It is a question I have been pondering for some time. There are lots of positive points to delegation especially for a DSL and for my other job running a boarding house. Sharing an issue verbally and physically can help reduce the stress levels considerably. There is a point when I feel like everyone has a problem and world is a horrible place? I know at this point I need support and if a new case was drawn to my attention, having another member of the DSP team take the lead is great, but if I honestly looked at my case load, how many times have I actually done this?
One area I feel I am good at is talking though a case or an issue. I have found that it can help reassure me or can train up the staff who have only just started the roller plaster ride that is “safeguarding”. There is nothing quite like experience. The two day training course for DSL , opens your eyes to so many issue, but is focused on a lot of “what if”. Actually having to make that phone call or listen to a child’s life at home is a completely different kettle of fish. And every phone call is different. Going through a case with someone else can be a little confrontational. Looking back over is something teachers are used to with Ofsted or ISI but this is very different. It feels a lot more personal and you were often making decisions on the spot which if I did again, would be completely different, depending on the child etc. After going through three safeguarding audits / inspection recently, going over cases with my team has helped tremendously. I felt prepared to discuss any case that they asked about.
Filling in the paper work, and making contact with the outside services is something that is very time consuming for a DSL. I used to ( well still do sometimes) think that it was quicker and less work if I did it all myself. While this is sometimes true, what kind of leader does this make me? And what would happen if I was away? Or hit by a bus as my Headmaster often asks me. Perhaps this is where I need to look at myself and my role.
But to do this you need to have a good team, one that you trust, that you feel safe with and can rely on. This is probably one of the issues with delegation.What happens when you don’t trust your team? I suppose this is why going over cases is important, it gives you a chance to go over cases with everyone, even those that you are not confident with. Safeguarding is vital for so many reasons. You don’t always get to pick your team and if you have any doubts you need to raise them. The 3 recent audits have taught me that as DSL I am responsible for a lot more that I expected or was aware of at the training. Perhaps this is why I find delegation a challenging topic. It’s my head on the chopping block a lot of the time so having a member of the team who isn’t “playing by the team rules” can add stress.
Perhaps I being a little power happy and set in my ways ? I don’t think so, but perhaps this is how I come across to some of my staff and to an outsider. I have a team of DSP, how do I use them? Am I a good leader for them? not sure at the moment. So much to ponder.