Leadership And Management Development In Social Work Services

DescriptionReport of a Research Study undertaken by the Scottish Leadership Foundation on behalf of the Executive
ISBN
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateJuly 15, 2003

    Listen

    Leadership And Management Development In Social Work Services

    Report of a Research Study undertaken by the
    Scottish Leadership Foundation
    on behalf of the Scottish Executive

    Zoë van Zwanenberg
    January 2003

    SLF Logo

    This document is also available in pdf format (88k)

    Contents

    SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION
    SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY
    SECTION 3: CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR MANAGERS
    SECTION 4: MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
    SECTION 5: FUTURE SHAPE OF ORGANISATIONS
    SECTION 6: CHALLENGES FOR THE PROFESSION OF SOCIAL WORK
    SECTION 7: MANAGERIAL CHALLENGES
    SECTION 8: LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES
    SECTION 9: THE CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE
    SECTION 10: SUMMARY OF LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES
    SECTION 11 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIAL WORK SERVICES
    Literature review

    SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION

    1.1 In September 2002 the Social Work Services Inspectorate (SWSI) of the Scottish Executive (SE) commissioned the Scottish Leadership Foundation (SLF) to undertake a short research study on the career paths, training and development of social work services managers and leaders.

    1.2 The purpose of the study was in four parts:

    • identify the current career paths of those in management and leadership positions and gauge how these might need to change for the future;
    • identify current experience of leadership and management training and development and assess views from existing managers and leaders about what training and development would be needed for the future;
    • identify the critical challenges and changes facing social work services leaders and managers and how these would impact on their training and development needs in respect of management and leadership; and
    • provide recommendations for the development of a national training and development programme for first line and middle managers that would meet the needs identified in the research and build on the experience they have had to date.
    SECTION 2: METHODOLOGY

    2.1 The methodology for this study included ensuring that information was received from those individuals currently working in services as well as those involved in training professional staff and in the regulation of the profession and service delivery. This resulted in questionnaires being developed and sent out to staff in all these areas of work. These questionnaires were followed by a series of short interviews with key staff, and finally by a set of focus group discussions on future challenges for the services and their leaders and managers.

    2.2 The findings from this work were detailed at a national seminar held in December 2002, and further information was gathered at this seminar to add to the materials already collected.

    2.3 This work was supported by a literature review of new developments in service delivery and new thinking on leadership and management.

    2.4 The methodology was designed to ensure that the widest possible range of views were gathered to enable SLF to make robust recommendations at the conclusion of the study. To achieve this:

    • questionnaires were sent out to managers and leaders in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. Questionnaires were also sent to key staff in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and to the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care (Care Commission).
    • interviews were conducted with a number of senior managers and leaders in statutory social work service delivery settings and discussions were held with staff working in the voluntary sector.
    • focus groups were conducted with mixed groups, including representatives from partner organisations such as the Procurator Fiscal's Office, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education, NHS Scotland staff and representatives from independent organisations such as the Scottish Council Foundation.
    • literature was drawn from statutory and independent sources, reflecting existing and developing areas of policy and reviews of leadership and management issues.

    2.5 Questionnaires were sent to 32 local authorities and 40 voluntary and independent sector organisations. Returns were received from 18 local authorities and 19 voluntary sector organisations. The total number of questionnaires returned was not high, but sufficient to present a robust sample.

    Local Authorities

    Voluntary sector

    Chief Social Work Officers

    9

    Senior Managers

    23

    Senior Managers

    14

    First/middle managers

    27

    First/middle managers

    47

    2.6 In addition questionnaires were sent to HEIs involved in training and development for social work, and SSSC and the Care Commission. Responses from these organisations were very low, so the information was used as supplementary to and not as base material for the study.

    SECTION 3: CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR MANAGERS

    3.1 The aim of this part of the study was to ascertain the current 'normal' career path for managers in the statutory and voluntary sectors, to reflect the views of current managers and leaders on what career paths should look like for the future and to be able to make recommendations about how expectations and patterns of promotion and development may need to change.

    3.2 The questionnaires demonstrated clear differences in current career paths between managers in the statutory services and those working in the voluntary sector.

    3.3 Managers in the statutory sector were all drawn from within the social work profession, starting their careers as professionally trained social workers and moving from there through linear career progression within a hierarchical career model to first, middle, senior and finally Chief Social Work Officer positions.

    3.4 Voluntary sector managers came from a variety of backgrounds, and in a significant number of cases had their original professional training in another but related profession. The most common professions being occupational therapy, nursing or teaching. Progression continued to be linear in most cases, but there were some examples of a more varied career path, with sideways moves between projects being the most common variation.

    3.5 The majority of statutory sector managers at first and middle level management had also remained within their specific speciality in social work. Those that had started their careers as social workers in children's services or in the justice related services had tended to progress into management within those specialities.

    3.6 In the voluntary sector, in addition to managers being drawn from a number of different professional backgrounds, they had also a greater variety of experiences working in different specialisms within the social care professions and across different sectors. Almost without exception these managers had worked in both the statutory and independent sectors.

    3.7 Managers in the statutory sector who were currently working in community care had come from a wider range of service specialities, though the move from justice services to community care appeared to be less common than movement between children's services and community care.

