University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
1. Be able to address the range of communication requirement in own role
1.1 Review the range of groups and individuals whose communication needs must be addressed in own job role. Working within Surestart I work with many groups and individuals whose communication needs must be addressed which include 16 staff members, services users to date we have 1700 families registered with Surestart. We would have a lot of communication with Health visitors regarding referrals that they have sent in and also follow up telephone calls if there is any concerns with the family. I would also have contact with social services and be asked to attend case review meetings. I would also be expected to communicate with other agencies to refer our service users on the appropriate agencies for example other children centres, counsellors, women’s Aid and Hidden Harm Social worker,
1.2 Explain how to support effective communication within own job role Effective communication and interaction play a very important role in the work of everybody that works within Surestart. I feel that how I support effective communication is by setting a good example to staff. With communication been so important for the day to day running of the centre, each staff member would be asked to write in the diary in the main office so people can know where they are (this is for the save guarding of staff if they are out of the office, lone worker policy) There is also a white board in the main office so when staff are in programmes other staff are aware of this and that the parents/baby room are booked. I would also support communication by attending staff meeting ever second week and staff are told that they must attend once a month. There is also an open door policy as sometimes there is information that staff do not want to share in a team meeting as there maybe difficulties within the team and they would like to share information on a one to one basic.
1.3 Analyse the barriers and challenges to communication within own job role The barriers and challenges that I would face is staff working part time, staff out doing programme and also may be difficult feeling between staff members. The other barriers and challenges that I would face is staff do not take on board what you are saying to them as they feel they are right so they do not even listen to what you are trying to explain. Some people may pick you up wrong on the information you are trying to get across.
1.4 Implement a strategy to overcome communication barriers Make sure I speak very clear, focus on what information I would like them to take on board. Supervision on a monthly basis, open door policy if anyone has a problem they can talk about it. Staff can ring and send emails at any time. The childcare supervisor meets with the childcare team every morning to make sure that all crèches have enough staff and if they have any concerns regarding the children. There is also a referral meeting once a week where we discuss the referral that health visitor/social workers have send in and also to discuss and concerns we would have regarding the parents. I also send rely slips to social worker / health visitor to let them know if a home visit has been completed or if we have been unable to contact the family.
1.5 Use different means of communication to meet different needs I am aware that each staff member has different learning styles, some staff like sharing information in a group and other staff like to share information in a one to one. It is also very important for me to take this on board as I do not want any member of the team feeling frustrated and ineffective. I want staff to be able to trust me and let them see that I value the work that they do. The different means of communication I use to meet different needs are. Emails are a very effective means of communication as each staff members gets the information at the same time and not second hand. Emails can be sent at any time and also printed out to file or record information that has been sent or received. Team meeting again are a very good as all staff are getting the same information and this is a nice way for other staff to meet and let everyone else know how things are going and if anyone is finding a family or child difficult then there is the support of the whole team for ideas of how to handle a situation. If anyone cannot make it then the team minutes are there to read. Telephone if I am not in the office I can still be reached on my mobile if anyone needs anything. Health visitor/Social worker would also contact me by telephone if they needed an update on a family. Staff diary in the main office this lets staff members know who is in which room and if anyone is on leave or sick or if someone has an appointment. Sign in and out sheet beside the exit door this is for safety reasons as if there was a fire in the building then I would know who is in and out Reply slips are back to the health visitors/social worker as an update for the referral they have send in. Letters to parents this is to invite them along to programmes/events. Thought-out the year I would facilitate information mornings for breastfeeding support, weaning work shop and feeding for under 5’s this would be to share information to welcome new service users to the Surestart. Face to face, my office is open to all staff at any time if they need to talk about anything.
Use and develop systems that promote communication
2. Be able to improve communication systems and practise support positive outcomes for individuals
2.1 Monitor the effectiveness of communication systems and practices. The diary in the front office if very effective for staff on home visit as we know where there are for their safety (lone worker policy). white board in the main office is very effective as this is where all staff write down their programmes so if there is any phone calls for staff the secretary knows if they are in the office or in programmes. Emails can be sent at any time and it means that the same information is been told to the staff at the same time and it is also the staffs responsible to pick up their emails. The childcare supervisor meets with the childcare staff each morning I feel that this is very effective as this is in place to make sure that all rooms are covered with their ratio, and most importantly that the needs of the children are met and if there is any problem in any of the setting it can be addressed as needed and that staff do not have to wait 2 weeks for a team meeting to discuss. One to one communication i.e. Supervision and APR, I feel that this is very important within a setting. N-Drive – this is where documents can be saved and all staff can access it. In our office we
have a policy of hot desking so documents can accessed at any computer. This is also for Surestart forms and newsletters so all staff can print them out as needed. Reply slips to health visitors/social worker/other agencies – this is where I reply to any referral letter that the project receives, I would reply to the other agencies if this family had received a home visit and services offered, if I was unable to contact the family for different reasons or if the family did not want to avail of Surestart services. Phone – if I cannot be reached at any time then a message can be left for me to return there call.
