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Social workers who fail accreditation will keep registration

Chief social worker confirms that children’s social workers who fail accreditation will not lose their registration with the Health and Care Professions Council

Social workers who fail the accreditation process will be forced to re-take the test, although they will remain registered with the Health and Care Professions Council it has emerged.

Giving evidence to the Education select Committee’s inquiry into social work reform, the chief social worker for children said that social workers who fail accreditation will need to retake the test.

Isabelle Trowler said: “If there are social workers—who will absolutely be in the minority—who are not able to meet that standard, then it would be a matter for the employer and the individual to develop their knowledge and skill so that they are able to be accredited.”

However, Ms Trowler confirmed that social workers who fail accreditation will still be able to practise: “They will still be a registered social worker. It will not remove registration from them.”

The assessment and accreditation system was due to be rolled out earlier this year but Ms Trowler told the committee that the consultation on the rollout of assessment and accreditation is pending the results of a year-long pilot, which ended at the end of March. Analysis of learning from the pilot is currently underway and “the plan is to go to consultation as soon as possible.

“One of the things we are debating most about is what social workers need to know. This is fascinating, because of course some social workers are saying, “We do not need to know about child development because the health visitor knows about child development” or, “We do not need to know about non-accidental injury because doctors know about non-accidental injury” or, “We do not need to know about welfare benefits because welfare benefit advisers know about benefits”. Then, of course, that gets you into a situation where you say, “Okay, what do you need to know?” I have my own position about that, and I think you need to know a little about most things to be a good social worker so that you can challenge other professionals in your day-to-day work. It is triggering that kind of debate, which I think is very, very helpful,” she added.

The chief social worker said the amount of times someone could take accreditation of they failed the test would be discussed within consultation. She added that the system is not just for social workers in a statutory setting: “It is for social workers and employers who want to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills set out in the relevant practice statement. Certain individuals might want to be accredited because they have something that says, “I have the knowledge and skills”.

The four steps to the accreditation process includes employer endorsement, an online test, practice observation and scenario-based assessment. Frontline social workers who pass accreditation will become Approved Child and Family Practitioners.

Ms Trowler told the committee that: “There is no way that the practice leader role is going to disappear because you need somebody to run these systems.”

There would not be a ‘fixed relationship’ with the principal social workers because “the principal social worker is a very new role and what we need to do is to watch and see how that develops and whether it is a good use of resource”.

Ms Trowler also told the committee that she worked “incredibly closely” with the chief social worker for adults Lyn Romeo and said both were “really clear that this is one profession”.

She said that the closure of the College of Social Work was “very sad” but “the Government had spent in the region of £8 million in supporting the college but it was not a sustainable institution”. All eyes are now on BASW, she added, and “it would be very helpful for BASW to now be proactive in describing what that CPD framework could be like and think about what that looks like”.

Inquiry into Social Work Reform

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