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BASW welcomes Social Work England chief

BASW England has welcomed the appointment of a new chief executive for Social Work England, the new regulator of the social work profession.

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi announced in a written parliament statement that Colum Conway, the current chief executive of the regulatory body for the social work profession and social care workforce in Northern Ireland, has been appointed as chief executive of Social Work England.

Welcoming the appointment, BASW urged SWE to work closely with the Association and wider sector to uphold social work values. “We called for SWE leadership to have social work background, so it is encouraging that he and the new chair, Lord Patel, are both former social workers and should bring a human-rights approach to the new regulator, as well as a keen understanding of the challenges social workers face,” says Maris Stratulis, BASW England manager.

“In addition, BASW England has consistently advocated for a strong social work presence on the SWE board based on skills, expertise and knowledge. We look forward to hearing the makeup of the board,” she added.

Children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi said that alongside Conway’s experience of running a regulator, he has a background in social work and has many years’ experience working in senior leadership roles.

“We are confident that he will bring a wealth of relevant experience to this role and we look forward to working with him, and Social Work England’s Chair Lord Patel of Bradford, to make Social Work England a success,” he added.

Social Work England will take over the regulation of social workers in England from the Health and  Care Professions Council in 2019.

Zahawi and Caroline Dinenage, Minister of State for Care at the Department of Health and Social Care this week published the government response to the public consultation on the policy to establish the regulatory framework for Social Work England.

While “overall, the majority of respondents supported many of the proposals,” Zahawi said that a number of respondents also requested further clarity on the role of government in relation to Social Work England; expressed strong support for collaboration between Social Work England and the sector; and, highlighted the importance of minimising disruption to the profession during the transfer of regulatory functions.

Respondents also provided wider comments on the way in which Social Work England will operate as the regulator on a day-to-day basis, and how it might consider effective and efficient ways to discharge its functions.

“While these responses fall outside of the scope of the consultation on the secondary legislative framework, we do expect Social Work England to work closely with the sector through its consultations on standards and regulatory rules, and as it establishes itself as the new regulator for social workers in England. We hope that respondents will welcome the opportunity to contribute further to such consultation,” added Zahawi.

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