    3.8 As stated in 3.6 in the voluntary sector movement between specialisms was far more common.

    3.9 At senior manager level within the statutory services this pattern of progression, i.e. of staying within a specialist field such as children's services, appeared to be maintained.

    3.10 In the voluntary sectors the variation in career pattern was common to all levels of management. However, there was a notably high proportion of first/middle level managers in project posts. The length of time spent in these posts varied between 3 months and 3 years, but very few lasted longer than three years. This high level of change-over was clearly related to the funding of specific projects and may be one of the factors impacting on the variations in career paths noted in these sectors.

    3.11 At Chief Social Work Officer level in the statutory services this pattern of remaining within a speciality was notably different. Chief Social Work Officers had a wide range of experience, crossing specialisms within social work services and adding to this with experience working outside the statutory services in either the independent or academic sectors. This difference raised questions about recent developments in the organisation and management of social work services in the statutory sector, and whether changes in legislation, in particular the pressure on specialist knowledge in such areas as child protection, has led to a reduction in movement between both specialisms and sectors.

    3.12 When it came to the views of managers and leaders on what was required to support successful career progression all sectors and all levels of management were in agreement. The questionnaires asked managers to indicate whether or not they felt the following areas of experience should be actively encouraged:

    • experience of working in different sectors, i.e. statutory, academic and independent;
    • opportunities for secondments in different specialities and different sectors;
    • experience of working in multi-professional teams; and
    • experience of working in different specialisms. i.e. children's services, criminal justice and community care.

    There was uniform agreement that all four of these options should be actively developed and encouraged to ensure that managers in the future had the widest possible range of experience.

    3.13 These views, drawn from current managers, raise a number of critical issues for senior managers concerned with the recruitment and development of staff. The specific recommendations which resulted from the questionnaires and interviews are detailed below:

    • Enable easy movement between sectors. To achieve this there would need to be recognition of the value of such experience and over time some equalisation in terms and conditions of service. This would involve considerations beyond salary levels to issues such as pensions provision etc. In the short term, facilitation of movement from the independent sectors back into the statutory sector will require positive support from senior managers. Movement in the other direction seems to operate successfully already.

    Development of an active secondment programme between sectors. The need to establish such a programme was clearly highlighted. Secondments could be from 3 months to 2 years, dependent on the particular project or area of service delivery concerned. Secondments may provide a route to creating more movement without having to get entangled in the complex area of major changes to terms and conditions of employment.

    • Development of staff expectations of the new desired shape of careers in future. If movement such as that outlined above is to be achieved then maps of successful careers need to demonstrate how such variation in experience adds value.

    3.15 Finally the issues of breadth and depth were raised. All managers taking part in the survey reflected on this issue without giving any clear answers apart from wishing to ensure that opportunities are put in place for staff to either follow a specialist line or to develop a more generalist and broader experience. Most managers reflected that in their view there would always be a need for some specialist managers, particularly in children's services and criminal justice, but that the current balance was not right and that this was hampering the development of cross-organisational working particularly in the area of community care.

    SECTION 4: MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

    4.1 The second part of the questionnaire focused on the management and leadership training and development that managers had received to date. Managers were also asked to reflect on what had been most useful to them and what they had taken from formal training back to the workplace and how this had been supported.

    4.2 Immediate issues of note included the very different experiences of formal training and development currently recorded between both the different levels of management and the different sectors. Senior managers and Chief Social Work Officers were most likely to have had significant postgraduate training in leadership and management. However for the senior staff in the statutory sector this had been largely social work specific. The voluntary sectors senior staff were more likely to have taken more general management and leadership training, including distance-learning programmes such as those offered by the Open University (OU).

    4.3 For first line and middle managers much of the training and development received had been procedurally focused and delivered in-house. A high proportion of these managers from all sectors had had most of their training and development in four short course areas:

    • recruitment and selection;
    • grievance and discipline;
    • absence management; and
    • health and safety.

    They had received little training and development on a more generic basis, and the procedural programmes undertaken, whilst many were multi-disciplinary, were inevitably focused on the policies and procedures of the single employing organisation.

    4.4 Details of the sort of experience are given in the tables below:

    Statutory Agencies

    Postgraduate training

    Training involving staff from other professions

    Training provided in-house

    Chief Social Work Officers

    80%

    50%

    Not stated

    Senior Managers

    Less than 50%

    50%

    High proportion

    First/middle managers

    Less than 20%

    50%

    High proportion procedural training


    Voluntary Sector

    Postgraduate training

    Training involving staff from other professions

    Training provided in-house

    Senior managers

    80%

    Mostly yes

    50%

    First/middle managers

    Less than 20%

    National Examining Board Management and OU

    Yes for procedural training

    4.5 Analysis of the subject areas covered in this training and development revealed some important differences between the levels of management and between the different sectors. The detailed areas of management and leadership explored were:

    • change management - the theory and practice of successful change management;
    • partnership working - theory and practice of working in partnerships for service delivery;
    • cross-organisational working - working, leading or managing teams that involved staff from a number of different organisations;
    • multi-professional teams - working, leading or managing teams of staff drawn from a range of different professions, who may or may not be working in the same organisation;
    • complex change - change issues that involve a number of different elements from political and strategic to service planning and delivery;
    • stress management - both for the manager themselves and for their staff groups;
    • personal impact - training and development on issues such as personal image and impact, influencing style and negotiating skills; and
    • leadership - exploration of leadership issues for the individual and their organisation.

    4.6 Clear differences were highlighted between different levels of management and these are particularly significant when compared with the critical challenges experienced and predicted by these managers in terms of future working.

    Statutory sector

    Change mgt

    Partnership

    Cross-organisation

    Multi-prof teams

    Chief Social Work Officers

    yes

    yes

    yes

    80% yes

    Senior Managers

    yes

    80% yes

    30% yes

    40% yes

    First/middle managers

    80% yes

    60% yes

    30% yes

    20% yes

    Statutory sector

    Complex change

    Stress management

    Personal impact

    Leadership

    Chief Social Work Officers

    yes

    yes

    yes

    Yes

    Senior Managers

    40% yes

    60% yes

    yes

    90% yes

    First/middle managers

    25% yes

    50% yes

    50% yes

    70% yes

    Voluntary
    sector

    Change management

    Partnership

    Cross organisation

    Multi-Professional Teams

    Senior managers

    yes

    yes

    60% yes

    50% yes

    First/middle managers

    85% yes

    80% yes

    40% yes

    40%yes

    Voluntary
    sector

    Complex change

    Stress management

    Personal impact

    Leadership

    Senior managers

    40% yes

    50% yes

    80% yes

    Yes

    First/middle managers

    50% yes

    80% yes

    70% yes

    Yes

    4.7 Managers were then asked what had helped them most in the past - ranging from formal training to other developmental experiences. There was general agreement from managers of all levels and from all sectors that the most critical developmental support was gained from the following listed in order of frequency and priority:

    • role models;
    • mentors;
    • coaching on the job;
    • peer support;
    • good quality training;
    • learning from and with others, including other professional groups; and
    • learning from different situations.

    4.8 The final area of questioning for this section concerned the recommendations the respondents gave concerning the provision of formal management and leadership development for the future. Respondents were given a number of options and asked to indicate all of those that they would wish to see. They were not asked to make choices between them. The categories offered were:

    • a qualification based formal training programme;
    • a formal mentoring scheme; and
    • an action learning approach, without formal qualifications. Within this category they were asked to indicate whether they would wish the action learning group to be offered to social work staff only or drawn from different professional groups.

    Statutory sector

    Qualification based programme

    Mentor programme

    Action learning programme

    Social work only

    Multi-Professional

    Chief Social Work Officers

    No

    yes

    Yes

    No

    Yes

    Senior Managers

    50% yes

    60% yes

    50% yes

    50% yes

    60% yes

    First/middle managers

    50% yes

    40% yes

    60% yes

    50% yes

    80% yes

    Voluntary Sector

    Qualification based programme

    Mentor programme

    Action learning programme

    Social work only

    Multi-professional

    Senior managers

    Yes

    Yes

    Not sure

    No

    80% yes

    First/middle managers

    Yes

    Yes

    Yes

    50% yes

    50% yes

    Note: 1. The figures in these tables represent the percentage of respondents to that question and therefore totals will not add up to 100%.

    4.9 The results of this enquiry demonstrate the importance of any formal training programme being supplemented by work-based interventions such as mentoring and/or action learning. However, the difference between the sectors concerning the need for a qualification based programme is important. This may relate to the issues of movement between sectors, where progression from voluntary services to the statutory services is seen to be more problematic than movement in the other direction.

    4.10 Finally in this section the support for action learning is worthy of note, and in particular the level of support for that learning to involve staff from other professional groups. This is clearly likely to be an area of growing need that could be addressed at a local level. It is worth noting that a number of local authority areas are starting to do this, in particular with their NHS Scotland colleagues. There is less involvement of the independent sector at this stage and this may be an area for future development.

    SECTION 5: FUTURE SHAPE OF ORGANISATIONS

    5.1 The questionnaires and interviews were designed to allow individual managers to reflect on the challenges they expect to face in the next five years so as to identify key challenges that might be addressed through training and development, and also to identify any significant differences in how the future was viewed between different groups of managers.

    5.2 Chief Social Work Officers in local authorities, both through their questionnaire responses and through interviews, presented a unified voice on the key challenges for the next five years namely:

    • steady move towards flatter structures bringing problems of reduced capacity for planning, quality assurance and performance management. These three areas of work were seen as critical for the future role of local authorities as planners and commissioners rather than providers of service;
    • new structures of partnership and possibly unified structures linking health and social work staff flowing from the further development of the Joint Future agenda. Such structures were seen as being based on localities. This also raised issues about numbers and roles of specialist staff;
    • further development of the integration agenda across community care (integration with health services), children's services (integration with education) and justice (integration with other parts of the justice services such as police and prison services);
    • underpinning all of the above the need to develop greater skills and abilities in partnership working, multi-disciplinary and multi-professional working; and
    • continuing drive for more outcome focused work, from planning and commissioning through to service delivery and performance management.

