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New social work body could empower our whole profession

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

Recognition of our worth as social workers is always welcome – when backed with the intent to create and strengthen new and existing frameworks to support and promote our work, even more so.

'Social work is complex. It involves working with people to understand their lives, using empathy to build relationships and critical analysis and reflection to make life changing decisions.'
'Social work is complex. It involves working with people to understand their lives, using empathy to build relationships, critical analysis and reflection to make life changing decisions.'

That’s why Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan’s announcement of the creation of a new regulatory body for social work is so significant for the entire profession. It demonstrates support for social workers and the ambition to continue to drive up quality, status and regard for our practice, whilst recognising the vital role we play in improving lives for our most vulnerable children, families and adults.

Social work is complex. It involves working with people to understand their lives, using empathy to build relationships, critical analysis and reflection to make life changing decisions to enable people to have better lives. Working with risk, taking a human rights and social justice approach, keeping children, individuals and their families’ wellbeing at the centre is challenging but rewarding work.

Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan
Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan

The announcement recognises social work’s uniqueness and importance, strengthening our priorities on education, training, social work regulation and practice improvement across children and adults’ social care.

This will enhance a system of regulation which supports a single, unified profession, with an initial qualification giving social workers the freedom to work in many settings and contexts across England and the United Kingdom.

Importantly, however, it will also provide the opportunity for support and recognition of post-qualifying accreditation and specialisms in some of the most complex areas of social work practice, including statutory child and family social work and adult social care.

The accreditation of supervisors and practice leaders will be a significant achievement and will help drive up practice standards across children and adults’ services. The intention is for the new body to provide independent validation of the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) for social workers working with adults, which complements the accreditation approach for statutory child and family frontline practitioners.

For more experienced adult social workers, the intention for new arrangements to support a national accreditation function in relation to Best Interest Assessor (BIA) and Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) roles is also to be welcomed. Additionally, I am keen to work with the sector to develop accreditation in specialist areas including dementia and learning disabilities. This will achieve recognition for the contribution social workers make to integrated health and care services. This is all in pursuit of improved outcomes for people, keeping them safe and making the best possible use of available resources.

Recruiting the right people into the profession and supporting them to develop the knowledge and skills needed to improve lives is one of the most important things we can do, so this commitment to strengthen quality and training within our profession is very welcome. This proposal is intended to support improvements in the quality and consistency of social work practice, ongoing professional development and to promote the importance of good supervision, support and leadership for one of the most important professions in the country. Social workers are undertaking positive and life changing work every day.

Hopefully, these arrangements will support our profession as never before – giving it the recognition and support it deserves.

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  1. Comment by Valerie Gustar posted on

    It appears that this announcement is entirely about social workers in Children's services.
    When will Social Workers in adult services receive the same recognition and development pathways.

  2. Comment by Andrew S Hatton posted on

    I shall make the same comment as I have done to the related report in Community Care

    " Interesting how the word Probation – traditionally a specialist branch of social work & family court social work (which grew from probation before also being cut away by HM Government in 2001) – in England and Wales – does not get a mention.

    On a day that a part of the London Borough of Islington’s Social Work receives a poor report from no less than Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation, regarding its youth offending service.

    I have the impression that some involved with social work do not like to acknowledge that child care and mental health social work often involves the criminal courts! "

  3. Comment by Sherry Malik, former Deputy CEO of GSCC. posted on

    These are all functions that the GSCC undertook and was developing and strengthening them working collaboratively with partners to reform social work. And then it was decided to close it down and transfer the role to HCPC. We have lost these past 4 years so I hope the new body can take up the mantle quickly. There is no time to lose!

  4. Comment by Juliet posted on

    Does any regulatory body do its job properly? Do they make sound, ethical decisions as well as keeping within the law and not trying to convict Registrants of things that they have not done? I doubt it.
    Unless regulatory panels are honest and competent, read the evidence and regulations bodies hold dishonest and abusive managers to account there really is no hope for the NHS or social services. It is the regulation bodies' employees and lawyers who benefit from regulation. The rest are not included in the business plan as stakeholders. We are just subjects and treated with contempt.
    What percentage of Registrants who raise concerns or whistle-blow are put before regulatory bodies and blamed for, indeed convicted of, things that are not their fault or responsibility?
    Does anyone genuinely care about the NHS and Social services unless they blow the whistle? If so, make your views known to CQC, NAO and challenge oppression; and write to your MP if you genuinely believe that the NHS and social care systems and regulatory bodies are suffering from ethical- and legal- non-compliance.


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