down the assignment into its simplest form, focusing on what you are trying to achieve.

This post was written by Stef Lewis – Independent Social Worker at Atarah Assessment and Consultancy – http://www.myfosteringadvisor.co.uk/

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