    5.3 For senior managers in local authorities many of the challenges were seen to be the same, but with a greater emphasis on immediate staffing issues namely:

    • further development of the Joint Future agenda with consequent moves towards single structures for health and social work;
    • integration impacting all core services, community care, children's services and justice services;
    • ongoing changes to children's services, in particular around child protection issues;
    • significant issues around skills and abilities to lead and manage multi-disciplinary or multi-professional teams;
    • fears about the impact on the structure of social work services and the future of the profession, particularly if the current social work structures within local authorities, were to disappear as a result of the pressures to integrate with other services, for example health and education; and
    • loss of specialist staff to more generalist posts. This focused on the need to maintain balance between breadth and depth of knowledge and to have the room within organisational structures to encourage both.

    5.4 For first line and middle managers the issues focused predominantly on the need to maintain the professional role of the social worker as the agendas around integration and partnership continue to develop. This raised a consistent theme throughout the study about how social work services managers could and should identify the unique added value of social work, its specific knowledge, skills and values and its relationship to other professional and organisational groups. The specific concerns raised by this group of staff were:

    • possible change of employer resulting from further development of the Joint Future agenda and the impact of this on professional supervision and management;
    • issues about future careers arising from potential integration with health and/or education services;
    • issues about future careers and management roles as public/private partnerships develop further;
    • increasing emphasis on child protection rather than childcare leading to change in the profile and management of children's services;
    • issues for the professional standing of social work and the role of the individual as they increasingly become involved in multi-professional teams where social work is not taking the lead role; and
    • possible implications for social work services of possible further re-organisations in local government.

    5.5 From the perspective of the voluntary sector the challenges presented were different. In the main it had very specific concerns about the design and delivery of services and how to recruit, train and retain sufficient staff. The differences in views between the voluntary and statutory sectors raises important issues about the level of understanding between these managers around the pressures they are each facing. The specific issues raised by senior, middle and first line managers in the voluntary sector were:

    • changing structure of commissioning and the impact of multiple short term funded projects (3 years or less);
    • increase in focus on outcomes and what this means for performance management and service design;
    • increase in partnership working across sector and organisational boundaries and the impact for this on managers and leaders of services;
    • rapid growth of the voluntary sector and the development of an increasingly competitive market. This also raised issues about the management of growth and the impact of competitive tendering on long term service planning;
    • impact of increased regulation of care services. This impact being perceived as both a potential limiting factor and a financial burden e.g. the need to achieve registration for residential managers; and
    • impact of individualised care planning on service planning, commissioning and design.

    5.6 Recurrent themes in this area were the role of professionally qualified social workers and social work service managers in an integrated service delivery world characterised by a range of cross-professional and cross-organisational partnerships and the continuing and continuous change agenda and the impact of current and emergent policy on service design and service management.

    SECTION 6: CHALLENGES FOR THE PROFESSION OF SOCIAL WORK

    6.1 In this section managers reflected on the specific issues for them arising from organisational and policy changes which impact specifically on social workers and social work services managers.

    6.2 For local authority staff at all levels the issues of the unique values and attributes of social work as a profession were a major concern. For Chief Social Work Officers this presented itself as the following key challenges:

    • building the profile and self-confidence of the profession and promoting its unique added value;
    • raising the game as social work moves towards being a graduate profession;
    • retaining social work values and their contribution to better services in processes such as Single Shared Assessment and joint working;
    • improving the quality of practice to reflect the emphasis on evidence based practice and research; and
    • building and developing a care management culture that reflects the core values of social work and centres on the needs of the users and carers.

    6.3 For senior managers in local authorities the issues about core values were equally important but reflected most acutely in issues of recruitment and retention where social work is seen to be competing with the other professions. Social work is currently perceived to lack sufficient status and value resulting in a lack of high quality candidates being attracted into the profession. These issues presented themselves as four key challenges:

    • maintaining social work values and professional identity;
    • maintaining professional standards and core values despite recruitment and retention difficulties;
    • ensuring staff are registered and encouraged to maintain their professional practice through continuous professional development; and
    • managing the impact of becoming a graduate profession.

    6.4 For first line and middle managers in local authorities these themes of social work values and the unique place of social work in the context of increasing integration with other professional groups continued to be the central focus. One notable issue is the perception that social work has lost credibility as a profession and that this makes both establishing and maintaining a place for social work a challenge, but also impacts on issues of recruitment and retention. The core challenges were seen to be:

    • delivering quality services that reflect core values, but working with and through multi-professional teams;
    • resourcing to meet registration requirements and the impact on service planning, commissioning and delivery;
    • regaining credibility as a profession; and
    • maintaining the distinct professional values and contribution of social work.

    6.5 For the voluntary sector managers the central issues were around recruitment and retention of staff and their impact on the competitive edge of each organisation in an increasingly crowded market. This group also highlighted a key concern as that of one profession accepting and acting on the judgement of another. They described their professional challenges as follows:

    • delivering quality services with low paid basic grade staff. This was seen as one of the challenges arising from the need to continuously review and reduce costs in the light of increasing demand and reduced or static funding;
    • recruiting and retaining a well trained and professional workforce in a competitive market;
    • impact of registration of services and staff and inspection of services on both workloads and costs;
    • accepting assessments from other professions; and
    • retaining social work values and professional standards as partnership and joint working increase.

    6.6 The challenges for managers and leaders of being able to articulate and advocate the unique nature of social work values and the core skills of the profession were clearly a major concern, and any management or leadership development work that results from this study will need to keep this in focus.

