COVID-19 Guidance from WillisPalmer

Whilst the outbreak of Covid-19 is likely to cause some disruption to WillisPalmer services in the short-term, we are issuing guidance outlining our plans to minimise the impact of the virus.

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Independent Assessments

Delivering high quality expert assessments.
WillisPalmer has an extensive team of expert social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and Family Support Workers who are trained and experienced to carry out independent assessments of children and families. We have been providing independent assessments for local authorities, courts and independent organisations for 16 years. Our expert Independent Social Workers undertake a wide range of assessments including Parenting Assessments/PAMs Parenting Assessments, Sibling Assessments and Fostering Assessments while our trained psychologists carry out Assessment of Psychological Functioning, Cognitive Assessments and Education Assessments. WillisPalmer offers therapeutic services and assessments to young people and their carers and Forensic Risk Assessments for those involved in intra-and-extrafamilial sexual abuse. As a genuinely multi-disciplinary organisation, we also carry out multi-disciplinary assessments of children and families.

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A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work and psychological services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
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Social Work Services  

WillisPalmer has been carrying out assessments for local authorities, the courts and independent organisations for 16 years. We have a range of expert social workers with a broad base of knowledge and skills, promising you delivery of high-quality assessments. We provide a wide variety of assessments, including:

  • Parenting Assessments/PAMs Parenting Assessments
  • Supported Parenting Assessments (completed with family support workers alongside the social worker, please call to discuss)
  • International Assessments
  • Sibling Assessments
  • Fostering Assessments
  • Adoption Assessments
  • Special Guardianship Order Assessments
  • Viability Assessments (also as part of an SGO)
  • Connected Persons Assessments
  • Video Interactive Guidance Work (video feedback in which a “guider” helps a client to enhance communication within relationships)
  • Service Improvement/Mentoring

Professional Reports

WillisPalmer's experts, who have a broad range of knowledge and skills, have also been providing reports to local authorities, the courts and independent organisations for 16 years. We are able to provide a large range of reports on issues including:

  • Expert Parenting Capacity and Risk Assessments
  • Special Guardianship and Connected Person reports
  • Viability and Regulation 24 reports
  • PAMs assessments
  • Forensic Sexual Offender Risk Assessments
  • Domestic Violence Risk Assessments
  • Multi-disciplinary Assessments
  • Adoption Reports
  • Step-Parent Adoption Reports
  • Sibling Assessments
  • International Assessments

Quality Assurance

A key principle of WillisPalmer is to promote and protect the welfare of children. Therefore, we strongly believe that a rigorous quality assurance process is central to this aim. We invest heavily in a robust system to ensure reports are comprehensive, focused on the needs of the child and provide a detailed response to instructions. 

WillisPalmer has recruited a team of Consultant Social Workers (CSWs) to quality assure all reports before they are filed with the instructing party. The CSWs have been personally selected by the Chief Executive because of their significant experience in both undertaking specialist reports, and managing the quality of reports over many years. Click here to read more about our QA process.

Who are our services suitable for?

  • Local authorities
  • Solicitors
  • The courts
  • Independent organisations e.g. children’s residential homes
  • Schools

What people said about our services?

“The independent social worker was very professional and reliable throughout the whole process. It was evident the ISW was independent and was making their own professional judgement on what the issues and concerns were."

Solicitor, Local Authority, London Borough

“The report was of an excellent standard. It was thorough, factual and informative, closing many of the gaps in knowledge within the case. The Court and Judge commented on the standards of professionalism of the independent social worker, the integrity of his report and in his evidence during the final hearing”

Solicitor, London

“I have found working with Suzanne to be enormously beneficial, she is incredibly knowledgeable, efficient and professional. This has been a complex piece of work and she has turned this around in a timely manner and has remained focused and very fair to both parties despite the complexities. I am incredibly appreciative of her work and inspired by meeting her.”

Fostering Team Manager, South Essex Local Authority

Dr Julia Brophy at the University of Oxford carried out research into the quality of ISW reports, including those from WillisPalmer. 

The research said: "Where the ISW agrees with the local authority social worker on the placement of a child outside of his/her birth family, they ‘add value’ because the assessment underscoring that recommendation is based on current circumstances, it is evidence-based, transparent and independent, and focused on the needs of courts."

"ISW reports may reduce the likelihood of a contested hearing, assist courts to meet tight timetables and achieve early resolution of a case."

"Reports were mostly of high quality; they were evidence-based, transparent in analysis and forensic in method. By ‘forensic’ we mean the application of rigorous discipline and method in identifying and referencing key issues from the assessment and disclosed papers as these relate to questions to be addressed."

"The independence of the ISW as an expert witness for the court is a key factor in the assessment. Reports reflect a dynamic approach to case work moving between the accounts of different parties (in statements/evidence) and events, and back to parents. Reports demonstrate assessments are robust and focused but fair."

"Findings also indicate that in certain circumstances courts may be severely hampered in the absence of access to the skills and expertise provided by ISWs - not least in case managing to meet the six month ‘standard’ for completion of care cases recommended by the FJR and accepted by government."

