DEP: 6.8 Reports of Casework (ROCs)

Reports of Casework (ROCs) provide Year 1 trainees with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of a systemic psychological problem solving model of service delivery (eg. problem analysis, Monsen & Frederickson, 2008; Monsen, Graham, Frederickson, & Cameron, 1998). ROCs are written in Year 1 and made up of two 5,500 word reports linked to casework – one based on a primary school case, the other on a secondary school case.

Trainees are required to embed their ROCs in psychological literature to support any recommendations related to individual cases (eg. assessment or intervention). Casework should reflect that ethical, non-discriminatory and non-oppressive considerations have been addressed in decisions around assessment and communication with key stake holders.

Selection of Cases

Trainees should select pieces of casework to write up that enable them to demonstrate the casework they have carried out in each year. This should therefore reflect a mix of different ages and referring questions as well as, where possible, a mix of gender, ethnic group and school attended. Casework that has involved a one-off piece of work with no follow-up or review is unlikely to be a good example to choose to write up as a ROC as it is difficult to demonstrate that all stages in the psychological problem solving process have been followed in sufficient detail. Instead, trainees should select casework where there has been an initial consultation and planning meeting, information gathering and assessment that has been carried out on subsequent occasions, followed by a further consultation and action planning meeting on a third occasion, and finally a review meeting to discuss the outcomes of any interventions that have been implemented.

Joint Work

Casework can be submitted where there was joint work and where the TEP took the leading role. Casework where the TEP took a subsidiary role should not be submitted.

Where joint work has been carried out, it should be made explicit which elements of the casework were carried out by the TEP submitting the RoC, and which by the collaborator. Any joint work submitted should be accompanied by a signed statement from a third party (eg. Placement Supervisor) attesting to the differential contributions of all parties involved.

Structure of ROCs

ROCs should be written to reflect the problem solving model. Chronological dates and assessment tools are generally not helpful as ways of structuring a ROC as the emphasis should be on making explicit the thinking process behind any actions that were taken in order to provide professional accountability, rather than simply listing what happened and when.

It is not necessary to include any service reports written by the TEP as part of the casework on behalf of the Local Authority with which they are on placement. This is because the ROC is intended to articulate the thinking behind the casework not the casework itself. TEPs should not include copies of published materials such as tests/scales for which there is copyright, but instead they should make sure they have described these in sufficient detail in the body of the ROC. Generally it is better to include Interactive Factors Frameworks in the body of the report. Trainees are advised to include IFF diagrams as pictures, to avoid any difficulties of scaling and possible omission of key text when ROCs are reformatted on different digital viewers.

Anonymity

ROCs must be written in a manner that does not compromise data protection and confidentiality. All references to people or organisations must be anonymised (either to refer to “Pupil X”, or to be a replaced name, and the ROC should make clear that names have been replaced). The best way to do this is at the first mention of the young person’s name, with a footnote or similar statement along the lines of “Names of children and schools and any other information that could identify the child have been changed throughout this document.” It is not acceptable to just use initials. Please note any failure of anonymity at point of submission needs to be corrected prior to any marking and the TEP will bear the consequence of potential late feedback.

Word Count

ROCs should not exceed 5,500 words (excluding any contents page, summary of involvement. tables, IFFs, references and appendices). Tables should generally not contain large blocks of text, but should instead be supplementary to the main content of the ROC. If core information is presented in tabular form, then it will be counted within the general word count. The ROC should be able to be read without constant reference to the appendices. A word count for each ROC must be included. The word count will be taken to start at the end of whichever is later of the table of contents/summary of involvement, and to finish at the last word before the References title. If the stipulated length is exceeded the trainee will only be assessed on the portion of work that falls within the word limit, which may result in a lowered mark.

Marking of ROCs

Feedback on ROCs is provided in two ways:

    • 1. judgement against specific criteria and
    • 2. formative feedback related to key areas of the ROC

ROC Marking Criteria

Each ROC is assigned a “met/not met” judgement against each of the criteria below. In order for the ROC to pass, all criteria must be met.

The ROC:

  • Shows how the TEP communicates appropriately and effectively by listening to service users and carers and displays a person-centred approach.
  • Considers ethical issues related to the casework
  • Shows how the TEP has promoted and protected the interests of service users and carers by demonstrating a collaborative approach to casework that is informed by the context in which the casework takes place, and the different perspectives of those involved in the casework
  • Shows why hypotheses have been developed, and how they have been explored and reformulated into a revised understanding
  • Uses a variety of approaches and sources of evidence to explore hypotheses
  • Shows how the exploration process has been informed by relevant research literature and psychological theory
  • Shows how interventions generated are informed by the problem dimensions, relevant research literature and psychological theory
  • Includes a review of progress achieved over time, and considers the implications of this progress
  • Includes a reflection on the casework and identifies implications for the TEP’s future practice
  • Is presented in a professional manner

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is provided to the trainee in each criterion above, as follows:

Displays a person-centred approach

How does the TEP describe the process of involving the child or young person (CYP)? How does the TEP take steps to represent the CYP’s views and opinions to others? Do the actions taken throughout the casework reflect the priorities and viewpoint of the young person? If not, is there a commentary explaining this?

Considers ethical issues related to the casework

Does the TEP demonstrate due regard to ethical issues? For example, is the casework described carried out with the BPS principles of respect, competence, responsibility and integrity in mind? Does the ROC demonstrate the TEP’s ability to work in a manner that is consistent with the HCPC Standard of Proficiency 2: “be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession?” Does the self-reflection and critical evaluation section include a discussion of how the trainee’s casework was directly influenced by these principles and any specific dilemmas arising? Does the trainee articulate the process of considering whether this was an appropriate piece of work?

Does the TEP explicitly acknowledge that the ROC is written in an anonymous manner to protect the identity of the young person? Is anonymity maintained throughout the document?

Demonstrates a collaborative approach to casework that is informed by the context in which the casework takes place, and the different perspectives of those involved in the casework?

How has the TEP identified the priority problem to be addressed, and who will be the primary “problem owner”? How has the TEP drawn on the perspectives of all of those connected to the situation? How does the TEP demonstrate an awareness of the cultural practices of the family, or the working practices of the school? How does the TEP consider the ethical principles, service expectations and any other influencing factors around their work?

Does the TEP demonstrate an interactionist and whole child perspective, for example by considering the strengths and challenges experienced by the young person in the context in which they are living and learning?

Does the TEP make clear how the interventions have been generated in a collaborative manner?

Shows why hypotheses have been developed, and how they have been explored and reformulated into a revised understanding

How does the TEP demonstrate the process of developing initial guiding hypotheses? Does the TEP make clear how these are based around initial information gathering, e.g. an initial discussion with a school’s SENCO? Has an IFF been used to illustrate the guiding hypotheses (Frederickson & Cline, 2009; Morton & Frith, 1995)? Is there evidence of specific action being taken that is linked to the initial guiding hypotheses? Is it clear, for example, why a particular assessment tool was selected (rather than any possible alternatives), why any observation took place within a particular context (i.e. why observe during a maths lesson rather than an unstructured session etc.), and why further information was gathered from any particular source.

Does the TEP demonstrate how their initial understanding has been developed and synthesised around particular problem dimensions? Is there a reformulated IFF and an integrating statement that makes clear how the problem dimensions are interconnected?

Uses a variety of approaches and sources of evidence to explore hypotheses

Does the TEP show how information has been gathered from a variety of sources e.g. information gathered from direct work with the CYP; discussion with the parents, school staff etc.; observations; curriculum-based assessment; dynamic and standardised assessment tools etc?

Shows how the exploration process has been informed by relevant research literature and psychological theory

Does the TEP use an evidence informed approach to demonstrate why certain hypotheses have been developed and prioritised for further exploration? Does the TEP make explicit reference to the psychological theories, frameworks or published studies that have informed the way that they have gone about their work? Are these sources of evidence appropriately referenced in a full References section?

Shows how interventions generated are informed by the problem dimensions, relevant research literature and psychological theory

Does the TEP make clear the links between problem dimensions and intervention areas, ie. how do the interventions generated actually relate to the understanding developed through the casework? Does the TEP make clear why certain areas have been selected as priority areas for intervention? Does the TEP demonstrate an awareness of the literature that supports the specific interventions generated?

Includes a review of progress achieved over time, and considers the implications of this progress

Does the TEP provide a clear summary of an action plan that records the agreed interventions? Does the TEP demonstrate that, at the time of the development of the action plan, there was an agreed understanding of the approaches and measures that would be used to measure the effectiveness of the action plan? Does the TEP show how the CYP’s view was included within the review process? Does the TEP provide evidence that they have reviewed progress against these actions? Does the TEP reflect on the factors that have influenced the effectiveness of the action plan?