    SECTION 7: MANAGERIAL CHALLENGES

    7.1 This focused specifically on management issues such as team, staff and financial management alongside service planning, commissioning and performance management. The intention of the questions was to elicit whether or not this was an area that should be given some focused training and development. The issues raised by the various groups suggests that some tailored training and development in this area would be valuable.

    7.2 For Chief Social Work Officers in local authorities the major managerial challenges were seen to be:

    • managing social work services through multi-professional teams where social work is not in the lead;
    • sharing financial resources and partnership working - specifically service planning, service management and performance assessment;
    • need to increase delegation and devolution of responsibility whilst giving an appropriate level of support within flatter structures and reducing numbers of senior staff; and
    • the staff, financial and performance issues of managing across organisational boundaries.

    7.3 For senior managers in local authorities the issues focused very clearly on people management and human resources. Specific reference was made to the unresolved human resource issues around pay, terms and conditions of employment within the Joint Future arena (this was reported on separately by a specific review group in 2002 2).

    • managing and leading multi-professional and multi-organisational teams to deliver service redesign and change, where the core human resource issues have not been resolved;
    • impact of joint resourcing and joint management on all aspects of the management role - most notably financial planning, accountability and governance; and
    • skills and abilities to manage across professional and organisational boundaries.

    2. Report of the Integrated Human Resources Working Group - Scottish Executive 2002.

    7.4 For first line and middle managers these human resource and financial management issues were clearly to the fore. For this group these issues presented in very practical day to day issues over design of services, relationships between professionals working within the same team and the practical decision making around shared budgets:

    • managing mixed teams, with different professional expectations and different management expectations;
    • integration or partnership working and its practical implications for decision making and professional judgement;
    • managing or being part of complex multi-professional teams in the context of complex multi-organisational working;
    • managing joint/shared resources in partnerships, and resolving the accountability, responsibility and governance issues; and
    • meeting targets and maintaining quality when you do not have control over all the team or all the resources.

    7.5 For the voluntary sector the issues raised were much the same, but overlaid with problems about recruiting and retaining staff of the right quality and capability. This group also highlighted the problems of developing and maintaining a client or person centred approach to the work, as the context for working with each individual becomes more complex:

    • practical implications of partnership working - how work is designed, commissioned and managed on a day-to-day basis;
    • recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce in the face of increasing competition and changing demography;
    • setting and maintaining service standards, when staffing is difficult and where you do not have control over the work of some of your partners;
    • developing person centred approaches within funding streams;
    • The impact of Direct Payments on the design and delivery of services and how they are to be funded in the future; and
    • developing collaborative practice and managing/monitoring performance of individuals and services.

    7.6 In managerial terms all those responding felt that what training and development they had received on general management subjects had not addressed the complexities of new and evolving working arrangements. The desire for management development that made use of case studies and practical approaches to these complexities, rather than just the approaches that focus on management where direction and control is linear, would clearly be greatly welcomed.

    SECTION 8: LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES

    8.1 All the staff that responded to the questionnaires raised the issue of the appropriateness of current models of leadership. Most of the respondents had had some form of leadership development or had some awareness of leadership models. However, for most of them, those models were based on situations were the 'leader' had control in a managerial sense of all the staff and resources required to achieve the tasks. The issue for respondents was that they are required to take a leadership role - giving a clear view of the future, setting direction, style and approach, leading change and taking people with them - in situations where many of the key players and the resources are not under their direct control. There was therefore an acute need to explore different models of leadership and their application to the complex arena in which these staff groups are now working.

    8.2 For Chief Social Work Officers in local authorities these leadership challenges presented themselves in the following ways:

    • leading across the interface between professional, political and executive leadership - understanding the demands of those different roles and how they interact;
    • developing the skills to work in the different arenas in a coherent and 'joined-up' way;
    • leading complex partnerships;
    • leading cultural change and in particular leading the development of a learning culture that will support staff in a continuously changing environment; and
    • creating confidence in multi-professional teams.

    8.3 For the senior managers the challenge of leadership also raised the issue of professional identify and the need to the lead the social work profession in such a way as to heighten its profile and emphasise its unique added value. This was an added dimension to the issues highlighted by the Chief Social Work Officers and one that was a recurring theme throughout the study. The specific challenges for this group were summarised as:

    • leading across organisational boundaries with separate governance arrangements;
    • keeping focus on the social work agenda so it is not a sub-set of either health or education;
    • leading partnerships;
    • building confidence in the social work profession; and
    • leading multi-professional teams.

    8.4 For first line and middle managers the issues of blurred boundaries between roles and responsibilities of the different professional and organisational groups raised the

    question of 'what does leadership mean?' The group summarised their challenges or concerns as:

    • leading teams across professional and organisational boundaries;
    • leading when responsibilities and roles are blurred and the role of the leader is not clear-cut in terms of designated position; and
    • supporting and leading front line staff through change and uncertainty.

    8.5 For the voluntary sector the challenges were much the same, but with the added dimension of perceptions of the voluntary sector about their standing in relation to the statutory sector. For this group the issues of equality of voice and shared leadership were very strong namely:

    • leading partnerships at all levels and across statutory/voluntary sector boundaries;
    • leading and delivering clarity of service style where there are multiple perspectives on what care is and should be;
    • leading reluctant partners; and
    • developing perceptions of the voluntary sector so that they are seen as equal leaders/partners.

