The government’s proposed assessment and accreditation scheme will not be made mandatory until 2020, the Department for Education has said.
In a policy paper outlining the government’s commitments to delivering children’s social care reforms, the government says it plans to consult on whether the scheme should be mandatory later this year.
However, if the consultation concludes that accreditation should be made compulsory, this would not be until after 2020, when the government expects that all child and family social workers to have had the opportunity to be accredited, it confirms.
The assessment and accreditation system will provide that mechanism to ensure that social workers can meet standards set out in the Knowledge and Skills statements. “It will offer an opportunity for social workers to demonstrate the quality of their practice through a test of their knowledge and through observations of simulated practice in a number of role play scenarios with actors,” said the paper.
The news on the assessment and accreditation scheme comes despite warnings from social workers that it should not be a priority for government. A survey of 100 social workers carried out by public sector union UNISON found that social workers would rather the government focused on funding, training and reducing caseloads.
‘Putting Children First’ involves reform of each of the three pillars of children’s social care: People and leadership, Practice and systems and Governance and accountability.
“We do not underestimate the challenges that social care faces: increased pressures on budgets; higher demand for services; and new threats to our children and young people as they become targets for radicalisation, child sexual exploitation or gang culture. But we know that these challenges are far from insurmountable,” said Nicky Morgan, education secretary.
The paper confirms that a new regulator will be established for the social work profession, as previously reported in Children First. It will focus on raising the quality of social work education, training and practice with children young people, families and adults which “will help improve public safety and promote the status of social work”.
The government is also introducing a new training course for social workers making the transition from frontline practice into practice supervision, akin to the ASYE for frontline practitioners. The programme will launch its first cohort in 2017.
The paper also confirms that as the vast majority of children’s social care services are delivered by in-house local authority teams, but are not delivering consistently excellent practice, the government anticipates that by the end of this Parliament, most local authorities will be in a devolution deal and there will be “a significant shift in the national picture of children’s social care delivery”.
“Our ambition is that, by 2020, over a third of all current local authorities will either be delivering their children’s services through a new model or be actively working towards a different model,” it concludes.