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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Social Work Services

Experienced and skilled independent social workers.

WillisPalmer has been carrying out assessments for local authorities, the courts and independent organisations for 16 years and has therefore established itself as a reputable provider of social work services.

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

Following the assessment, WillisPalmer's experts provide a high quality in-depth report on the issues raised. We also provide a range of other expert reports and the type of reports we provide include:

  • 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 Quality Assurance Consultants to quality assure all reports before they are filed with the instructing party. The QACs 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.

This means that you can have peace of mind that not only has the report been carried out by an experienced and highly trained professional, but that this work goes through a further process to ensure it is of the highest standard, meets the needs of the instructing clients and - above all - is child-focused and centres around the needs of the child or children.

Click here to read more about our QA process.

Who are our services suitable for?

Our social work services are suitable for the following organisations:

  • Local authorities
  • Solicitors
  • Courts
  • Independent organisations e.g. children’s residential homes
  • Schools
  • Private individuals

What people said about our services?

WillisPalmer takes immense pride in providing high quality and quality assured social work services to our clients. Don't take our word for it, see what others had to say 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

Why instruct an Independent Social Worker?

Our Independent Social Workers are highly trained and experienced and, as a result, have a broad knowledge of social work practice. Expert social workers provide high quality assessmentand other services for local authorities, family courts, solicitors, CAFCASS and clients in public and private law proceedings.

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

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