    8.6 Every group raised the issue of user and carer involvement and what their role is and should be in the design and delivery of care. This led to issues of inclusion not just with their partners in the provision of social work services but in partnership with those who are in receipt of services i.e. users and carers.

    8.7 For all of the groups involved in the study these leadership issues were further complicated by a series of other key challenges that were seen to have direct impact on the leadership role:

    • range and pace of change;
    • impact of demographic change on demand and on availability of a wide range of staff;
    • rising expectations of the range and quality of service provision that should be available and how these expectations can and should be managed nationally, regionally and locally;
    • managing the impact of the media and developing the public image of social work services;
    • the impact of legislative and regulatory change on roles and responsibilities; and
    • impact of the Care Commission on the design, quality and quantity of services.

    8.8 Finally the respondents in the study raised the personal leadership challenges that concerned them. For the majority of respondents the impression given was that little or no time had been spent on issues of personal development and support and that part

    of the problem for them was being able to create this time. Many of the respondents reflected on the contribution their training and development as Practice Teachers had had in terms of their understanding the professional supervisory role. However, they were unclear about how these skills translated across to support themselves and others as leaders. This also raised issues of confusion around the leadership role, in particular the question of combining leadership and professional supervision - is this (a) possible and (b) desirable?

    8.9 Specific issues raised on the personal challenge issues were:

    • what sort of leader am I and what sort of leader do I want and need to be?
    • what should be the distinguishing features of leadership for the social work services and for me as an individual professional?
    • what are the core capabilities/competencies for a leader in social work services?
    • how do I combine my role as a professional supervisor with my role as a leader of a multi-professional team?
    • what impact do I have and what impact do I need to have? and
    • how do I maintain energy and motivation in myself so that I can maintain the energy and motivation of the teams I am working with?

    8.10 The desire for tailored leadership development for social work services managers was very strong, but tempered with a need to combine this with joint work with key partners from other professional groups, in particular health and education.

    SECTION 9: THE CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE

    9.1. This study also looked at the future of the three principal areas of service delivery - children and families services, criminal justice and community care by means of :

    • a restricted review of the literature; and
    • a number of small focus groups interviews with a number of senior staff concerned with future strategic development of services.

    9.2 The study uncovered pressures which reflected the embattled feeling experienced by many of the professionals engaged in social work services. For many of these staff the pressure was not just changes in legislation or practice, but the impact of other professions such as education, justice and health. For social work services managers the clarity of the role and unique contribution of social work to the development of delivery of services in these three areas was becoming very blurred.

    9.3 Children and Families Services

    9.3.1 Changes in the pattern of delivery with the introduction of New Community Schools and the mainstreaming of children with special educational needs raised significant concerns about how focus could and should be maintained on the most vulnerable children. For the professionals with clear specialisms in children and families there was a strong feeling that this group was being marginalised.

    9.3.2 This raised the issue of the balance between specialised and general or integrated services and consequently the balance of professionals who specialise and have depth of knowledge, skills and experience against those who have a wider experience across a range of client groups and therefore bring a different perspective to the work.

    9.3.3 The increasing impact of child protection issues was seen to have the potential to detract from the broader perspective of preventative and developmental work with families. It was felt that there needed to be a reaffirmation of the focus on the needs of the child within the context of the whole family, and that the family part of the services was getting lost.

    9.3.4 For all the individuals involved in these discussions there was a major issue about how the impact of services could and should be measured. The imposition of primarily numeric targets was seen as problematic. How to ensure appropriate qualitative targets and measures are in place and are shared with partners such as education was recognised to be challenging and an area requiring significant development.

    9.3.5 The importance of the Social Inclusion agenda and how this is kept in focus in the development of services for children and families was also raised. This raised the issues of the balance between specialist and generalist services, and the long-term preventative work that needs to support the immediate work of child protection.

    9.3.6 For many of those involved in the discussions the question of how the different reviews can be brought together to provide a coherent approach to children and families was of great significance. Specific reviews discussed included: Child Protection Review, Youth Crime Review and Adoption Review. The fear that the resultant legal and regulatory frameworks may end up being inherently contradictory was very real, and this raised issues for the groups of their leadership and influence role in ensuring that the results of these reviews are 'joined-up'.

    9.3.7 The groups wished to see a reaffirmation of the Children First approach to creating a needs led service. They wanted to explore how this would feature in the partnership work with education and in particular in the development of New Community Schools, and they wanted to see this further reinforced in emerging legal and regulatory frameworks.

    9.3.8 The major issue for all the individuals and groups we spoke with, from both social work services and education was the need for strong leadership in relation to children's issues. This leadership should be visible at a national and political level as well as at a local and regional level.

    9.3.9 Successful leadership for children and families would ensure:

    • strategic visioning linked to operational realities;
    • clear outcome focus;
    • research informing evidence based practice and practice development;
    • excellent professional supervision linked to a supportive and learning leadership culture;
    • partnership working supported by skills in prioritising, resource management and relationship building;
    • partnership working at all professional levels from training grades to strategic leaders;
    • strong clear role models with a clear developmental and learning profile; and
    • clear examples of the benefits for children of successful multi-professional team working.