Includes a reflection on the casework and identifies implications for the TEP’s future practice

Is there a critical review and evaluation of the casework? Is there a personal evaluation and reflection on the process? Does this evaluation consider, for example, how the TEP felt and thought about this piece of work, any issues that the casework raised (personal, ethical etc.), how this piece of work relates to other work undertaken etc.?  Does the TEP identify what they would do differently were they to repeat this piece of casework and what learning they have taken from it?  Does the TEP refer to, and reflect on, any feedback received about their role in this piece of casework (eg. feedback from the school, parent etc.)?

Is presented in a professional manner

Is the ROC structured in a manner that makes the process of hypothesis investigation clear? (In order to make explicit the rationale behind any assessments undertaken, it is generally more helpful to use initial guiding hypotheses as sub-headings to structure the report, rather than using chronology or methods of assessment as the section headings)

Is the ROC presented in a manner consistent with professional practice, demonstrating effective use of language & grammar and avoiding inaccuracies of spelling or punctuation? Does the author should make connections within and between sentences, paragraphs and sections in order to ensure ideas flow together smoothly and logically?

Failure

In the event of a candidate failing a ROC, the trainee will be required to re-write the report, or submit a new report within a specified time frame. Rewritten reports should show clearly where alterations have been made according to feedback received.

Service Reports and Commentary (RAC)

The Year 2 service Report and Commentary (RAC) replaces the Report of Casework (ROC) undertaken in Year 1. This assignment consists of a report written in the style of the trainee’s host authority accompanied by a reflective commentary of 2,000 words, the two pieces together identifying work undertaken and the thinking behind a piece of case work conducted over time. Two RACs are submitted during Year 2: one at Easter and one in the summer.

Of the two pieces of work, only the reflective commentary is marked by Field Tutors: the format for service reports varies widely from local authority to local authority and trainee service reports should already have been overseen by placement supervisors. The commentary is expected to identify aspects of the casework which would not ordinarily be written into a service report, in particular the thinking and research which informed decisions made and reflection on what was learned from the work.

A suggested structure for the commentary is as follows:

  • Ethical issues arising
  • Interactionist factors identified
  • Relevant research literature and psychological theory
  • Reflections and implications for future practice

Anonymity

Both the service report and the reflective commentary submitted must be written in a manner that does not compromise data protection and confidentiality. All references to people or organisations must be anonymised (either to refer to “Pupil X”, or to a replacement name), and the RAC should make it clear that names have been replaced. The best way to do this is with an anonymization statement at the start of the RAC and, at the first mention of the young person’s name, with a footnote or similar statement along the lines of “Names of children and schools and any other information that could identify the child have been changed throughout this document.” It is not acceptable to just use initials. Please note any failure of anonymity at point of submission needs to be corrected prior to any marking and the TEP will bear the consequence of potential late feedback.

Word Count

There is no word limit for service reports.  Commentaries should not exceed 2,000 words (excluding any contents page, tables, figures, references and appendices). Tables should generally not contain large blocks of text, but should instead be supplementary to the main content of the commentary. If core information is presented in tabular form, then it will be counted within the general word count. The commentary should be able to be read without constant reference to the appendices. A word count for each commentary must be included. If the stipulated length is exceeded the trainee will only be assessed on the portion of work that falls within the word limit, which may result in a lowered mark.

Marking of RACs 

Since service reports are pieces of work which have been overseen, both in the casework described and the write-up itself, these are not marked.

Feedback on reflective commentaries is provided in two ways:

  1. Judgements against specific criteria and
  2. Formative feedback related to key areas of the commentary.

Commentary Marking Criteria 

Each commentary is assigned a “met/not met” judgement against each of the criteria below. In order for it to pass, all criteria must be met.

The commentary:

  • Displays a person-centred approach
  • Demonstrates an awareness of interactionist issues related to the casework
  • Considers ethical issues related to the casework
  • Demonstrates how thinking has been informed by relevant research literature and psychological theory.
  • Includes a reflection on the casework which includes implications for the TEP’s future practice
  • Is presented in a professional manner

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is provided to the trainee against each criterion above, as follows:

Displays a person-centred approach

How does the TEP describe the process of involving the child or young person (CYP)? How does the TEP take steps to represent the CYP’s views and opinions to others? Do the actions taken throughout the casework reflect the priorities and viewpoint of the young person? If not, is there a commentary explaining this?

Demonstrates an awareness of interactionist issues related to the casework

Does the TEP demonstrate an interactionist and whole child perspective, for example by considering the strengths and challenges experienced by the young person in the context in which they are living and learning?

