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HPC launches new proficiency standards for social workers in England

The Health Professions Council (HPC) has published new proficiency standards for social workers in England ahead of assuming regulatory responsibility for the profession from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) on 1 August.

Launched as part of the ongoing build up to the handover, the HPC described the Standards of Proficiency as an outline of “what a social worker in England should know, understand and be able to do when they complete their social work training … They set out clear expectations of a social worker’s knowledge and abilities when they start practising.”

The Standards of Proficiency include a raft of statements setting out the requirements of a registered social worker under 15 headings [see list below].

The standards have been developed in tandem with the new Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF), which describes the capabilities required of social workers at all stages of their career – in effect following on from the Standards of Proficiency.

BASW was represented on the Professional Liaison Group (PLG) that developed the new standards. Commenting on the launch BASW’s Bridget Robb said: “BASW’s Fran McDonnell was a member of the PLG and we do believe that the standards represent the minimum for public safety. That said, we do look forward to the day when these standards will be enhanced through further standards identifying really good social work practice, to be developed by a future UK College of Social Work.”

The 15 overarching standards:
Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice
Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession
Be able to maintain fitness to practise
Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement
Be aware of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice
Be able to practise in a non-discriminatory manner
Be able to maintain confidentiality
Be able to communicate effectively
Be able to work appropriately with others
Be able to maintain records appropriately
Be able to reflect on and review practice
Be able to assure the quality of their practice
Understand the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to their profession
Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice
