New Sheffield based regulator for social work in England announced
Even before I became Chief Social Worker for Adults, I was committed to driving forward improvements in – and the expansion of – social work practice.
Then, as now, I’ve encouraged and latterly lead initiatives which focus on education, training and continuous professional development for social workers in England.
I have championed the growing contribution we make in the fields of mental health, learning disability and working with older people, and celebrated our empathy and community outreach in times of crisis and uncertainty.
We have made great progress and lasting impact in these and many other areas, but this week the Government has made an announcement which, I believe, will further embed, enhance and validate social work’s vital contribution to public services.
From 2019, our profession will be supported, accredited and evaluated by a new bespoke, specialist regulatory body: Social Work England.
It will be based in Sheffield (henceforth to be referred to as the northern social work powerhouse!) and is expected to provide a welcome boost to local employment, but the ripples of its arrival will radiate across England, raising social work’s profile as a rewarding career with the potential to transform thousands of lives.
Social Work England (SWE)’s ambition is twofold:
- To make sure social workers have been equipped with the knowledge, skills and practice tools to deliver person-centred care to increasingly diverse and populace communities
- To provide support to vulnerable individuals and families, helping them make positive choices as they strive to live the best lives possible.
SWE will do this by prioritising public protection and social work practice improvement. This is an exciting opportunity to set specific standards and further legitimise our profession. Most importantly, it will help us all deliver quality social work services to those who need and deserve our support to live well and in safety.
It is vital that we get the right people, experienced in establishing and running large national organisations, into these crucial roles – ideally with an understanding of social work – so that the transition to SWE is as smooth as possible and the new regulator gets the basics right from day one.
On this point, click this link to read details of exciting social worker secondment opportunities to a joint DH/DfE team supporting SWE's set up.
I’m looking forward to helping this new organisation begin its work, as is my opposite number at the Department for Education, the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, Isabelle Trowler:
“This is a really important step in ensuring that our profession has a regulator that focuses on practice excellence. I look forward to working with SWE’s leadership to make this a reality.”
Likewise, our colleague at the British Association of Social Work (BASW), CEO Ruth Allen, is keen to see successful applicants demonstrate extensive “social work and social care experience” to maintain “public confidence and high standards.”
We already have much to be proud of a profession which is underpinned by the principles of human rights and social justice - giving people renewed belief in themselves and their communities.
I believe Social Work England can help promote our strengths based approaches throughout society and demonstrate that social work is not an optional extra but a vital contributor to the health and wellbeing of our nation.