Back to Technologies for writing

2. Which technologies are used for social work writing?

The ICT system in your agency is the main and largest technology system for writing that you will use. But social workers use a range of technologies to carry out their writing and these can both influence and be influenced by their practice. By technologies we mean any tools that are used when writing, so these range from pen a paper through to phones, tablets and computers. The aim of this activity is to identify the range of technologies used in everyday social work writing.

Read the extract below from the WiSP project: they are notes based on observing a social worker during one day of her practice. Highlight all of the examples of technology that are used relating to writing

Day 1 Description [D is the social worker]
8 am Office 1: D Working on writing court report. Reading and typing on laptop. Hard copy of report by side of laptop on desk
9.15 Continues to work on report.

[Researcher note: loud conversations going on, face to face and on phone whilst she is writing]

Looks at calendar on screen

Writing emails

9.20 Headphones on whilst making phone call. Reading emails at same time as talking on phone.
9.30 Goes to other side of office to talk to manager
9.40 Headphones on, new phone call, talking on phone
9.47 Reading word doc whilst on phone- a tabulated schedule for contact sessions between carers and children to be observed by D
9.56 Writing email whilst continuing same call on phone
10.05 “Travels by car 5 mins to a school nearby for a core group meeting. To discuss the behaviour and welfare of three siblings, aged 8, 10, 12 all at different schools.

D chairs meeting

Has care plan in front of her on desk (printed from IT system)

Has hardback notebook and hard copy diary

She makes notes in note book, on her to do list template, on the hard copy care plan during discussions”

11.15 Back in office 1. Writes case note of phone call made earlier. Headphones on and checks her voice mail.
11.25 Writing emails

Reading emails

11.30 Phone call to GP surgery to request information about mother of children discussed in core group meeting re substance abuse.
11.40 Writes email to Multidisciplinary Team to request support for mother and children re behaviour
11.45 Rubbing our dates in paper diary and replacing with new dates. Goes to talk with manager,”I can’t find a child from my case load” (the record). Finds the record.
11.50 Makes phone call headset on checking in with someone about how a visit went on Saturday, typing at same time. Talking about one case (on phone) whilst writing about another.
12.00 Typing court report that she started on at 9.
12-12.50 Travels by car to Office 2 where she needs to pick up a child car seat
12.50 Gets laptop out and works at a desk [Researcher note: this office has a mixture of hotdesking and regular desking]

Updating foster referral on IT system as new placement need for a child. Eating sandwich at desk.

Discussing situation of a young person who seems to have access to information that she shouldn’t have

13.15 Goes in search of child car seat. Meets colleague and they discuss a family
13.20 Texting on mobile phone.

In office some 5 SWs look at a network map drawn by younger SW trying to map participants involved in child sex exploitation network”

13.25 Goes to get drug testing kit to use with parent in child contact session later in day.
13.20 Headphones on. Makes phone call to another authority. Typing at laptop at same time.

Makes another phone call re a different case”

13.20 Headphones on. Makes another call to legal. Typing on IT system at same time.
13.40 Typing case note
13.55 Continues typing case note.
13.55 At same time talks to colleague SW in office about whether appropriate to do a parental drug test alongside child contact visit.
1400 Home visit via car to foster carer. Reported making handwritten notes during visit. [Researcher note: As it’s a statutory visit has to be typed and on ICT system within 24 hours. Researcher not present at visit because highly confidential]
15.30-1700 Contact session in Office/building 3. D brings 2.5 year old little girl by car for contact session with mother.

Types on laptop during observation- observation log

15.30-1700 During this period also writing record of statutory visit that took place at 1400.
17.00 Takes child back to foster carer by car.
18.30 Goes home at 18.30