Working in Complexity


Working in complexity (parents showing resistance, evasion, or disguised compliance)

Formerly Disguised Compliance

Some parents are openly resistant to the involvement of statutory social work services. They will say clearly that they disagree with the social work assessment and refuse to attend services. This kind of resistance can be very challenging – but at least you know where you stand.

Disguised compliance is more hidden and, as a result, more worrying form of resistance. Although the parent may say they agree with the assessment, they really don’t. And although they may attend services/groups because it’s part of the plan, they don’t accept the need to change.

In the most serious cases, parents may attempt to hide the significant harm a child is being exposed to. As a result, working with resistance or disguised compliance has been cited as a factor in several serious case reviews and can be a very challenging problem to address.


•    Recognising resistance including intimidating and evasive behaviours (often described as disguised compliance)
•    Consider barriers impeding successful and timely outcomes for children
•    Know how to put the child at the heart of practice whilst dealing with parents who are difficult to work with and manage resistance.

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Please note: individuals must create their own account. There is no facility for one person to create an account in their name and book places for numerous numbers of staff. If you are booking on behalf of another member of staff you need to register in their name rather than your own.