Research And CPD (1)

Using research, policy and case law to demonstrate your CPD

Published: 05/11/2020

Author: Amanda Richards and Hannah Scott

To support your continuing professional development (CPD) we have provided key resources and information, as well as recommendations for recording your learning.

All social workers need to ensure they have registered with Social Work England and recorded at least one piece of CPD by 30 November 2020. It is important to remember that CPD is not just about training, it can range from having a discussion, to reading the latest research, policy or case law – anything that has had a positive impact upon your practice and development.

Our monthly resources offer you a quick guide to the latest evidence and information across the sector to support your development. This includes our Case Law and Legal Summaries, Research Summaries and Policy Updates. These resources can be used to support social workers in meeting the PCF standards and also Social Work England standards.

Case Law and Legal Summaries

Case Law and Legal Summaries provide a monthly overview and analysis of selected cases, highlighting implications for social care practice with children and young people, adults and families. The summaries also provide a place for practitioners and leaders to keep up-to-date with key legal news and emerging guidance.

Adults case law

Drawing on judicial reviews and relevant cases from the Court of Protection, our adults Case Law and Legal Summaries highlight key messages for practice. Examples of recent items include the test for mental capacity to decide to engage in sexual relations.

This judgment fundamentally changes our understanding of what is required to have mental capacity to engage in sexual relations because the Court of Appeal has settled the question of whether or not a person needs to understand that ‘the other person must at all times be consenting’ in order to have the mental capacity to decide to engage in sexual relations. Essentially, this summaries all cases involving the decision to consent to sex, which up until now did not include consideration of the other person’s consent, rather that the relevant information is that a person should be able to understand, retain and use or weigh is:

  • the mechanics of the act
  • the possibility of pregnancy in heterosexual sex
  • the possibility of sexually transmitted infection
  • that the person could say yes or no to sex.

By utilising the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) to reflect on this piece of case law it is possible to demonstrate consideration of the following domains:

  • Values and ethics - apply social work ethical principles and value to guide professional practices.
  • Rights, justice and wellbeing - advance human rights and promote social justice and economic wellbeing.
  • Knowledge – develop and apply relevant knowledge from social work practice and research, social sciences, law, other professional and relevant fields, and from the experience of people who use services.
  • Critical reflection and analysis - apply critical reflection and analysis to inform and provide a rationale for professional decision-making.
  • Skills and interventions - use judgement, knowledge and authority to intervene with individuals, families and communities to promote independence, provide support, prevent harm and enable progress (BASW, 2020).

Children & families case law

Drawing on relevant cases from the Family Court, our Children & Families Case Law and Legal Summaries highlight key messages for practice. For example a recent case that succesfully appealed a decision to remove children from grandparents’ care, reflected on the important balance between the risk of harm and the impact of removal from a family carer.

This case and other children’s case law examples can also be used to support social workers in meeting the PCF standards, as demonstrated above, but also the Social Work England standards. Focusing on standard 4, the CPD standard, the case could be used to support supervision discussions and case decision making for children who face foster care if they cannot be with family members and the personal values that may impact decision making. This could meet:

  • 4.2 - Use supervision and feedback to critically reflect on, and identify my learning needs, including how I use research and evidence to inform my practice.
  • 4.3 - Keep my practice up to date and record how I use research, theories and frameworks to inform my practice and my professional judgement.
  • 4.4 - Demonstrate good subject knowledge on key aspects of social work practice and develop knowledge of current issues in society and social policies impacting on social work.
  • 4.8 - Reflect on my own values and challenge the impact they have on my practice.

In addition, cases such as Re B-S had a significant impact on social work decision making and court care plans and will impact on many social workers practice, which is discussed in the social work practice in family court recorded webinar, and reflections on this could be linked to many areas of practice development.

Research Summaries

Our monthly Research Summaries provide an in-depth digest of the latest research evidence relating to key themes and sector priorities. The summaries are tailored for adults and children and families specialisms, providing you with relevant research knowledge.

For example, attachment theory, which is a familiar theory for social workers who work with children, may not immediately be a familiar theory for practitioners who work with adults. The adults Research Summary from October 2020 focused on its role in adult social care, particularly how attachment patterns and coping strategies can affect and impact upon the life experiences of people with care and support needs.

By utilising the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) to reflect on this research summary, it is possible to demonstrate consideration of the following domains:

  • Knowledge – develop and apply relevant knowledge from social work practice and research, social sciences, law, other professional and relevant fields, and from the experience of people who use services.
  • Critical reflection and analysis - apply critical reflection and analysis to inform and provide a rationale for professional decision-making.
  • Skills and interventions - use judgement, knowledge and authority to intervene with individuals, families and communities to promote independence, provide support, prevent harm and enable progress (BASW, 2020).

Research summaries can also support with meeting the Social Work England CPD standards. The children & families Research Summary from June 2020 covered recent research on ADHD and could support a practitioner in understanding the impact of ADHD on children and young adults, use of medication, transition to adult safeguarding, and support. This would meet the following standards:

  • 4.3 - Keep my practice up to date and record how I use research, theories and frameworks to inform my practice and my professional judgement.
  • 4.4 - Demonstrate good subject knowledge on key aspects of social work practice and develop knowledge of current issues in society and social policies impacting on social work.

However it could also be shared and discussed in a team meeting to promote others learning or used in individual supervision or a group reflective supervision, discussing personal values and understanding.

  • 4.2 - Use supervision and feedback to critically reflect on, and identify my learning needs, including how I use research and evidence to inform my practice
  • 4.5 - Contribute to an open and creative learning culture in the workplace to discuss, reflect on and share best practice.
  • 4.8 - Reflect on my own values and challenge the impact they have on my practice.

Remember that just by recording any of these as CPD you will also meet these standards:

  • 4.6 - Reflect on my learning activities and evidence what impact continuing professional development has on the quality of my practice
  • 4.7 - Record my learning and reflection on a regular basis and in accordance with Social Work England’s guidance on continuing professional development.

Policy Updates

Our monthly Policy Update supports you to stay up-to-date with emerging key policy, government reports, consultations, initiatives, guidance and news. It provides directly relevant summaries, highlighting key practice related issues and flagging Research in Practice resources related to key themes each month. Recent items include:

Access learning and record your CPD

Research in Practice Partners have access to Case Law and Legal Summaries, Research Summaries and Policy Updates as part of membership. Partners can also subscribe to the bulletin and Research and Policy Updates to receive emails when new learning is released.

The ‘My CPD’ page can also be used to store direct links to relevant resources and to record reflections. This can be downloaded and used as proof of CPD activities for regulatory bodies.

Remember that our resources can be shared with your teams to discuss learning or used individually to reflect on your personal values and understanding. Just by recording any of these as CPD you will meet a range of standards and regulations.

CPD Register (1)

CPD recording, registration and regulation

It’s important to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) to enhance your professional attributes, knowledge, understanding and skills. Our resources provide guidance of the recording, registration and regulation of CPD.
View the resources

Amanda Richards and Hannah Scott

Amanda Richards is a Research and Development Officer at Research in Practice and a qualified social worker. Hannah Scott is a Research and Development Officer for children and families services. Hannah has worked in child protection roles as a registered social worker and is also a systemic practitioner.