It is important to have a structure, less good, if this structure is imperfect, whether because of education, understanding, expectations, etc. – I do not believe that written agreements are bad in principle – should they be signed?, do they work? Should they always be used? – but the social worker needs structure, just like families, so this review can highlight the need to change or adjust how and when they are used through alternative tools, those available. For example, a person with mental health issues may feel that they need to have contact with their mental health team. They may also not really believe they have a mental illness (i.e., they lack insight). They might be bipolar and love being MANIC because it makes them feel invincible. This person might tell the mental health team that they are taking all of their pills, but they are not taking them at all. False adherence may work for some time, and the mental health team may reduce their visits, believing that the service user is medication compliant and therefore psychologically stable (i.e., not symptomatic). In the meantime, the service user who does NOT take their medication regularly may initially feel relieved or even proud to have escaped the continued attention of mental health services, and may be happy that visits/appointments have decreased. However, over time, the symptoms of mental illness (e.g., B psychosis, hallucinations, extreme nervous energy) can return, and without renewed intervention from mental health services, the person may find themselves in crisis.
The idea of “partnership work” (partnership agreement) is a sophisticated way of talking about trust and teamwork, and aims to convey the idea that social services are there to support families, even if this is not always the case for a parent who is scrutinized. Well-drafted waiting contracts determine not only what is expected of parents, but also what parents can expect from social workers, including practical support. However, the main purpose of these agreements is more often to ensure the safety of children through parental agreements on their own behaviour. A written agreement may require parents to meet a number of expectations deemed necessary to protect children. These expectations may include not drinking alcohol when caring for children, ensuring that children attend school regularly, and not having contact with that abusive partner in abusive relationships. In June, a serious review of the death of a four-week-old baby included many criticisms of how social workers used written agreements. The author stated that a written agreement signed by the parents was “not a security measure” and served to “give social workers a certain level of security”. He warned against using written agreements to “protect the agency” rather than being part of a plan to protect children. .