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Jo Wood, Cafcass –Build it and they will come: developing an in-house service for practitioners.

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paper from Supporting Practitioners in Health and Social Care.ALISS conference
11th February 2015

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Jo Wood, Cafcass –Build it and they will come: developing an in-house service for practitioners.

  1. 1. Build it and they will come: developing an in- house service for practitioners Jo Wood, Librarian Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass)
  2. 2. Overview • A brief history of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service • Why did Cafcass need a library service? • A brief(ish) history of the library • Why does Cafcass have a library now? • An overview of the service • What else does the library do? • The importance of statistics and feedback • Proving our worth – library impact study 2013 • Pros and cons of building a library service • Future developments • …and finally…
  3. 3. A brief history of Cafcass • Set up on 1st April 2001 • Brought together the family court services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Service and the Children’s Division of the Official Solicitor’s Office. • Non-Departmental Public Body, accountable to the Ministry of Justice • Employs c.1,300 Family Court Advisors (qualified, experienced social workers) across 43 sites in England • Remit to support the 140,000 children and young people each year who go through the family justice system
  4. 4. Why did Cafcass need a library/information service? From the Cafcass-Barnardo’s terms of reference document, April 2006: • Enable staff in 10 regions across England, based in over 100 locations around the country, to access up-to- date published information in a cost effective way • Reduce time spent searching for information  Assist staff to keep up-to-date with their own area of work  Support staff development and training  Promote knowledge management initiatives Libraries v Google:
  5. 5. A brief(ish) history of the Library, Part 1 2004 – Commissioned by Cafcass, NSPCC conducted a library feasibility study 2006 – Jo appointed; start of Cafcass-Barnardo’s Library partnership 2006-2009 – Barnardo’s-Cafcass remote library service 2008 – Barnardo’s decided to close their library 2009 – Jo transferred from Barnardo’s to Cafcass and tasked with re-establishing the library. 2009-2011 – Cafcass Library based near London Bridge
  6. 6. A room with some books in The Cafcass Library at London Bridge, 2009-2011
  7. 7. A brief(ish) history of the Library, Part 2 2010 – Library Assistant appointed to support Jo 2011 – Library moved into Cafcass National Office at the Department for Education 2014 – National Office moved to Bloomsbury; sponsorship moved over to the Ministry of Justice
  8. 8. An area with some books in The Cafcass Library in the Department for Education building, 2011- 2014
  9. 9. Why does Cafcass have a Library now? The Library has four functions: 1. To support the development of evidence-informed practice and to assist practitioners in using research in their work 2. To support the CPD (Continued Professional Development) needs of staff 3. To support staff undertaking academic studies. 4. To support the work of National Office functions, including: the National Improvement Service, Policy, Communications and HR (essentially, we work with every department you can think of.) The Library also supports social work students on placement with Cafcass and Newly-Qualified Social Workers.
  10. 10. The Cafcass Library in Bloomsbury, 2014 - present
  11. 11. An overview of the library service •We offer a comprehensive remote Library and Information Service that is available for all staff to use, regardless of location. • The Library has two staff: the Librarian and the Library Assistant. •The Library collections are composed of more than 19,000 books, journal articles, government publications, research reports and links to online content. •The Library subscribes to a small number of journals and has a budget to buy books. We also subscribe to the Medline and PsycInfo databases via Ovid. •. The Librarian monitors more than 80 journal titles. The Library Assistant monitors nearly 300 websites and online resources that are relevant to the work of Cafcass. All pertinent items are added to the Library Catalogue. • We use the Olib Library Management System •We classify books using the Bliss classification system
  12. 12. What else does the Library do? (1) Producing current awareness bulletins: 1.Recently Added to the Library’ Bulletin (monthly) -Contains c.120 items per month. Each item listed with unique reference number to make requesting easier and a brief abstract 2. Library, Research and Policy Bulletin (monthly) -A 2-page summary of the work of these teams, highlighting internal and external news and access links to Research in Practice training courses 3. Human Resources and Organisational Development bulletin (monthly) -A topic-focused summary of research on a particular area, agreed on collaboratively with HR staff
