Year 2017
July 2017

Responsive Research for Responsive Practice

Responsive Research for Responsive Practice

Intake assessment is a key stage in the provision of agency services. This research sought to identify factors that led to a significant decline in transfer from case intake to case service since 2015.

The research utilised data across two periods: The period before the implementation of the national Code of Social Work Practice (CSWP) when the transfer rate was 73.2% in 2014 and after CSWP was implemented in 2015 when the transfer rate was 48.8%. The transfer rate further dropped to 36.8% by March 2016.

Data was collected through intake worker interviews, time log monitoring and practice process video recording. The results of the research indicated both external and internal organisational factors contributed to the decline in intake to case service transfers.

The research results indicated the impact of the new national CSWP for Family Service Centres introduced in Singapore in 2015 and the contributing factors. Of several practice requirements of the CSWP, is the requirement to classify cases at intake based upon the degree of complexity and risk of the case. Workers responded to the CSWP requirement by extending significantly the intake process to accumulate more information for the intake assessment. The practitioners also seemed unwilling to complete the assessment until they could reach a definitive position about the case category. The result was client disengagement and drop-out from the agency service.

The research findings suggest the high immediate sensitivity of agency practices to requirements of the external practice environment. The agency responded to the recommendations to implement clear time periods that cases remain in “intake”, develop new protocols to facilitate assessment classification and most importantly provide supervision and training to increase practitioners’ confidence to arrive at case assessment category positions rather than perceived exact categories.

Poster presented at the International Conference of Practice Research 2017, Hong Kong.