Just nine per cent of social workers think the government’s proposals for a National Assessment and Accreditation System for children and family social workers will build a more stable workforce.
BASW carried out a survey with 538 social workers and 59% said it would act as a disincentive to recruitment and retention. Many members, both experienced social workers and newly qualified social workers, said they would leave the profession if they were obliged to undertake the proposed assessment.
Respondents also raised concerns about a lack of consultation with the sector about the concept.
One social worker told BASW: “I feel that instead of wasting time and money on this, they should look at the working conditions of social workers. The caseloads are so high and then we are told that on top of that, you will have yet another tranche of examination of your role. Why would anyone want to take on a career like that?”
Of the respondents to the survey, 61% of all respondents were employed by a local authority. The majority 33% specialised in child protection and the next largest group of respondents was those working in fostering and adoption 16%.
It was clear from the responses BASW England members feel very strongly that there has been a lack of consultation with the profession regarding the development of NAAS.
- Just 10% of social workers surveyed support the introduction of NAAS;
- 51% do not support it at all;
- Only 3% of social workers surveyed consider it to be value for money.
A recurrent theme from survey respondents is that NAAS is unnecessary, given the existence of the Assisted and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE), regulation and internal checks and balances required by employers. BASW members are very clear that the NAAS is not equivalent to a holistic post-qualifying framework or even a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme.
Many felt NAAS is not inclusive of all children’s social workers and is likely to destabilise the workforce rather than strengthen it.
Almost 60 per cent felt that if NAAS is made compulsory, social workers who already hold a Post Qualifying Award (PQSW) or Advanced Award (AASW) from an approved course should be exempted from the requirement to take NAAS.
BASW England Manager Maris Stratulis said: “BASW England agrees with the Government’s aim of providing assurance that social workers at all levels have the skills required for effective practice. However, we view the lack of engagement with the profession to be a significant stumbling block and believe the basic principles of NAAS should be subject to wider consultation."
To read BASW England's response to the NAAS consultation in full, click HERE
The ADCS warned last month that the government’s proposed National Assessment and Accreditation System risks creating a two-tiered social work workforce.