Appendix G - Practice Observation Guidance Notes

Practice Observation Guidance Notes

It is not expected that every domain will necessarily be covered in each practice observation. The observer can use the following notes as guidance but needs to focus on the role the worker takes, the aspects undertaken well and those areas which may need improvement, attention, further training or mentoring and so on.

Communication with Child, family, other agencies

Did worker explain own role, purpose of activity, what was expected of everyone? Was this explained to the child in ways child could understand? Were others in the activity from other agencies clear what was happening and their roles? Could you see that worker had prepared those attending in advance of the activity? Did the worker demonstrate good verbal skills, using straightforward language? Did the worker ensure that the child and family were supported in giving their own views in ways which were comfortable and most effective for them?

Preparation for the activity

Had the worker prepared for the activity and came to the activity with relevant paperwork, reports ready, and with sufficient copies? Had the worker spoken with the child and family and others in advance in order to help them understand what was happening and why? If anyone attending had difficulty with written material, or did not have English as a first language, had the worker resolved these issues in advance? Was the worker clear in their expectations of what would and should happen at the activity?

Focus on the child and making a difference

Did the worker include the child and family in the activity as well as possible? Did the worker concentrate the activity on making sure the child stayed at the centre of everyone's thinking, and that everyone involved were able to look at what would help the child and his or her family, and that everyone was clear about what needed to change and how? Did the worker use the Signs of Safety approach? Did the worker discuss what difference intervention was making to the child's expected outcomes?

Safeguarding and Risk Management

Was the worker aware of safeguarding concerns and ensured these were managed as part of the activity? Where risk had been identified (to the child, to family members, to staff, to other participants), had this been prepared for and risks reduced accordingly? Where new safeguarding or risk issues emerged during the activity, did the worker identify these and take steps to ensure these new issues were addressed appropriately? Was the worker professionally curious, and questioning of the child's situation and those around the child? Did the worker make clear the expectations of all those involved with the child to ensure the child was safeguarded including holding others to account for the completion of planned actions?


All staff members should behave in a professional manner, presenting themselves well in order to promote respect for them, their teams, and their organisation. Specifically, did the worker arrive on time, come prepared, manage the role appropriately within the activity, remain courteous but assertive where needed, ensuring the activity went as planned, listened to the views of others, challenge respectfully but firmly, ensure all were involved, challenged discrimination? Did the worker take responsibility for their conduct, practice and learning?

Values and Ethics

Workers conduct themselves ethically and engage in ethical decision making, through ensuring participation of all involved and partnership working, ensure ethical decision making within the context of expected adherence to professional standards, behaviour and conduct. Workers should have awareness of and adhere to policies, procedures and the legal framework for their work. Was this approach evidenced by the worker in the activity?


The worker understands and demonstrates awareness that diversity characterises and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The worker should recognise and shape practice around the multi-dimensional aspects of race, disability, class, economic status, age, sexuality, gender and transgender, faith and belief. Was this evidenced in the activity?

Rights Justice and Economic Wellbeing

The Worker recognises the fundamental principles of human rights and equality, and that these are protected in national and international law, conventions and policies. They understand the effects of oppression, discrimination and poverty, and seek through their actions within the activity to promote the welfare of the child and family within this context. Was this evidenced within the activity?


As workers move through their career they will develop expertise and knowledge, supported by experience, training, qualifications, and so on. At the point that the activity is observed, the worker should be able to demonstrate their knowledge base, their understanding of theories, methods and models of intervention. The worker should demonstrate these within the observed activity, through their preparation and involvement in the activity. Was this evidenced in the activity?

Critical Reflection and Analysis

The worker should be able to demonstrate through the activity the way in which the case is being understood, what the worker's role is in moving matters forward for the child, what is working well and what needs to be improved. Was this ability to analyse and understand what is happening, to critically reflect upon this and to continuously improve evident from the worker's preparation, from written work made available, from involvement in the activity and from the way in which the worker ensures the next steps are logically planned through effective decision making?

Intervention and skills

Workers should have a range of interpersonal and experiential skills to call upon within the activity, and these should vary according to whether the worker is functioning with an individual child, or group of children, of families, or community, or group of professionals working alongside the member of staff. The worker should demonstrate appropriate involvement, using their own authority and or professional judgement which they are also able to evaluate and refresh as things change. Such skills include presentation of written material, use of own voice and language, verbal and nonverbal skills. Were these skills evident in the activity?

Contexts and Organisations

Workers are informed about and responsive to the challenges and opportunities that come with changing social contexts. They respond to these changes both as individual professionals and as members of an organisation. They collaborate, inform and are informed by their work with other professionals and communities. Was this evidenced within the activity?

Professional Leadership

Children's Services continuously evolves through innovation, changes within law and policy, and governmental guidance. Workers needs to demonstrate ability to be aware of these changes, to change along with changing expectations, but also to question the reasons and the impact such changes have on them as individuals, as well as the service within which they are involved. Was this evidenced within the activity?