  13. 13. What else does the Library do? (2) •Collecting usage stats •Writing knowledge bites/key messages documents for the MySkills e-learning portal and the staff intranet • Solving ‘Needle in a haystack’ enquiries •Managing the Research in Practice contract •Providing a remote library service to West Berkshire local authority
  14. 14. The importance of statistics and feedback We collect statistics on: •Requests (defined as any contact with the library for items, advice or enquiries) •Book loans •Article requests •Subject requests and literature searches •The most requested/borrowed books •Library use by individual user, office and service area Reporting procedures: •Monthly reports to my line manager •Quarterly and annual reports to the Chief Executive and Cafcass Board
  15. 15. Quarterly statistics – April 2009 - present
  16. 16. Statistics overview: Then (2009-2010) Now (2014-2015)* 1,411 requests 3,900 requests 536 book loans 1,794 book loans 1,531 article/online requests 5,958 article/online requests 197 subject searches 938 subject searches *to 31st January 2015
  17. 17. Feedback, or nice things that people have said about us “The Library has proved to be an invaluable resource on a number of projects I have worked on over my time as a Graduate. Jo and Shauna are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the Library is the primary source of resources for all Cafcass staff and Practitioners”. Paul Froud, Graduate. “Fantastic resource at our fingertips, [I] have regularly encouraged team members to access [the] Library for research to underpin practice. I have the Library as a standing agenda item for team meetings and forward Recently Added information to [the] team” Service Manager, Brighton. “I think it’s an excellent resource and one of the best things about working for Cafcass as you can always rely on finding, or being pointed in the right direction, to access appropriate material” FCA, London. “…Jo is a well informed and extremely helpful contact…I consider [the Library] to be one of the most beneficial resources Cafcass offers its staff” Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive.
  18. 18. Impact study 2013 – proving our worth • Conducted a Survey Monkey survey, followed by in-depth telephone interviews and a survey of subject requests received. The results indicated that: • 99% of respondents described the Library as being either very helpful or ‘quite helpful’ in assisting them with their casework. • 96% of respondents that engaged in academic study were satisfied with the level of service received from the Library. • Where dissatisfaction was expressed, the source of dissatisfaction as related primarily to the absence of relevant research, rather than the Library service. • The Library service is used by operational staff within both private and public law, particularly where in-depth understanding and assessment of safeguarding matters is required. • Very high levels of satisfaction with the Library Service, notably the speed with which requests are dealt with, the efficiency of the Library staff and the time-saving aspects of being able to access an in-house Library. The Library was compared favourably with external information services.
  19. 19. Pros and cons of building a library service The Good 1. You get to own all of the big decisions 2. You can tailor the service to fit the needs of your users 3. No-one tells you what to do and how to do it 4. I’m the ‘Library expert’ in the organisation 5. Don’t like something? You can change it without having to go through a lengthy approval process. 6. It’s hugely rewarding 7. It’s the best job I will ever have in the profession The Bad 1. Failure isn’t an option 2. Constantly having to justify what you do to internal and external stakeholders 3. Continued uncertainty in the public sector 4. There’s no-one to bounce ideas off and it can be quite lonely 5. You have to learn as you go and accept that progress won’t always be linear 6. There’s no-one else to blame when things go wrong
  20. 20. Davenport Public Library Via: http://41.media.tumblr.com/0b3765f0ba2429c6adfa9328f7f065bf/tumblr_nh7j 3zal0n1rmidh1o8_1280.jpg
  21. 21. Future developments 1.E-books (possibly) - coverage isn’t quite there yet; practitioners still like actual books sometimes. We have conducted two studies in the last three years – we’re looking at doing another one towards the end of this year 2.New library catalogue (hopefully) – Cafcass is undergoing an IT procurement process. The Library Management System is part of the improvement programme
  22. 22. …and finally If you want to find out more, visit the Library or simply contact me for a chat… E-mail: jo.wood@cafcass.gsi.gov.uk Twitter: @JoWood79 Work mobile: 0782 3553176

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