Legal Literacy: Change Project

Published: 14/01/2021

Legal literacy is important across organisations and leaders have a key role in shaping the structures and mechanisms that promote it. These resources highlight strategic initiatives and provide tools and activities to support embedding legal literacy across organisations. Practitioners and those with responsibility for learning and development activities will also find these resources supportive of their roles.

Welcome to the Legal Literacy: Change Project

This suite of online resources is designed to support legal literacy across adult social care organisations. The resources are the result of a two year project between Research in Practice, Michael Preston-Shoot and Suzy Braye with the following partners: Barnet, Bristol, Camden, Central Bedfordshire, Cheshire West and Chester, Cornwall, Croydon, Dorset, Optalis, Oxfordshire and Southend-on-Sea.

Engaging with the resources will support people to gain an understanding of:

  • legal literacy
  • the role and value of strategic initiatives in supporting the development of legal literacy
  • the role of supervision and team development sessions in supporting practitioners to engage in critical thinking and other activities to develop legal literacy.

The resources relate to the legal framework in England and place emphasis on:

  • How organisations can develop a culture of legal literacy and take strategic initiatives to support it.
  • Supervision for social workers, occupational therapists and other practitioners whose role requires them to be familiar with and act under legal powers and duties exercised by adult social care.

The resources seek to address the findings of the Legal literacy: Evidence Scope, that:

  • Explores the concept of legal literacy, and traces its development in adult social care.
  • Sets out the current policy and regulatory background.
  • Presents the available evidence on legal literacy in practice.
  • Identifies available resources that can be used to support legal literacy.

Key Evidence Scope findings:

  • Legal literacy is necessary across all tiers of organisations.
  • To date there has been little focus on how operational managers and supervisors might enhance legal literacy through management, leadership and supervision.
  • Strategic leaders, directors and assistant directors, senior managers and specialist leads, principal social workers, and councillors have a key role in shaping the structures and mechanisms that promote legal literacy.
  • Supervision is valuable and plays a vital role in supporting practitioners to engage in critical thinking and other activities to develop legal literacy.
  • There is a need to address the use of legal rules in adult social care practice (the resources therefore do not cover the broader agenda of powers and duties relating to commissioning, finance, or corporate law).

There is also an Evidence Scope: Executive Summary.

There are two central components to these resources, which reflect the priorities derived from the Legal Literacy: Change Project:

  1. A set of organisational tools to support senior leaders in creating a legally literate organisational environment.
  2. A supervision and team development work plan and a set of additional resources providing activities that supervisors and practitioners, as well as teams and their managers and trainers, can use together in supervision or team development sessions over time.

These are supplemented by the following resources:

Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - The role of social workers | Person-centred practice | Safeguarding | Mental capacity | Effective assessments and outcome based support planning | Supervision, critical analysis and reflection | Organisational context | Professional ethics and leadership | Values and ethics | Influencing and governing practice excellence within the organisation and community | Developing confident and capable social workers | Assuring good social work practice and development | Promoting and supporting critical analysis and decision-making | Performance management and improvement

CQC - Caring | Effective | Responsive | Safe | Well-led

PCF - Professionalism | Values and ethics | Diversity and equality | Rights, justice and economic wellbeing | Knowledge | Critical reflection and analysis | Contexts and organisations | Professional leadership

RCOT - Service users | Develop intervention | Qualified | Collaborative | Support development | Monitor resources | Health and safety | Identify needs

These resources were correct at the time of writing and they do not constitute legal advice.