Analysis in Social Work assessment is another issue that has been up for debate. I have been to several training courses regarding critical analysis and I must say that I haven’t walked away any clearer than when I went in. Most trainers are very good at explaining why analysis is important and how it fits into an assessment, but I have yet to walk away with any coherent blue print for the type of information that would go in it. I have my own ideas and, as with most things, I end up doing things my own way. However, since coming to work at this particular local authority I have a slightly different view of analysis.
There are specific things I consider when completing an assessment. Once I have gathered all the information I usually like to do a summary or conclusion drawing together all the information contained in the assessment in a coherent fashion. My analysis would then set out the presenting needs. These would be any gaps I have identified in service provision to the family or where they need extra support. Then I would go on to state what the effects of not meeting these needs would have on the client based on my knowledge of Social Work research and the long term effects of not meeting the particular type of need identified. I would also include the strengths of the client and those things that would contribute to facilitating change.
Since coming to this particular borough, I still believe the above is important to state but I have been given a framework with which to work. What has been suggested is, in an analysis, stating the risks present in the life of the client, the strengths and the recommendations. I have extended this just slightly. In my view, taking into account all of the above I would say a good analysis contains the following:
– Statement of presenting problem (reason for the referral coming to your particular organization)
– Statement of on-going risks to the client
– Statement of strengths
– Do the strengths mitigate any or all of the risks? If so how?
– If the strengths do not mitigate the risks what else is needed to ensure that the risks are addressed
– What is your recommendation as to how to address the on-going needs
I think it you have those components in your analysis then there can be no question or issue with it. Keep in mind different organizations or managers may want something different but I have found that the above works well in different settings. It is worth mentioning that your analysis is your professional judgement. As the person who has assessed and been working with a client or client system you are best placed, in conjunction with other professionals as appropriate, to give an account of where the client/client system is and work out with them how to go forward. Social Workers are experts. They may not all have a specialism, but they are – or should be – experts on the cases that are allocated to them as the lead professional and person that is trained to undertake this work.