It is not uncommon for people workers to complain that too much time is spent on ‘paper work’, and not enough on actually working with service users. Although this is quite a reasonable point of view, it also masks a potential danger. It runs the risk of presenting ‘paper work’ as a relatively unimportant consideration. Written communication is a vitally important part of people work. Where it is done badly, or is not done at all, major problems can occur. If we see it as a chore and fail to recognise that it is an integral part of good practice, we are likely not to appreciate its significance or the dangers of neglecting it. This chapter addresses some of the key issues relating to written communication and, in so doing, underlines its importance as a basic aspect of good practice in people work.
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