February 26, 2016 3:30 pm
I’d like to share with you 5 tips in order to get your statement right.
Writing statements is something that you may only do once or twice, depending on your role. If you’re a Safeguarding Officer, then you may be writing them all the time so may be a master at this. If you’re a GP then maybe you’re doing quite a few over the course of a year.
For many of you working in Child Protection, they’re the sorts of documents that you’ll be asked to write at some point, but it may take some time for you to get there and when you’re asked to do them, they can be quite daunting and you may not really know what needs to go in them.
There are an awful lot of rules about Court statements. you can find the guide here but I want to share some basics with you, if you remember these, you won’t go far wrong in terms of getting your statement right for whomever you are writing it for.
Use Headed Paper
So the first thing is, make sure it’s on headed paper. If you’re writing this as a Safeguarding Officer of a nursery setting or a GP, or a Sports coach, and you’re writing it as a professional who works with that child or using your records from your professional, then use headed paper. It’s official, it tells everybody how they contact you and it confirms from where that statement is coming. So that’s the first thing. Use headed paper.
Say who you are
The second thing is say who you are. Give your name, there are so many statements and reports that I see when they come across my desk when I’m dealing with Court work or dealing with referrals, that just don’t say who the person is that’s written the report. So put your name on it, say who you are!
What are your qualifications?
The third thing, say what your qualifications are. If you’re writing this as a professional, say you’re writing it as a professional, say what your qualifications are. You don’t have to write a long list (this isn’t a CV), you don’t have to do any more than ‘I am X and I work for X as the Safeguarding Officer, or I am the family’s General Practitioner, or I am the Sports Coach for this particular child’.
It’s not particularly complicated, but it’s one of those things that just says to everybody who you are, and why you are writing this and in what capacity you are writing this.
The fourth thing is the content of your report and your statement. If you’re writing it as a professional, then stick to the facts unless you’ve been asked otherwise,
If you’ve been asked for opinions, give it & follow the requirements of Practice Direction 25, but the chances are, if you work as a Safeguarding Officer or a Sports Coach or GP, you’re just being asked for the facts.
A court order will tell you what you need to cover. Usually it’s along the lines of,
- does the child turn up on time
- Are they well presented?
- Are they punctual?
- What’s parents’ presentation like?
- Are they engaging?
- Do parents work with you?
Again, if it’s for a Court report, you’ll be given more information about what is needed, but unless you’ve been specifically asked for your opinion, don’t give it.
Sign and date
Finally, sign & date your statement. It’s a really easy thing, but you will not believe the number of people that just don’t sign or date their statements. So when it comes across my desk, or it goes to another professional’s desk, it’s not signed and they’ve no idea when this statement was written.
So, five things to remember when you’re next asked to write a statement or a report, for any other third party are:
- Make it official, put it on headed paper,
- Say who you are, tell them your name
- Say what your qualifications are, say in what capacity you’[re writing this, are you the Safeguarding Officer, are you the Head, are you the Sports Coach, are you the GP/
- Be factual
- Sign it and date it.
Want more guidance join our Academy
Get our free weekly newsletter here