STAGE I – Executive Summary

"Findings demonstrate multiple reasons for use of ISWs. Evaluation of ISW reports indicated they fill in gaps in local authority evidence, add expertise and skills and do not cause routine delay. Overall, senior judges’ views and experiences support those findings: they ordered ISW reports where the evidence was necessary and where a local authority could not provide the expertise and/or time; that practice predates the 26 week deadline for completion."

"There is evidence of collegiate work among all professions: tensions between local authority social workers and ISWs were not inherent, a ‘tried and trusted’ ISW was reported as of value to courts and to local authorities and guardians trying to obtain robust assessments within deadlines but with resource limitations." 

STAGE II – Executive Summary

Our multi-disciplinary managed services

WillisPalmer has established an unrivalled reputation as the leading provider of multi-disciplinary services to children and their families.


WillisPalmer provides psychiatric services for children and families. Having been established for 16 years, we can offer psychiatrists for assessments, services, consultancy or as part of a multi-disciplinary team for interventions. Our range of expert psychiatrists can offer assessments, support and advice on a range of topics including capacity, personality disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma. A rigorous quality assurance process is central to our aim of promoting and protecting the welfare of children to ensure that you are confident in receiving a high quality service that has the child's needs as the focus, is comprehensive and responds to the requirements of the client.
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WillisPalmer has a team of highly trained and experienced psychologists who can provide a range of services to a variety of organisations including local authorities, courts, residential homes, schools and private organisations. Our expert psychologists carry out assessments of psychological functioning or assessments of parents in public and private law proceedings. They can help in school settings by undertaking education assessments and assessments of educational needs. WillisPalmer has been a specialist provider of forensic services for 16 years. WillisPalmer operates with the primary aim of promoting the welfare and protection of children and also to assist frontline practitioners and their managers to make the best decisions in complex cases of child sexual abuse.
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Forensic Risk

WillisPalmer's primary aim is promoting the welfare and protection of children and also to assist practitioners and managers to make the best decisions in complex child sexual abuse cases. WillisPalmer has been a specialist provider of forensic services for 16 years. Our multi-disciplinary consultant team of psychologists, social workers and therapists have a broad range of specialist skills and experience to advise, assess and intervene. Our professionals carry out a range of assessments including: forensic evaluation and risk assessments on people convicted of a sexual offence, Fitness to Plead assessments and structured risk and needs assessments for young people who have sexually harmed others.
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WillisPalmer provides independent assessments, consultation and therapeutic interventions for children, young people and their families. Children and young people who have experienced abuse or neglect often benefit from participating in talking therapies - psychological treatments for mental and emotional problems such as anxiety and depression - while families can often benefit from therapy to tackle deep-seated problems or help them to achieve change within the family setting. We have a team of experienced and highly qualified therapists who can assess children and families and provide a range of therapeutic approaches and talking therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Theraplay, Systemic Therapy, Psychotherapy and Behavioural Therapy.
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Multi-disciplinary Assessments

WillisPalmer is proud to operate as a genuinely multi-disciplinary organisation. With access to highly trained, experienced professionals including Independent Social Workers/expert social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and family support workers, we can offer a multi-disciplinary approach to working with vulnerable children and families. Two key elements of our multi-disciplinary assessment service is the Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment service (MFA) whereby a team of professionals work with families during an eight-week period, carry out an assessment and produce a report with advice and recommendations for the local authority. The Multi-Disciplinary Family Restoration Service works with children and families to prevent them going into care.
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Social Work

WillisPalmer has an extensive team of expert social workers across the UK with a broad base of knowledge and skills, who can deliver high-quality assessments and reports on a variety of issues. Our experienced and highly trained Independent Social Workers have been providing assessments to local authorities, courts and independent organisations for 16 years including Parenting Assessments/PAMs Parenting Assessments, International Assessments, Adoption Assessments, Special Guardianship Order Assessments and Connected Persons Assessments. WillisPalmer invests in a robust quality assurance system to ensure reports following assessments are comprehensive, child-focused and provide a detailed response to instructions ensuring high quality outcomes for our clients.
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Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Ofsted will prioritise inadequate authorities when inspection re-starts


Local authority children’s services rated inadequate at their last inspection will be prioritised when Ofsted re-starts its inspection process and begins focused visits again after it was temporarily halted during lockdown.

When Ofsted begins prioritising local authorities for focused visits from late September to early October, it will take into account those judged inadequate at their [...]

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Children in secure training centres to be locked in cells for 22.5 hours a day


The Ministry of Justice has amended statutory rules for secure training centres which would see children as young as 12 locked up for 22.5 hours per day.

An accompanying memorandum to the statutory rules states that children will have at least 1.5 hours out of their cells in each 24-hour period, instead of the usual 14 [...]

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Children’s commissioner: Thousands of young people falling through gaps in education and care


Thousands of young people in England are falling through the gaps in the school and social care system amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, the children’s commissioner for England has warned.

Anne Longfield has warned that one in 25 teenagers were already slipping out of sight prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. A report sets out the risks affecting [...]

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Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
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