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Knowledge is the power to do good

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Education and training, Knowledge and skills

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 work of the social work profession [is] crucial to the success of social care legislation and policy.'
'The work of the social work profession [is] crucial to the success of social care legislation and policy.'
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.

Use the comment box at the bottom of this post – tell me your stories!

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  1. Comment by Cath Lawrie posted on

    What impact might this have existing arrangements for AMHP training?

  2. Comment by luke evans posted on

    Hi I found the consultation useful and the recommendations supportive . I would make one comment on the "knowledge is the power to do good" statement. A straw pole with colleagues felt this statement a little woolly and subjective, as knowledge is not always the power to do good but can be use in may ways. Maybe a stronger more grounded statement could have been used ?

  3. Comment by Anon posted on

    What provision is there for helping professionals working for Local Authorities as what can only be described as 'unqualified social workers' to obtain the elusive Social Work qualification? I feel the Government is really missing a trick not supporting current Local Authority employees to get qualified. These professionals are keen and motivated and really know what the reality of social work is, they are familar with Local Authority procedures and process and are clearly committed to the profession and their local area. It seems obtaining the qualification is becoming the preserve of the well-off as it means leaving employment and returning to education full time which is not an option for most individuals. In addition to this, these more experienced (sometimes slightly older) workers have a wealth of knowledge that is heavily relied upon by newly qualified social workers, fresh out of university who have limited experience of working with hard to reach communities, complex families and individuals. Please please please can proper consideration be given to how to give more support to these highly skilled staff already working in the sector? I feel these committed hard working individuals who remain in the profession despite little opportunity need to be rewarded and developed further, why not give them the educational opportunities they deserve? Instead of just ignoring this huge reservoir of skill? As I said before the Government is really missing a trick not understanding how inaccessible obtaining a social work qualification has become for those who already do the work and are in essence 'plugging the gaps'. Thank you, I hope you don't find my comments too negative, it just feels like ludicrous situation which isn't fully appreciated at the higher echelons, surely you need Social Workers who are switched on, compassionate, who are able to engage with people from troubled backgrounds, build rapports and who are able identify risks which aren't always obvious. And most importantly appreciate what the reality of real social work is. Thank you, I look forward to recieving your response.


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