    9.4 Criminal Justice

    9.4.1 The importance of developing models of practice that have a preventative focus, but do not lead to discriminatory or "ghettoising" behaviours. The drive for this work needs to be the identification of vulnerable individuals or families and the provision then of the support and developmental services necessary to help them overcome the problems. This was seen to be a difficult area of work politically and the need for debate and discussion, supported by learning from other countries, was highlighted. This learning should be conducted on a cross organisational, cross- professional basis.

    9.4.2 The focus group work on this area of service highlighted some very acute differences in professional values and perspective. This was most notable with three groups:

    • Procurator Fiscal's focus attention on the provision of evidence and protection of the public interest;
    • Reporters to the Scottish Children's Hearings System focus on what is best for the child; and
    • social work strives to maintain an holistic approach to the whole family.

    The values that underpin these approaches are very similar, but the difference in focus is rarely fully explored or understood which leads to real problems in partnership working.

    9.4.3 The increasing demands in working with substance misuse will demand more resources and lead to more complex partnership working. The experience of Drug and Alcohol Action Teams to date indicates that developing a coherent approach to substance misuse across the different agencies in a specific geographic locality is critical, but that this also needs to take the community with it. This raised the issue not just of community involvement and community perception but also of the relationship between the different professional groups and the media.

    9.4.4 Successful leadership for services involved with criminal justice would include:

    • role models that evidence the professional profile of social work services and
    • its contribution and thereby develop greater confidence in the profession;
    • role models and service models of successful practice;
    • evidence of strong partnerships leading to successful outcomes;
    • social work services leaders in the vanguard of integration with other services, without losing specialist expertise;
    • evidence of excellent risk assessment and risk management;
    • examples of successful community involvement and media management; and
    • examples of leadership in negotiating, questioning, leading change and managing transition with the focus on the outcomes for service users and the wider community.

    9.5 Community Care

    9.5.1 In this area of service the Joint Future agenda was clearly to the forefront of people's minds. The potential for this work to lead to changes to organisational structures raised a number of fears, the most prevalent being a fear of take-over by health professionals. On the other hand many could also see opportunities in the development of locality based practice and in particular the contribution that this could make to more coherent service planning for specific communities and the links that could then be made between local service planning and broader community planning initiatives. The development of locality based management offers real opportunities for meaningful community involvement and active user/carer participation at the design stage of service delivery.

    9.5.2 On an immediate basis the responsibility, accountability and governance issues of moving toward shared budgeting/resourcing and shared management of services was a major area of discussion. The need for examples of successful integration without loss of professional identity was raised repeatedly.

    9.5.3 This raised the detailed issue of Single Shared Assessment and the relationship between professional groups and their willingness to accept the judgements of others. There was a clear question about a hidden hierarchy of professions with the medical profession being seen, or perhaps seeing itself, at the top and social work services tending to see itself as being at the bottom. Solutions to this ranged from more joint training at entry level including the potential of generic training across all the 'caring professions', to development of successful joint working at a casework level, exploring and exposing the working relationships of the various individuals.

    9.5.4 The major future development that was seen to raise challenges was the impact of Direct Payments and individual care planning on the planning and commissioning of services. The introduction of Direct Payments was seen as an area of potential conflict between commissioning and providing bodies, both in how care is specified and how delivery is measured and monitored without developing a new bureaucracy or industry of measurement.

    9.5.5 This was further complicated by the growth of the provider market and its increasing competitiveness. With the demographic changes that will impact on this area of work, there are issues of balance between cost, quality and quantity of service provision. Whilst development in the regulation and inspection of care services will help with this balance the potential conflict between the needs of the individual and the needs of the group will require careful attention.

    9.5.6 Finally the issue of supply in terms of specialist skills was raised in the context of movement towards locality-based management. Unrealistic expectations may be raised about every locality having specialists in every area of work, but this is unlikely to be achievable, and the cross-locality management of specialist will have to be addressed in addition to multi-professional team management and leadership at locality level.

    9.5.7 Successful leadership for community care would therefore include:

    • role models of successful leadership of multi-professional teams;
    • role models or examples of successful leadership across organisational boundaries;
    • examples of successful leadership where lines of accountability and responsibility are not clear, but outcomes are being delivered;
    • successful implementation of Direct Payments with clear benefits for users and carers;
    • role of models of leadership of the profession within the context of a multi-professional team; and
    • role models that demonstrate the unique values, knowledge and skills of social work and social work services and its contribution to achieving successful outcomes in a multi-professional, multi-organisational context.
    SECTION 10: SUMMARY OF LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES

    10.1 The study clearly identified some common threads as far as the challenges for social work services leadership and management are concerned. These can be summarised as follows:

    • leading with confidence in professional knowledge, skills and values - this will require a re-iteration of the unique contribution of social work to the spectrum of care professionals;
    • leading multi-professional and multi-organisational teams, with a clear focus on achieving successful outcomes for users and cares;
    • developing greater understanding, skill and experience in planning, commissioning and managing services with a multiplicity of providers;
    • developing skills and experience of service design and delivery in an increasingly competitive and growing market;
    • leading change and transition, where there is no specified end state;
    • leading for continuous improvement and learning both within the profession and across linked professions;
    • maintaining and developing skills in and focus on the individual model of care;
    • maintaining and developing drive for quality outcomes in terms of the individual, the family and the community; and
    • taking the lead in collaborative ventures such as community planning and community participation at locality level.