Considers ethical issues related to the casework

Does the TEP demonstrate due regard to ethical issues? For example, is the casework described carried out with the BPS principles of respect, competence, responsibility and integrity in mind? Does the commentary demonstrate the TEP’s ability to work in a manner that is consistent with the HCPC Standard of Proficiency 2: “be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession?” Does self-reflection/critical evaluation include a discussion of how the trainee’s casework was directly influenced by these principles and any specific dilemmas arising? Does the trainee articulate the process of considering whether this was an appropriate piece of work?

Demonstrates how thinking has been informed by relevant research literature and psychological theory

Does the TEP reference and describe appropriately at least one psychological model or theory and make a clear connection between this and the piece of casework presented?

Includes a reflection on the casework which includes implications identified for the TEP’s future practice

Is there a critical review and evaluation of the casework? Is there a personal evaluation and reflection on the process? Does this evaluation consider, for example, how the TEP felt and thought about this piece of work, any issues that the casework raised (personal, ethical etc.), how this piece of work relates to other work undertaken, and how they would like to work and report their work, etc.? Does it include an identification of the things they chose not to do (and the reasons why)? Does the TEP identify what they would do differently were they to repeat this piece of casework and what learning they have taken from it? Does the TEP refer to, and reflect on, any feedback received about their role in this piece of casework (eg. feedback from the school, parent etc.)?  Does the TEP identify what, in their opinion, was the added value of their involvement in the casework as opposed to that of a different professional?

Is presented in a professional manner

Is the commentary structured in a manner that makes it easy to follow? Does it demonstrate effective use of language and grammar, and avoid inaccuracies of spelling or punctuation? Does the author make connections within and between sentences, paragraphs and sections in order to ensure ideas flow together smoothly and logically?

Failure

In the event of a candidate failing a Report and Commentary, the trainee will be required to re-write it or submit a new RAC within a specified time frame. Rewritten commentaries should show clearly where alterations have been made according to feedback received.

Casework Assessment (Year 3)

By the end of Year 3 trainees will be expected to have become familiar with the process of casework exploration through the application of the problem solving approach. The casework viva gives trainees the chance to demonstrate their fluency with this model and to evidence an understanding of the wider and broader ethical framework in which they practice, and which should inform all casework decisions.

Prior to the viva, trainees will be asked to provide 3 casework reports and their casework table (complete to that point) as this will set the context for casework discussion.

  • Please ensure submitted reports are fully anonymised using culturally appropriate and sensitive pseudonyms in replacement of actual names.
  • Please add a running head to the reports to give report number, pseudonym and age.
  • Please ensure you have highlighted the cases you are submitting/discussing in the viva on your casework table
  • Please ensure you do not delete where the reports have been signed by your supervisor.

The casework viva will be one of the ways in which trainees demonstrate that they understand, and are able to meet, the expectations associated with being a regulated HCPC professional. Meeting these standards is an essential part of being fit to practise. Please refer to the HCPC Guidance on conduct and ethics for students (2016). Some of the questions you will be asked will explore your understanding of these expectations.

During the viva, over a forty-five minute period, trainees will be expected to demonstrate that psychology has informed their thinking, and that they have given consideration to the need to:

The application of a problem-solving model

  • promoting and protecting the interests of service users and carers
  • communicating appropriately and effectively
  • working within the limits of their knowledge and skills
  • delegating appropriately
  • respecting confidentiality
  • managing risk
  • reporting concerns about safety where appropriate
  • being open when things go wrong
  • being honest and trustworthy
  • keeping records of your work

 Additional questions may cover:

  • The legal and ethical boundaries of Educational Psychology
  • Non-discriminatory practice
  • Informed consent
  • Professional duty of care
  • Effective self-management and resources
  • Working in partnership with other professional support staff service users and their families
  • The evidence base for their interventions
  • Their role as a psychologist
  • The impact of their work

https://www.hcpc-uk.org/globalassets/resources/guidance/guidance-on-conduct-and-ethics-for-students.pdf

Trainees will be asked to wait at the end of the oral examination in order to give the examiners time to confer and produce a written feedback summary (see Appendix 4.3). Outcomes will be one of the following:

  • Pass: the trainee meets all the specified requirements to the examiners’ satisfaction.
  • Conditional Pass: there are minor aspects of the trainee’s ability to explain their work and justify their thinking that the examiners feel could be improved. The trainee will be given detailed written feedback and asked to present one of their 3 cases again for oral examination within two weeks.
  • Fail: the trainee has not satisfied the examiners of their ability to explain and justify their work at an appropriate level in a majority of the required areas. The trainee will be given detailed written feedback and asked to present all 3 of their cases again for oral examination at a date to be negotiated with the Practice Director, not later than 6 weeks from the date of the first examination.

The Feedback Form should be included in the Practical Work file.