The responsibility of middle management within the Child Abuse Investigation team is enabling the organisation to achieve its goal in the safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, protecting children from abuse and neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care which is undertaken so as to enable children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting child welfare and refers to activity undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or at risk of suffering from significant harm. The goals and objectives for the Child Abuse Investigation Command for the Metropolitan police involve working in partnership with other agencies are to:
- 1. Improve Investigation outcomes of all investigations by the Child Abuse Investigation teams.
- 2. Manage all offenders of Investigations to reduce the number of outstanding suspects in the year 2013 - 14 by 10% 3. Improve vulnerable victims of care.
- 4. Continue and improve Multi-Agency working.
- 5. Achieve a sanction detection rate for all Child crime of 22%.
- 6. Increase number of sanction detections for rape by 5% (47%) total.
- 7. Increase number of sanction detections for serious sexual offences by 5% (25%) total.
- 8. Achieve a sanction detection rate for violence with injury (actual bodily harm and above) of 34%.
- 9. Attend all Initial case conferences for children on a child protection plan to 95%.
- 10. Attend all review case conferences for children on a child protection plan to 50%.
- 11. To have a strategy discussion 90% of the time with social services within 24 hours of a child case being known to agencies.
- 12. Staff to be compliant to booking on with 30 minutes of attending work.
As a middle manager I am responsible for achieving the above goals and targets within my team to enhance the overall goals for the command. My first strategy is to make sure that the Metropolitan record and investigate all allegations of crime that comes within the scope of the term 'child abuse' in co-operation with Local Authorities and other appropriate agencies. My role as management is to help the organisation make the best use of its resources to achieve its goals. This is achieved by performing four essential managerial functions; planning, organising, leading and controlling.
Planning is a process that I would use as a manager to identify and select appropriate goals and courses of action. In my case goals would be set for me by senior management. The three steps in the planning process are (1) deciding which goals the organisation will pursue, (2) deciding what actions to adopt to attain these goals and (3) deciding how to allocate organisational resources to accomplish them. The performance level is determined by how effective I am at planning.
Organising is a process that I would use to establish a structure of working relationships that allow organisational members to interact and co-operate to achieve organisational goals. Organising involves grouping people into departments according to the kinds of job-specific tasks they perform. In organising, I would also lay out the lines of authority and responsibility between different individuals and groups, and decide how best to co-ordinate organisational resources, particularly human resources. Leading is a complex and interdependent process involving leaders and followers in a reciprocal relationship.
A key facet of leadership is to articulate a clear vision for organisational members to follow. This should enable organisational members to understand the role they play in achieving organisational goals. Leadership can depend on the use of power, influence, vision, persuasion and communication skills to co-ordinate the behaviours of individuals and groups so that their activities and efforts are in harmony. The ideal outcome of good leadership is a high level of motivation and commitment among organisational members.
In controlling as a manager I evaluate how well an organisation is achieving its goals, and take action to maintain or improve performance. I will monitor the performance of individuals, departments and the organisation as a whole, for example, to see whether they are meeting desired performance standards. If standards are not being met I will take action to improve performance. This might mean a changing in direction to maintain performance. The outcome of the control process is the ability to measure performance accurately and regulate organisational efficiency and effectiveness.
To exercise control, I must decide how goals are obtained. I must design information and control systems that will provide the data needed to assess performance. The controlling function also allows me to evaluate how well staff are performing the other three functions of management – planning, organising and leading and to take corrective action where necessary. This relies on organisational feedback mechanisms.
How I deal and interact with other people greatly affects my managerial communication. Therefore, interpersonal skills with communication can help me be more successful as a manager and improve my working relationships with staff and partner agencies. The way I communicate with other people improves confidence, enhances my relationships with others thereby improving my effectiveness in the workplace.
By using my interpersonal skills and communication, firstly I will need to build bridges with staff and partner agencies and form relationships. This then will give me the opportunity for supervisors and staff to build trust and confidence in me as a manager as well as me building confidence and trust in my supervisors and team. It will give me the opportunity to have one to one and team meetings for me to share my ideas and plan ahead to achieve the requirement performance to meet our targets.
This will give staff the opportunity to discuss strategies and operational plans and how they will be implemented. It also gives my supervisors and staff the opportunity to share in this process and to have the confidence to put ideas forward that can be implemented into the plan. This makes them feel part of the decision making process. It also has the effect of an open and honest debate whether we are trained to the right level, using the right staff with the qualified skills to achieve our performance.
