Skip to main content

Positive risk taking in Children's Social Care Training

Part of BASW's Taught Skills Development Programme

Online training session delivered via MS teams with limited group sizes to allow for full interaction with other delegates and the trainer

Course Outline:

A particular anxiety for frontline practitioners is how to take positive risks that may allow a child to remain the care of, or in contact with their family without exposing them to further harm particularly where there may be entrenched behaviours and order static-risks.

Further challenges are presented in respect in safely promoting the independence and rights of teenagers and applying the principles of Gillick Competence and/or the Capacity Act 2005, particularly for those teenagers who are looked after and the Local Authority have corporate parenting responsibility and/or those with additional needs.

Another area of practice where risk-taking can be demanding on the reasoning skills of Social Workers and Health and Social Care Practitioners is the application of thresholds, in relation to opening, escalating, stepping down or closing cases.

Whilst there are no easy answers to these dilemmas, this interactive training day gives frontline practitioners in Children’s Social Care settings some ideas to consider for triangulating information, utilising decision-making models, supervision and reflection to ensure practice is defensible rather than defensive.

Learning Methods:

This is training is delivered using an online interactive classroom approach and all delegates will be expected to take part to ensure an effective adult learning experience. Using whiteboards and breakout rooms, a combination of learning methods will be used throughout the day, including trainer presentation and group work in the form of case studies and reflection dilemmas to support application to practice. Local templates and expectations will be embedded in the programme where required and appropriate.

Learning Outcomes:

This course will provide participants with the following learning outcomes:

✓ Be able to identify practice areas and indicators that increase the likelihood of defensive risk-adverse practice.

✓ Be able to identify why risk-adverse practice can be harmful and explore the concept that there are no ‘risk-free’ options.

✓ Have an understanding of what positive risk-taking means including key principles and requirements of successfully taking positive risks.

✓ Have an understanding of risk assessment and decision-making models.

✓ Understand contraindications to positive risk-taking.

✓ Know how to use reflection and supervision to create safety in positive-risk taking

Resources Required:

All delegates will need a laptop with a functioning Microphone and Camera to allow effective participation and a strong stable internet connection. Where possible delegates should be using the Microsoft Teams Desktop App and have ensured it is fully updated. Laptops should have an up-to-date Browser such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

Please note – for health and safety reasons it is not appropriate to access these courses from a mobile phone. Whilst tablets can be used; delegates will find a laptop is easier as functionality on tablets are still limited.

Programme Outline:

9.00 Log-in – Check your connection, camera & mic (the get a cuppa)

9.30 Introduction to the session and the tech.

9.45 Defining and Understanding Risk – is there ever a risk-free option?

• The impact of beliefs and values.

• Is there a hierarchy of risk – Physical vs Emotional / Visible vs Invisible?

• Risks in respect of identity, attachment and trauma.

10.00 Understanding factors that increase defensive & risk-adverse practice.

• Values and beliefs.

• Profile and politics

.• Fear and liability.

• Lack of knowledge, empathy, curiosity or reflection.

• Lack of accountability and supervision.

10.30 Understanding the concept of Positive Risk-Taking.

• Medium risk for high gain.

• Collaboration and partnership.

• Service user rights and empowerment.

• Active management not avoidance.

• Dynamic not static.

11.10 Screen-Break

11.30 Refreshing Risk Assessment and Decision-Making Models.

• Understanding Static and Dynamic risk.

• Understanding Likelihood and Probability.

• Decision Theory

• Balance Sheets

• Decision Trees

12.30 Lunch/Screen-Break

1.15 Putting positive risk-taking into practice.

• Threshold decisions.

• Permanency decisions.

• Contact decisions.

• Consent, capacity and promoting independence of YP.

• Positive risk in relation to contextual safeguarding

• Delegate Practice Scenarios

The Trainer


Chloe Whittall, Professional Development Manager

Our Professional Development Manager, Chloe Whittall is a qualified SWE registered Social Worker who has been qualified for over 20 years and has held a range of therapeutic and managerial roles in both voluntary and statutory sector organisations. In addition to her Social Work Degree, Chloe holds the ILM Change Management and Leadership award, the Practice Teaching Award in Social Work, Certificate in Counselling, an AFT Advanced Diploma in Systemic Practice and a Level 3 ITG Award in delivering Adult Education.

Chloe has significant experience of coaching and mentoring in both the substance misuse sector and statutory children’s services, having undertaken the role of Practice Educator since 2006, Practice Educator/PEP’s Assessor since 2008 and ASYE Assessor since 2014. Since joining DCC-i Ltd Chloe has continued to undertake these roles in an off-site capacity supporting Social Work Students, NQSW’s and their assessors in both adult and children’s voluntary and statutory settings.

Since joining DCC-i Chloe has also led on two significant pieces of evaluation and implementation project work relating to supervision and staff support. The first involved supporting 2 Local Authorities and 2 via the Teaching Partnership to evaluate 3 models of supporting Social Work Students on Placement. The second involved the evaluation of the Welsh national post-qualifying qualifications for Social Workers. Both pieces of work involved consulting with students, managers and educators to gain feedback on the most effective way of supporting students and staff and publishing reports with recommendations on a positive way forward.

Chloe’s particular area of interest lies in supporting organisations to connect with cohorts of staff to develop their skills and commitment to providing exceptional outcomes for service users underpinned by the values, ethics and working approach of the organisation.

BASW members please log in to your BASW account prior to booking to maintain your CPD record