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.
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:
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:
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.
Solicitor, Local Authority, London Borough
“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."
“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
Fostering Team Manager, South Essex Local Authority
“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.”
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
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]