Today I am very pleased to announce we have published the Department of Health response to the consultation on the knowledge and skills required for social work in adult social care.
Social workers touch the lives of so many people with diverse needs and aspirations throughout their lives and with increasingly high expectations of us as professionals – and rightly so. It is encouraging that so many of you chose to respond to this consultation, whether individually or through the organisations and groups you are involved with, and I would like to thank all of you for your thoughtful and informative contributions.
The knowledge and skills statement, published with this response, sets out for the first time, what we expect a social worker with adults to know and be able to do after their first year in employment. It also places a strong emphasis on the role of employers and the training and support they must provide to deliver quality social workers. The statement will inform a more rigorous approach to how the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) is being applied and assessed.
This statement sits firmly within the Government’s wider ambition for social work with adults, to create a highly skilled, flexible workforce, able to contribute to improved outcomes with people in all settings.
That is why a comprehensive framework for continuous professional development and supporting curriculum guidance is also being developed, initially focussing on the skills and knowledge required for social work with people with autism, dementia and those who lack mental capacity. Together, these will provide a clear progression route for both newly qualified and experienced social workers to enrich and deepen their knowledge, skills and practice, as well as a structure for practitioners and employers to ensure these are kept up to date.
Social work is complex and requires working with high levels of risk and uncertainty using the best approaches and interventions to balance enabling and protection. Social workers help people through times of crisis in their lives, working alongside and supporting people through change in the context of the lives they want to lead, with their families and within their communities. It is this unique contribution that makes the work of the social work profession crucial to the success of social care legislation and policy.
I want to thank everyone who has contributed to developing this statement, especially social work practitioners and, most importantly, the people who use their services.
Whether you are an educator, social work student, newly qualified or experienced in the field, do let me know how this new statement, and the learning and support frameworks that go with it, will help you in your work. Social work is constantly evolving and I believe we are now better equipped than ever as a profession to adapt and serve the needs of an increasingly diverse and complex society - and the changing landscape of health and social care.
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