Social work employer standard 4: Assessing and managing risk

Make sure that social workers can do their jobs safely and have the practical tools and resources they need to practise effectively. Assess risks and take action to minimise and prevent them.


The requirements for this standard are summarised below.

View the full details for this standard on the LGA website.

A social worker’s working environment, resources and access to practical tools and support should be designed to deliver safe and effective professional practice. Employers should meet the safety and welfare needs of social workers. All employers should:

  • Make a quiet space available for formal supervision, informal confidential professional discussions between colleagues, and team meetings. There should also be a suitable space for confidential interviews with adequate safety measures to protect practitioners.
  • Foster a culture of openness and equality in the organisation that empowers social workers to make appropriate professional judgements within a supportive environment.
  • Enable social workers and managers to raise concerns about inadequate resources, operational difficulties, workload issues or their own skills and capacity for work without fear of recrimination.
  • Have in place effective systems for reporting and responding to concerns raised by social workers and managers so that risks are assessed and preventative and protective measures are taken.
  • Ensure that the risks of violence, harassment and bullying are assessed, minimised and prevented. Where such instances do occur, there should be clear procedures in place to address, monitor and review the situation.
  • Make employee welfare services available for all social workers.
  • Provide social workers with appropriate practical tools to do their job including effective case recording and other IT systems, access to the internet and mobile communications. They should have safe means of transport for visiting service users and for field work.
  • Provide social workers with access to fellow professionals including legal advisors, translators, and interpreters.
  • Provide skilled administrative staff to support social workers and help to maximise the time social workers are able to spend working directly with the children, adults and families who use services.

Examples of how Inform can support this standard:

Improving Outcomes

Guide to better information, better decisions, better outcomes – a frontline manager’s guide to information systems.

Guide to developing a competent workplace in children’s social care linking practice, supervision and strategic planning.

Guide to monitoring and evaluation of services for frontline managers.


Organisation Culture

Guide to change management.

Guide to effective supervision: What is it and how can supervisors ensure they provide it?

Guide to rethinking management in social work and social care: Managers as systems designers.

Line manager briefing on whistleblowing.


Equality and Support

Guide to managing not-qualified staff.

Guide to using interpreters in children’s services.

Line manager briefing on motivation.


Minimise risks of violence, harassment and bullying

Guide to how to deal with hostile and aggressive adults or young people and how to manage intimidating situations – a guide for workers.

Guide to managing risk in social work.

Guide to working in fear – how to work and practise when you feel frightened.

Line manager briefing on bullying and harassment.


Practice Tools

Direct social work with disabled children: The experiences of a specialist team.

Guide to pre-birth assessments.

Parenting assessments.