The BIG dilemma for all case workers: When all else fails, what Can We Do Next?


-by Mark Keep, Team Leader London



Moving cases forward to meet care planning objectives is essential to good social work practice. Serious Case Reviews and internal practice analysis suggest that frontline team managers and social workers often work in isolation under the increasing burden of unmanageable caseloads and external scrutiny. We all know first-hand that this can result in poor client outcomes, case drift, and the absence of essential through-put processes. This creates a ‘knock-on’ effect with new cases piling on top of old, placing further stress on social workers’ ability to meet the needs of children and families in their care.



The benefits of psychological intervention
Most social work interventions are based on the notion of enhancing insight as a pathway to facilitating change. However, when children and parents present with limited insight, most social workers would agree that behavioural therapy is uniquely suited to solve these embedded behavioural obstacles. Unfortunately, affordable, evidence-based behavioural interventions are rarely available to statutory social work practitioners in Early Intervention, SEN, Child Protection, Edge of Care services, and Children in Care service areas.


One-Eighty: a solution to stalled case progression

One-Eighty was originally created via the Youth Offending Service supporting an array of individuals with emotional and behavioural difficulties, anxiety, and depression. However, following extensive research and development it has many applications across different service areas. Some of what One-Eighty does is indeed insight case, like DBT or CBT work, but a vast amount of the work with primary aged children and those on the autistic spectrum is not insight-based. Therefore, it is likely to be more effective than social work interventions that are dependent on improving the service user’s understanding or insights into their own behaviour. One-Eighty provides a unique, affordable and evidence-based psychology support service for children and their parents or carers. One-Eighty is currently working with forward-thinking local authorities throughout Greater London and with proven rates of success.
To date, One-Eighty has often been seen to be exclusively working with vulnerable young people who are either excluded or underachieving academically. However, One-Eighty also supports those with more complex or therapeutic needs, including foster and adoptive families.

One-Eighty can provide effective psychological support to children who fall short of diagnostic thresholds and are not eligible for programmes like CAMHS.




Working in the family home, in schools, or in the community, our service is flexible with the ultimate aim of tailoring each intervention to the young person we are working with. Key to the success of any programme is consistency and collaboration – we provide skilled and trained staff whose focus is to find out the reason behind their behaviour which is exhibited dependent on the location, time of day and aimed at the same or different people, including external stakeholders, schools and families. We are also developing mindsets for self and school as well as increasing each young person’s ability to persevere, particularly when faced with obstacles and setbacks which they can eventually overcome.

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