This makes staff feel part of the overall plan, and give shared ownership of the system and processes to enhance and achieve the unit’s performance. Ultimately the responsibility of the plan sits with me and sometimes difficult decision have to be made that our unpopular, but it is how I implement those plans that will help me achieve my goals. I will cover three critical strategies to overcome barriers to effective managerial communication and interpersonal skills and will discuss these in more depth.
They are as follows:
- 1. Assertion skills.
- 2. Listening skills.
- 3. Conflict resolution skills.
These are skills that enable you to maintain respect, satisfy your needs and defend you rights without dominating, manipulating, abusing or controlling others. Assertive behaviour gives you the strength as an individual to stand up for your rights, your team’s rights and challenge poor performance and senior management if appropriate. This gives you the strength as a leader to direct others without the need to be aggressive or manipulative.
Having these skills gives you the confidence in negotiating and compromise without feeling uncomfortable. Though one must be careful as assertiveness in one culture may be viewed as aggressive.
These skills enable you to understand what another person is saying. They include new ways of responding so that the other person feels their problems and feelings have been understood. The best way to understand what the other person is saying is to paraphrase or rephrase what is being said to you in your own words, which gives an understanding. Receiving and giving criticism is also part of the listening process. The only thing more difficult than giving criticism is receiving it and the best form of criticism to make it constructive and explaining the wider picture to show that actions of one have an impact on many.
Conflict resolution skills
These skills enable you to resolve or manage conflicts effectively. Conflict is inevitable and you are faced with three options; yield, compromise and overpower. Yield can be used when issues are less important and relationships are more important and it helps in the bigger scheme of things as for banking favours. Comprise is the best approach when both parties can agree. Overpower is used when there can be no comprise on performance. Conflict may be healthy or destructive, but can bring creative thinking and the opportunity to improve things.
Be able to assess personal development opportunities to improve own managerial performance I have three years experience working in Child protection as a Detective Inspector. Over that period of time I have built up a good knowledge of how of a child abuse investigation works from cradle to grave. I have a thorough understanding of all the stages from the initial referral of children to a full criminal investigation through to the court process. I am also fully conversant with child protection plans and the process that it follows working along side social services. I have good communications skills with my staff and partner agencies.
I have four behaviours and four core responsibilities that have an effect on my own managerial performance. I will break this down and explain the impact that this has on my performance. The first four are core responsibilities:
- 1. Managing and developing people - This involves carrying out performance reviews at regular periods to make sure you are on target. This will provide me with evidence to identify individual development needs and help me produce development plans that relate to performance. I will then be able to monitor and evaluate performance of individuals. This empowers me to delegate work suited to individual needs.
- 2. Personal responsibility - This involves setting own personal goals and monitors own achievement. Taking responsibility when things go wrong or when others can’t handle the situation. Confronts, challenges and takes leadership at appropriate times asserting authority where it is required. Ask for and acts on feedback and criticism and is open and honest with people.
- 3. Finance and resources - Monitor budgets to reduce cost and plan for operations in advance to cover costs. Be able to authorise budget expenditure in line with my authority. Keep records ensuring that these are complete an accurate and made available to authorised personnel.
- 4. Investigation - Take responsibility for all investigations under my authority to make sure strategy plans are set, regular reviews are taking place in line with standard operation procedures. Ensure that all lines of enquiry are prioritised, actioned and recorded. Evaluate evidence, information and intelligence gained, identifying further lines of enquiry as necessary. Once enquiries are complete make sure correct path is taken for the outcome of that investigation and final reports are written to a high standard before being closed or passed onto the CPS.
The second four are about achieving results:
- 1. Problem solving - I should be able identify issues early on and gain information on all aspects of the problem, separating relevant information from irrelevant information. Reviews all the information gathered to understand the situation and draw logical conclusions. Remain impartial and avoids jumping to conclusions, making good decisions that take account of all relevant factors.
- 2. Planning and organising - I decide priorities and organise workloads towards performance. I differentiate between what is urgent and what is important. Develop ways to achieve goals through careful planning making sure that targets are met on time. Maintains paperwork and creates a system whereby all information is easily accessible. I do not lose sight of goals.
- 3. Personal responsibility - This also sits with core responsibilities which I have covered above.
- 4. Resilience - This helps to deal confidently with members or staff and partner agencies drawing on own skills and experience. Be able to put a positive view on situations and managing stress, while accepting criticism and praise. Acts in a confidence way when challenged and says no when necessary.