The Role of Risk Management in Social Services

Social workers have to have a wide skill set to manage ethical issues that can and will show up in their daily work. They must choose the right actions in order to minimize risk and maximize positive outcomes. Many social work agencies stick to a risk management plan in order to handle ethical issues, which identifies risks of wide ranging topics and the right solutions to deal with them.

What is Risk Management?

Risks can vary in the social working field, but all have to do with social worker-client relationships. They may include harm to clients, workers, the agency, or others. Workers need to be attentive to the different forms of harm, such as physical, psychological, spiritual, financial or ethical.

Social workers need to be able to identify possible ethical issues and be able to effectively strategize a way to handle them in real time. Once a worker has chosen a course of action, they should continue to observe and respond to risks, as they may change. Risk management may also contain treatment decisions, consulting with supervisors, and maintaining appropriate boundaries with clients.

Things to Consider

Social workers and agencies should consider a plan that includes facing risky interventions that can yield potential benefits. However, no matter the approach, social workers and their agencies should always be diligent about protecting their employees with a well-rounded insurance plan from a social services insurance programs provider.

These programs provide insurance brokers the opportunity to support their social service clients with a safeguard of protection. These programs can include support to reduce losses through effective risk management services.

Rationalizing Risk Management

Risk management is meant to identify potential problems and risks that show up i the social worker field. The goal is to identify them before they occur and minimize potential harm and avoid harm to clients, workers and others. By managing risks, workers and agencies can make strategic choices about which types of risks to try to approach and which to avoid altogether.

Limitations of Risk Management

All in all, risk management is a purposeful approach to ethics. It focuses on consequences of different courses of action and does as much as it can keep risk low. Agencies and workers may, however, put too much focus on risk with management strategies.

A risk-averse approach to decision-making may keep social workers and their agencies protected from lawsuits. But some clients may be held back from services that can provide benefits, such as interventions that get to the meat of issues instead of just relying on surface issues and symptoms. What’s more, risk management may work against helping some of the more vulnerable and needy clients as it avoids additional risks.

About Tangram Insurance Services

Located across the Golden Gate Bridge, just outside of San Francisco, Tangram is a full-service Managing General Underwriter and Program Manager offering specialty programs. We focus on industry-relevant coverage, competitive pricing, and practical business and risk management solutions for your clients. Since we are not all things to all people, we make sure to create outstanding custom-built solutions that matter to those businesses, and the brokers who serve those industries. Contact us at (888) 744-9810.

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