2.2 Evaluate the effectiveness of existing communication systems and practice Evaluating the effectiveness of existing communication systems and practice I am going to start with the ones I feels are the most effective. One to One Communication – I feel that this works very well within a team as some staff members do not like to speak in front of other and feel that their ideas might not be good enough. I also feel that face to face communication is very effective as some people can pick up a message wrong and take the wrong tone with an email. Supervision – this is there for staff to talk confidently with their manger I feel that this is very effective means of communication for the manger to tell how well things are going for that member of staff and for the staff member to say how they really feel about how things are going. ( I also feel that you have to have a good relationship with your staff for this to work, you have to be relaxed and friendly and staff members also have to trust you). Supervision is also very effective as this give staff clear boundaries of what is expected of them for the month a head and also make sure they are on target to achieve the targets in their APR. Team meetings – I also think this is effective as this can let everybody know how programmes are going if there is any follows to do with families in any of the programmes. If anyone is having any difficulties if any of the programmes is nice to get other ideas how to deal with it. It is also there for sharing information for the Surestart board and action for children. To let staff know what training is coming up. ARP- I have been working in a Surestart setting for the last 11 years, I feel that this is the first year I have felt that an APR has been effective like the rest of communication systems if it is not done right then it will not be effective. APR is there to set goal and targets for the year ahead, I feel this is very important for staff as they know what is expected of them for the year ahead and then this is monitored at each supervision to make sure that staff in on track with their targets. Childcare meeting every morning – I feel that this is very effective as each member of the childcare team no where they are each day and who is covering in each setting and also if any member of the childcare team is concerned about a child this is discussed each morning. Emails- I feel has pro and con. It is very effective in a way that emails can be sent at any time and is very good for all staff to receive the information at the same time. I also feels that staff can pick the tone of emails up wrong and some information is best said face to face. Reply letter to health visitors/social workers/other agencies – I feel that this is a very effective The diary in the front office – This is effective if everyone plays there part in filling it in. If someone is on training or off on A/L and forgets to fill it in then it is very hard for other staff to know where they are. N-Drive – This is effective as all the Surestart form and standard letters are on it as well as newsletters. It is also that as this is used while hot desking it means that the documents that are placed on this drive can be accessed by the whole team so if I was saving any confidential information I would also password protect it.
Phone – I do feel that this is effective as if I am not available by phone or mobile then a message can also be left.
2.3 Propose improvements to communication systems and practices to address any short comings I feel that communication can always be improved as we are only human and staff do forget to pass on messages, response to emails, and even fill in the diary in the main office. I have proposed that each desk has message pad so that all messages have to written down. I have proposed that the main diary is to be brought to the team meeting so that if anyone has any leave booked, any visits arranged or training then this can go into the diary. I would also remind everybody at team meeting about remembering to fill in the diary I have also propose that the reply slips to the health visitors/social workers be changed as I feel it could be improved.
2.4 Lead the implementation of revised communication system and practices
Use and develop systems that promote communication
3. Be able to improve communication systems to promote partnership working
3.1 Use communication systems to promote partnership working The systems that we use to promote partnership working is: One to one communications – I meet with the health visitor for breastfeeding once a week. Also any of the health visitors are welcome to call in at any time. Some health visitors like to bring parents that are hard to engage into the centre to meet me to show them around the building and meet the staff. I would also have contact face to face with our families on a daily basis through programmes and also registrations. Phone call – health visitors/social services and other agencies would phone for update and regarding case review meetings. Families would also phone on a daily basis if they needed help with anything or information. Post – we post letters to the agencies if we are unable to reach the families or if they no longer wish to be involved with the service. I would also post letters and newsletter to families. Emails – some agencies like to send email as it is a faster way for them and this is ok with me as long as it is recorded. Referral reply – this is a letter drawing and signed by Surestart parents that we have permission to send it back to the health visitors to say we have been in contact and the Surestart services have been offered. Information events – this is different events for Surestart to promote their services.
3.2 Compare the effectiveness of different communications systems for partnership working I feel within waterside Surestart the systems we use are very effective. One to one communication I feel is very effective as this can reassure service users and colleagues and also outside agencies, you can focus on the goal. I can be supportive and positive to all that need it. I can also assess the services users’ needs and provide them with the support needed and I also feel that this builds trust and relationships. Phone call – I feel that this is a very effective way of communicating as some health visitor/social worker/other agencies need an update ASAP as they may be on their way to a review meeting. All if a member of staff is not on the office this is a good way of communicating. As my role as family support worker I be in contact with families every day on the phone, may it be they have a question or I am inviting the families to programmes or arranging home visits. Emails – This is a very effective way that I communicate in Surestart, supervision notes to be sent 3 says before supervision, team meeting are to be sent and read before the meeting. Agencies are able to send emails / newsletters.
