Workload Management Scheme

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter details the Wirral Children's Services Workload Management Scheme, which seeks to ensure that best use is made of an individual's time and skills, ensure staff have a manageable workload and provide management information.

The chapter includes a workload management spreadsheet for Team Managers.

1. Background

The purpose of a workload management scheme is to:

  • Ensure that best use is made of an individual's time and skills in meeting the needs of the service users;
  • Safeguard staff interests and attempt to avoid work overload;
  • Measure the workloads of individuals/teams in a fair and consistent manner and provide a guide to managers on work allocation;
  • Generate management information for monitoring, negotiating for and accessing resources.

This workload management scheme does not assess workload based solely on the number of cases dealt with by an individual as it aims to take into account issues such as complexity, risk, time and type of work that would be involved.

The scheme applies to social workers in all teams, with the exception of the Integrated Front Door (IFD).

2. How the Model Works

Every workload consists of three elements and points are awarded for each area:

  • Stable Element;
  • Cases;
  • Extra responsibilities.

The scheme is based on a full time worker being allocated a maximum of 100 points (15 stable points + case points + extra responsibilities).If a worker is close to 100 points, this suggests that the worker's capacity to be allocated any additional work is limited.

It should be noted that an Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (AYSE) will be allocated 90 points during their first year. In addition ASYE's will only be case holders for Child Protection and Court Work, including Pre-Proceedings, where there is joint working with another Social Worker. It is expected that ASYE's are to hold around 12 children on their caseload. Student Social Workers should receive 60 points during placement.

There may be instances where a reduction in points is necessary for a time limited period:

  • Personal issues;
  • Phased return to work after sickness;
  • Capability.

2.1 Stable Element

These are fixed at 15 points and do not have to be re-evaluated from month to month as they represent an allocation of time which is basically the same across all teams and does not vary when caseload responsibilities change.

They include:

  • Duty cover within teams;
  • Annual Leave;
  • Training ( not PQ);
  • Staff/Team Meetings and Supervision.

2.2 Cases

Two points are allocated for each child or fostering household on a social workers caseload apart from Child in Need families:

  • Two points are allocated for each Child in Need family with 1-2 children;
  • Three points are allocated for each Child in Need family with 3-6 children;
  • Four points are allocated for each Child in Need family with 7+ children.

In addition to allocated points, children or families subject to statutory planning (privately fostered children, on a Child Protection Plan or Child in Care Plan, accommodated and in short breaks), attract an additional 1 point. This does not apply to children on Child in Need Plans.

To recognise the work in the initial stages of case planning, an additional point is given in the month that a case is allocated in addition to the allocated and statutory points.

With Child in Need families, this additional point applies to each group of children, i.e. 1 point for 1-2 children; 2 for 3-6; 3 for 7+.

Where a case is to be closed, a point is allocated to reflect the different work involved in closing a case.

The closure point replaces any other points allocated, as the assumption is that all responsibilities have been concluded and attendance at a final meeting, a closing summary and notifications only need to be completed.

As above, with Child in Need cases, the closure point is applied to groups of children.

If the case is not closed in this month, all points will be withdrawn.

Where a case is being transferred, 1 additional point is allocated in the month this will take place, to acknowledge the work to ensure a smooth transition. This is in addition to allocated and statutory points but only applies

As above, with Child in Need cases, the transfer point is applied to groups of children.

On all cases, there will be specific tasks in relation to assessment and planning which have to be completed to timescales, and these attract 1, 2 or 3 extra points depending on the risk or complexity of the piece of work, (details of assessment types in table below).

Where a worker has accrued 10 case points, an additional point is allocated and again after every subsequent 10 points. Where workers build up points quickly in the month they will also build up more 'extra' points which acknowledge that the amount of work or its complexity is increasing.

Where a worker has points allocated in respect of reports to prepare for court, and attendance at court may be required sometime in the future, an additional point can be given for the month that attendance at court falls. Otherwise, points are allocated for report and attendance if they are within the same month.

In addition, if a worker is responsible for a child placed more than one hour's travelling each way, or is responsible for a foster family at such a distance, an additional point can be allocated.

2.3 Extra Responsibilities

This includes:

  • Foster Care Panel Member (5 points);
  • Mentoring/Supervision – Practice Managers (5 points);
  • Group Work (5 points);
  • Practice Teacher (10 points);
  • Post-Qualifying Training (5 points);
  • Achieving Best Evidence Interviews for other teams by case (1).

3. Operation of Scheme

The workload management form should be completed and agreed by the line-manager and the worker.

The allocation of points has to be agreed by both the manager and the worker.

This process forms part of performance management and the allocated points and actual points must be discussed at each supervision session as it will aid prioritisation of work and identify key pressures.

