Direct work with individuals and families KSS 7

Last updated: 15 February 2021

Chalk drawing of family

Photo: lefebvre_jonathan/Fotolia

This page sets out the knowledge and skills listed under point 7 (direct work with individuals and families) in the Department for Health and Social Care’s knowledge and skills statement. Against this, we have mapped Community Care Inform Adults’ guides, research, learning tools and other resources to help social workers meet and evidence this part of the statement. The links to the resources are in blue; click to follow them to the page you’re interested in.

What the statement says Resources to help you
• Social workers need to be able to work directly with individuals and their families through the professional use of self, using interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence to create relationships based on openness, transparency and empathy.

• They should know how to build purposeful, effective relationships underpinned by reciprocity.

• They should be able to communicate clearly, sensitively and effectively, applying a range of best evidence-based methods of written, oral and non-verbal communication and adapt these methods to match the person’s age, comprehension and culture.

• Social workers should be capable of communicating effectively with people with specific communication needs, including those with learning disabilities, dementia, people who lack mental capacity and people with sensory impairment. They should do this in ways that are engaging, respectful, motivating and effective, even when dealing with conflict - whether perceived or actual - anger and resistance to change.

• Social workers should have a high level of skill in applying evidence-based, effective social work approaches to help service users and families handle change, especially where individuals and families are in transition, including young people moving to adulthood, supporting them to move to different living arrangements and understanding the impact of loss and change.

Strengths-based questions: quick guide contains strengths-based ideas for moving beyond completion of an assessment form, and suggested questions and strategies for engaging people to build an understanding of their life, strengths and goals plus hints on their use.

A strengths-based approach to difficult conversations contains ideas for coping with difficult conversations using strengths-based practice.

Using attachment theory to work with adults explains how using an adult attachment interview can help improve assessments and outcomes.

Webinar: attachment-based practice with adults discusses how understanding attachment patterns can help identify behaviour patterns which people may be using to keep themselves safe but actually keep them stuck in unhelpful cycles.

Learn on the go podcast: motivational interviewing explains what motivational interviewing (MI) is and the research base behind it, and contains improvised scenarios giving examples of how to use an MI approach in social work practice.

Unconscious bias in social care: quick guide provides guidance on how to commit consciously to being fair, inclusive and respectful to everyone you come into contact with, and how you can consciously work to create an environment that embraces all three.

Improving communication with adults with learning disabilities: quick guide contains practice tips on communicating verbally and non-verbally while carrying out assessments and reviews.

Working with looked-after teenagers: transition includes key tools and approaches social workers can use to support young people in and leaving care.

Care homes and older people: lessons from research looks at the evidence into what hinders or enhances the chances of a positive transition to long-term care for older people, their carers, family and friends.

Addressing loneliness and social isolation: lessons from research details how loneliness and social isolation affects wellbeing across the life course, how inequality intersects with social isolation, and how social workers can work with and support lonely and isolated people.

Links to resource maps for other parts of the KSS: