The Case Management Process

Most commentators view the linked activities of

    • undertaking an assessment
    • forming a plan
    • making the arrangements to implement that plan and monitoring its implementation, and
    • review and revision

....as forming the core, circular process at the heart of case management.

Some academics and writers configure this core process slightly differently (see Literature Review  or Beth Weaver's paper for the Barcelona Conference ) including, for example,  ‘compliance' or ‘enforcement' as a separate activity or ‘preparation' or ‘referral' as a pre-assessment stage, or  ‘induction' or  ‘monitoring' as an activity separate to ‘implementation'.

Within the DOMICE Project, reference to the 'case management process' means this simplest 4 stage concept.

The case manager is, in our terms, whichever person is responsible for this process, in whichever stage of the correctional system the offender happens to be. That person may change from stage to stage or task to task. It may not even be clear whether there is such a person or who it is.

ASSESSMENT

When we use the word assessment we mean: the process of gathering and analysing information and giving meaning to it, in the context of the agency's objectives. Assessment is for the purpose of understanding personal circumstances, needs and risks. It is used to help make decisions to:

  • Individualise treatment and interventions, including passing sentence
  • Target resources appropriately
  • Ensure equality of access to services


Assessment supports many different functions within the overall objectives of correctional systems.  When repeated over time, it provides a means by which effectiveness can be measured. It facilitates information sharing between staff and agencies. When aggregated, it aids future resource and service planning. It makes professional processes transparent which improves credibility and reputation. The precise short-term function affects the scope and nature of each assessment. 

Within the DOMICE project we have asked questions about: who undertakes assessment whether assessments are written down, structured or unstructured, which structures are used and whether assessments are scored or scaled.

PLANNING

We use the word plan to mean a schedule of integrated actions and activities designed to meet given objectives within given time periods. Within correctional settings, some of the actions and activities planned will be mandatory, resulting from some form of legal sanction or measure, whilst others will be discretionary. Some of the time scales will be set by judicial decisions. 

Within the DOMICE project we have asked questions about: who prepares these plans, whether they are written down, or prepared to a set format how well they "flow" from assessments.

IMPLEMENTATION

By implementation (of the plan) we mean: making and maintaining arrangements for the intended actions and activities in the plan to become a reality. Essential in this is that progress is monitored and that any necessary level of contact is maintained and remedial action is taken, including breach, if there is an insufficient level of compliance or co-operation. 

Within the DOMICE project we have asked questions about: What authority the case manager has for ensuring that the plan gets implemented, especially when elements of the plan have to be delivered by someone other than the case manager in person or by persons from a different organisation;  whether there are sufficient resources and interventions available to enable realistic needs-based plans to be made; whether there are protocols or inter-agency agreements which govern partnership arrangements and, in particular, whether there are structured arrangements for the inter-agency case management of the most dangerous and prolific offenders .

REVIEW

By review we mean: taking stock of progress and adjusting the assessment in the light of the progress made (or lack of it), adjusting the plan in the light of both, and at the end, evaluating whether the plan was followed (process evaluation) and whether it achieved what it set out to achieve (outcome evaluation). Review takes place continually on an informal basis and often formally in accordance with a fixed cycle.

Within the DOMICE project we have asked questions about whether this review process is required in each jurisdiction, and if so, how frequently, how it happens and which models seem to work best.