Should the worker be absent from work, due to annual leave or sickness, within the reporting timescale managers are expected to complete the staff workload form using their previous supervision notes as a guide to the work agreed for any given month, checking with the child's record on Liquid Logic if unclear if any agreed work has started. Once the worker returns and there is a rescheduled supervision session then assumptions can checked and adjusted for the following months workload management record.

If points exceed 100, the worker and manager should review the caseload and ascertain if for that particular month there was a reason for the points to be high e.g. several Single Assessments needed to be completed in same month. However, if the points are consistently above 100 there should be a review of work and remedial action should be taken. All action to be taken must be recorded on the Workload Management Record, a copy of which will be retained by the social worker and their manager.

Both the manager and worker keep a record of the signed Workload Management Record. The manager will also keep a copy of the Team Workload Management Overview spreadsheet (Appendix 1: Workload Management Spreadsheet) which will hold information about the specific workload of each team member within the team, together with a further Workload Management Overview spreadsheet of the team performance month by month.

Managers will report back on the previous month's performance for each worker and their total team performance to their respective Group Manager and the Head of Service – Specialist Services by the 18th of each month. Should the manager be on leave or sickness absence, Group Managers will be responsible for providing workload management data.

The workload management information will be scrutinised on a monthly basis at the Specialist Services Managers Team Performance Meeting and where required recommendations will be made in terms of allocation of work or additional resources. An overview of each team's workload and average caseloads will be presented to the Director's Safeguarding meeting.

There will be an audit of team pointing on a 3 monthly basis by the Quality Assurance Team in order to ensure that there is consistent application of the scheme across the service.

WEIGHTING SYSTEM

Where cases are co-worked, points to be shared between workers on basis of role and responsibilities.

Activity Points
Stable element  
Practitioners (Children in Need / Child Protection, Children with Disabilities, Children in Care, Fostering and Adoption) 15
Case-Related Activities  
Allocated cases
Child Protection/Child in Care (per child)
Fostering households
Child in Need (per family if 1 or 2 children)
Child in need families with 3-6 children
Child in need families with 7+ children

2
2
2
3
4
Newly allocated cases during past month (applies for one month and points cannot be carried over)
N.B. CIN cases attract 1 point per group of children, max 3 points
1
Case to be closed (applies for one month only and points cannot be carried over)
N.B. Child in Need cases attract 1 point per group of children, max 3 points for whole family
1
Case to be transferred.
N.B. Child in Need cases attract 1 point per group of children, max 3 points for whole family.
2
Cases with statutory responsibilities  
Privately Fostered child 1
Child subject to a protection plan 1
Child in care (including short breaks) 1
Approved fostering households 1
Case related assessments/plans (with Child in Need families, points apply per group of children, max 3 points)  

Low risk/complexity:

  • Private fostering (Reg 4 visit);
  • In relation to change of placement (Child's SW);
  • Leaving Care Needs Assessment;
  • Pathway Review (applies for 4 weeks prior to review);
  • Short Break Review (applies for 4 weeks prior to review);
  • Initial visit to foster carer (Supervising SW);
  • In relation to allegation/complaints (fostering);
  • Disruption report (fostering);
  • Attendance at court (if unrelated to report writing);
  • Report writing/attendance at panels to request services/ resources/placements/assess/manage risk.
1

Medium risk/complexity:

  • SWAN (completed but not part of a S47 Enquiry);
  • Reg 24/Viability Assessment (per family);
  • Private Fostering Suitability Assessment;
  • Age Assessment (per child);
  • Child with Disabilities Assessment (per child);
  • Child with Disabilities Transition Plan (per child);
  • Planned programme of direct work (per child);
  • PLO/Pre-Proceedings (per family);
  • Parenting Assessment (per family);
  • Carers assessment (per family);
  • Sibling Assessment (per family);
  • Assessment for contact (per family);
  • Protector Assessment (per family);
  • Placement with Parents(per family);
  • Court work for ICO/S37/S7/SGO(Each episode of report submission and attendance in same month);
  • Report for court (if attendance not required in that month);
  • Leaving Care Pathways (first pathway plan ONLY).
2

High risk/complexity:

  • S47 Enquiries (includes completing the SWAN);
  • CPR;
  • Foster carer assessment;
  • Foster carer review.
3
Workload weight (per 10 points accumulated) 1
Additional responsibilities  
Practice teaching (do not add students caseload) 10
Post-Qualifying Training 10
Long arm supervision (do not add students caseload) 5
Foster Care Panel Membership 5
Fostering Information meeting (per session) 5
Skills to Foster Preparation Group (3 days in one month) 15
Achieving Best Evidence Interviews for other teams by case 2
For a child placed more than one hour's travelling each way. 1
For a foster family more than one hour's travelling each way. 1

Appendix 1: Workload Management Spreadsheet

Click here to view Appendix 1: Workload Management Spreadsheet.

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