Social work reforms have ‘raised the confidence' of profession

By Janaki Mahadevan

| 15 June 2012

The development of a College of Social Work, more robust standards for employers and better supervision of newly qualified social workers is raising the confidence of the profession, according to the final report of the Social Work Reform Board.

The reform board said "considerable progress" had been made. Image: Tom Campbell

The report said that despite a “difficult start”, the College of Social Work is beginning to make progress, with 1,000 paying members and 10,000 prospective members.

It also said there had been “considerable progress” in delivering an Assessed and Supported Year in Employment for newly qualified social workers, which where adopted, had received positive feedback.

“Early reports from the programme suggest that those participating felt more confident and proactive in their approach to supervision,” the report said.

Members of the reform board also praised the impact of new standards for employers, which they said had “contributed to the drive towards sector-led improvement”.

However, the board acknowledged that implementing many of the reforms will be challenging in “very difficult times”.

Dame Moira Gibb, chair of the reform board, said: “We have set out a vision for the future in which the social work profession has the support and confidence it needs to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable in our society.”

As the reform board hands over its work to the government and other agencies, it said that “sector-led improvement” will be crucial with the support of the College of Social Work and the chief social worker, which the government is aiming to appoint by the end of the year.

The introduction of revisions to the social work degree in 2013 and a framework for continuing professional development, expected by the end of the year, will also accelerate progress according to the report.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “The social work reforms are helping to keep social work focused on the most important thing - helping those most vulnerable in our society.”  

“We hope to have a chief social worker in place within the next few months who will reinforce the continuing imperative to drive up standards of care in the field of social work.”

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