The Digital Capabilities Statement can be used by  social workers and social work stakeholders to develop skills, knowledge and values for digital capability and support improved practice and effective leadership.

Social workers

Social workers can use the Digital Capabilities Statement for:

  • Everyday practice: as guidance on what to use digital tools for and how, for critical reflection on practice including ethics, or on new areas that require  social work attention because of the impact of digital technology (e.g. on-line gambling and the impact on vulnerable individuals)
  • (Self) assessment: to conduct a ‘skills audit’ about their levels of proficiency in using digital technologies
  • Professional development: to plan and log their CPD, identify their training needs and find learning resources online. This can include self-directed learning, trainer-supported learning and group supervision and reflection
  • New roles: to identify and propose new professional roles as social workers developing and working with technology
  • Supervision: the Digital Capabilities Statement can inform formal supervision and group-supervision and peer-to-peer learning in social work

People with lived experience, their friends and carers

People who use social work services and their carers, can use the Digital Capabilities Statement to:

  • understand the level of digital capability expected of social workers and ask for this from services and professionals
  • empower themselves to ask social workers to use digital platforms to communicate with them, deliver services, or help them learn or locate useful digital technology – e.g. assistive technology

Managers and supervisors

Managers and supervisors of social workers can use the Digital Capabilities Statement to:

  • inform supervision and evaluation of social workers’ digital capabilities
  • ensure digital systems within their organisations are fit for social work practice
  •  take responsibility for specifying requirements of technology including, assessing that they meet social work practice needs, implementing and testing, monitoring and commissioning of digital systems
  • support recruitment and retention of staff  by explaining the skills and knowledge required for good practice
  •  inspire and support effective practice and leadership
  • ensure timely data entry and data quality to underpin good decision making and safe practice

Practice educators, Higher Education Institutes and other training providers

Educators and trainers can use the Digital Capabilities Statement to:

  • embed digital capabilities within all areas of the curriculum and to provide specific means of assessing these capabilities alongside other curriculum development and forms of assessment
  •  meet the standards ‘Use of technology and numerical skills’ in The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education Subject Benchmark Statement (Social Work)
  • identify practice learning opportunities for students
  • to benchmark students’ readiness for practice before placement
  • support and assess students on placement
  • evaluate whether students have the digital capabilities for their Newly Qualified Social Worker roles

Employers and services providers

Employers and social work service providers in all settings – including adults, children’s and families’ services in local authorities, the NHS, the courts, voluntary or private sector settings – can use the Digital Capabilities Statement to:

  • support social workers in ensuring good information management practice and handling of person identifiable data
  • support social workers to fulfil the requirements of data protection law
  • identify the organisational structures and culture that will facilitate social workers’ digital literacy
  • support CPD planning, training and developmental opportunities on digital literacy
  • ensure the procurement, implementation, use and ongoing development of digital technology directly supports social work practice

Structure of the Capabilities Statement

The Capabilities Statement is structured around the PCF ‘super domains’

  • The Purpose section describes the values, ethics and approach to rights that social workers need to demonstrate
  • The Practice section describes the knowledge and skills and the areas of practice that they need to focus on when using digital technology
  • The Impact section describes digital capabilities related to professionalism, leadership and advocacy skills that social workers require to make positive impact on the social care system