Referral Response – I feel that this is a very effective way that Surestart communicate. This is send to health visitors/social workers who send in a referral this is to show the agencies that we have made contact with that family or that we have tried to contact the family and after 4 weeks we are unable to reach them. Information events – I feel that this is not really effective as we work on catchment areas and this is very hard to have an event in a general area, it has to be within the area, as we do not like to turn people away that may be interested in the service, as when agencies send in referrals they have a list of streets that is inside the catchment area and only if there is a need then they can be outside the area. 3.3 Propose to improvements to communications systems for partnership working I do believe that communication within waterside Surestart has got a lot better in the last year, I feel that this has a great deal to do with our new manager, she has gained the trust and respect of the staff and in return it is a pleasure to work with. I feel that I have a great leader to follow and learn a great deal from. The only improvement that could be made is that a leaflet could be drawn up for families that are outside the catchment area so that they leave with something rather than going away with no information (this is in the process on being done). I am also assisting the upgrade of the referral response form so that families sign this form so that we have permission to hold their information and that we are allow to send the form back to the referrer.
Use and develop systems that promote communications
4. Be able to use systems for effective information management
4.1 Explain legal and ethical tensions between maintaining confidentiality and sharing information Working with in a Surestart setting for the last 11 years, I know that confidentiality is very important. It’s important for agencies and services users to build a trusting relationship with me. I am very honest with the people I work with, when I am completing a registration form with parents I do tell them that their details will stay in a locked filing cabinet for 7 years, that there information is stored on a database password protected until there child/ren turn 4. I also let the parents know that under the data protection act they are able to see their file at any time. Parents also sign a form that we are able to share information with the health visitor and other agencies involved if we have any concerns regarding the child or parents. When I have taking programmes with parents I also start with group rules. Confidentiality always comes up, I always tell parents that whatever is discussed at the group I do not take it outside of the group, I can only speak for myself but that I would hope that everyone would stand by this too. I also always make it very clear to parents that if anything is discussed or disclosed any information regarding harm or danger or abuse to a child/ren then I will past this information on to my manger and the appropriate authorises. (Children’s order 1995, child safety is paramount) I feel that if I am honest with all the people that I work with then I do believe that you build up a trust and that by law I have to report and record all that is disclosed to me, although I did have a parent in the past that did not understand this, they felt that I was just reporting them to social services and she believed that social services where there to take her child away. This lady did not return to Surestart as what she disclosed I had to discuss with my manger.
4.2 Analyse the essential features of information sharing agreements within and between organisations
Under the data protection act 1998, the purpose of the act is to protect the rights and privacy of individuals and to ensure that data about them are not processed without their knowledge and are processed with their consent whenever possible, this act covers personal data held in electronic formats, manual data and relevant filing systems. Surestart has devised a form that has recently been updated by my colleagues and myself, this form is where we get service users to sign that they agree Surestart is able to keep their details in a secure place for up to seven years, and that if we had any concerns regarding the child that we would contact the appropriate service also that if there is a social worker involved that we are able to update them on any programmes they attend for case review meetings. Health visitors would send in referral form with parent’s consent, what happens is we then phone that family and do a home visit and in that visit we fill out the Surestart forms with the families details on it, the consent for is then signed and sent back to the health visitor to say we have completed a visit this is what programmes they would like to attend, I would also send back a form to the heath visitor if that family did not wish to avail of Surestart services or that I could not reach them. These forms are kept with the registration and filed in a locked cabinet. When I am facilitating a programme within Surestart I always do group rules, parents can put what they like on it, confidentially always comes up, I just remind parents that what happens in the group will stay in the group with me, but I can only speak for myself and not the rest of the group and I do tell them that It would not be nice to hear anyone talking bad about another parent. I do inform the parents that if there anything disclosed within the group that has caused abuse of harm to a child them I am bound by action for children policies and procedures and under the children order act 1995 to past this information on to my manger and the appropriate services, I do tell the parents that I would discuss this with them before I reported what I have heard.
4.3 Demonstrate use of information management systems that meet legal and ethical requirement Under the data protection act 1998 Surestart need permission to hold data on the families that I work with, how this is done
is that all parents have to sign the registration form and also the consent for their details to be stored according to action for children policies and procedures, which is that their details are stored for up to seven years, in a locked filing cabinet and up to four years on the Surestart database.
Under the children’s order 1995 I am bound to report anything that I have heard or seen that my or has caused harm to a child. This would also be discussed with the parent/s what information I would be passing on to my manger. This also gives the parent an opportunity to explain. The information my lead to a referral been made to social services.