Reflective practice is an essential part of relationship based practice and the perceived absence of skilled and consistent provision of reflective spaces, both individual and group based, in most social work and social care organisations is one of the most frequently identified obstacles to the advancement of good practice.
RPGs are generally small facilitated groups informed by therapeutic principles but focused on supporting staff in relation to their practice or management tasks and roles.. The groups can be open or closed but usually meet on a regular basis. There are different models of delivery including work discussion, case reflection groups and action learning.
In 2015 as Director of CfSWP Dr Herd set up a whole system RPG project for Brighton and Hove children’s social care. This included facilitation of RPGs by CfSWP associates to senior managers, managers, and lead practitioners who then deliver RPGs to the rest of the field work social workers meaning all social workers and senior staff have access to a once monthly RPG group.
Evaluation has shown that 61% of staff felt the RPGs had helped them develop better understanding of complex problems in their cases and strengthened their professional identity, 67% believed it had helped them manage the emotional impact of their work and 85% thought it further developed their ability to reflect upon their work. The Brighton and Hove Social Work Survey 2018 received feedback that 85% of social workers felt ‘safe and supported’ at work and 81% thought their RPG provided emotional containment.
More importantly over the 3 years of the project so far which has been part of an re-organisation on relationship based lines of children’s services; agency staffing has been reduced from 20% to 0%, children on the child protection plans has gone down by 10% and those in care is 17% lower.
Orb8 are now working with CfSWP to deliver two further RPG projects in the North of England and a London Borough which will begin in early 2019. RPG’s are a core part of Orb8 delivery and can be provided in a broad range of settings. It is a central part of our Therapeutic Foster Care trainings and each session includes an RPG.
If you are interested in learning more about RPG’s read our front page articlePause for thought2 PSW article