    10.2 Underpinning all of this was a need for robust management skills in such areas as planning, commissioning, budgeting, financial management, human resource management and change management.

    10.3 The key theme about focus on the unique values and contribution of social work and social work services in the context of increasing demand for partnership working led the research team to look at the explicit competency and capability models in existence for the other key professional groups. It was noticeable that NHSScotland, Education and Police have all developed competency models for leaders and managers. Some of these are supported by behavioural indicators, but the very fact that they all exist gives those professional groups confidence in what is expected of them. It would be clearly beneficial for social work services managers and leaders to have their own competency or capability profile that matched against those of the other professions and thereby helped them see the commonalities between the professions rather than focusing primarily on the differences.

    SECTION 11 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIAL WORK SERVICES

    11.1 The research team was asked to provide recommendations on the type of leadership and management development that should be provided to help social work services managers meet the challenges identified in the body of the report. These recommendations fall into three key areas: principles, suggested outline and suggested format.

    11.2 Principles

    • development of a specifically commissioned programme for first line and middle managers in social work services across local authority and voluntary sectors;
    • programme to be delivered by reputable providers with strong academic and practical credibility;
    • programme to combine well researched and leading edge theory, particularly around leadership and partnership, with skills development and practice;
    • programme to have potential to attract some form of certification or academic credits;
    • programme that will build on and reiterate core values and professional standards of social work services and their unique contribution to the delivery of successful care outcomes;
    • programme that will enable participants to experience and practice the skills required for leading multi-professional and multi-organisational teams;
    • programme that will support development of individual learning skills and contribute towards development of a learning culture;
    • programme that will engage other professional groups at key stages;
    • programme that will involve staff from statutory and voluntary sectors;
    • programme design that is modular - to make release easier and maximise application of learning to practice;
    • programme that has the potential to be sustainable - opportunity should be taken to develop trainers at local level who can use materials and/or complete modules for the further development of key staff at local level. This could offer the opportunity for multi-professional and cross-organisational training and development;
    • programme that is transferable i.e. can be used in different professional settings;
    • programme should combine personal development, reflection and learning with core subject teaching and skills development; and
    • programme should have direct relationship to the key challenges outlined in this study, using case studies, simulations, scenarios and other techniques.

    11.3 Suggested Outline

    The suggested outline is an attempt to pull together the key issues raised during the study:

    • personal development - to include 360 degree feedback, personal review of challenges, personal development plan with key milestones, identification of personal coach or mentor;
    • personal impact development - influencing skills, negotiating skills, communication skills, developing personal profile and resilience;
    • core curriculum - to include critical, strategic and creative thinking, planning, including specification, commissioning and contracting, accountability, responsibility and governance, management of budgets, staff standards and quality, measurement and monitoring of outcomes;
    • team leadership - to include leading as a professional within a team, leading a multi-professional team, leading across organisational boundaries, leading culture change to develop a learning culture;
    • change and transitions - leading change, managing the politics of change, managing transitions;
    • managing performance - specifying outcomes, quantitative measure, qualitative measures, managing performance for continuous improvement; and
    • building relationships - collaborative working, models and practices of partnership, leading mergers and service integration.

    11.4 Suggested Format

    • personal review - feedback and identification of key challenges and learning needs;
    • modules of learning using well evidenced and researched theory, supported by case studies;
    • skills development modules or part modules using simulations and scenarios to build on theoretical knowledge;
    • mentoring throughout the programme;
    • opportunities for visits, shadowing and facilitated reflection;
    • opportunities for action learning and group reflection;
    • no module to be longer than three days;
    • each module to combine theory and practice;
    • simulations to be based on real challenges e.g. planning for direct payments, implementing the Single Shared Assessment, joint planning etc;
    • introductory module to focus on personal feedback, identification of key challenges and personal development plan;
    • no more than 6 further modules;
    • programme to be planned over a 10 month period; and
    • final module to include personal learning review.

    11.5 Potential additional features

    • action learning sets to continue working outside formal modules and focus on real issues and putting theory into practice;
    • benchmarking visits to see leadership in action in different sectors and using different models of leadership
    • e-based knowledge sharing - working across both cohorts to share and capture learning; and
    • e-based learning sets.
    Literature review

    Local authority? How to develop leadership for better public services.
    Danny Chesterman with Matthew Horn.
    Demos 2002

    Working Together - Creating a better environment for cross-sector partnerships.
    Ben Jupp
    Demos 2000

    From Welfare to Wellbeing - the future of social care.
    Edited by Liz Kendall and Lisa Harker.
    IPPR 2002

    Learning at the Top - a report on the Management Development Needs of Chief Social Work Officers working in the voluntary sector in Scotland.
    SCVO 2001

    Changing for the Future - Social Work Services for the 21 st Century
    Scottish Executive 2000
    www.scotland.gov.uk.library3/social/tlr-00.asp.11k

    Better Care for all our Futures.
    Scottish Executive 2001

    Review of Care Management in Scotland.
    Scottish Executive 2002

    Partners in Policymaking - the way to make a difference.
    Scottish Human Services 2001