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New evidence template launched for social workers

An updated tool to enable local authority social workers to submit evidence for a care application has been produced by Cafcass and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

The updated Social Work Evidence Template (SWET) has been updated for local authority social workers to use when submitting evidence to support an application for a care or supervision order to the courts.

David Norgrove, Chair of the Family Justice Board, said: “The template has helped promote a more analytical and consistent approach, and is proving its value across England and Wales. I commend it strongly.”

It is an updated version of the original SWET which was introduced in summer 2014 with the aim of providing consistent, more analytically focused reports to the courts and which was designed to complement other standardised forms required by the Public Law Outline.

The SWET enables social workers to provide clear and analytical material to the court and supports the family justice reforms brought in to avoid unnecessary delays. An increasing number of Local Family Justice Boards and local authorities now require its use.

ADCS and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service reviewed the template which generated a number of suggestions about further improvements for the template alongside a high level of support for its use.

As a result of the review, the accompanying guidance has been simplified and incorporated into the template, the templates themselves being simplified and the final analysis template now uses the same headings as the basic template. The two relevant welfare checklists have been incorporated for ease of reference.

Chief executive of Cafcass Anthony Douglas said: “The revised national social work evidence template has already helped to raise the standards of social work analysis in family proceedings. This is a vital area of social work practice which can and should make a positive difference to the lives of the most vulnerable children in England and Wales. The new template takes on board comments from the recent consultation and we are committed to continuously growing its relevance and impact.”

The SWET continues to be endorsed by Sir James Munby, President of The Family Division, ADCS and Cafcass.

The new templates should be used in new cases from Monday 29 February 2016 onwards and more information is available here.

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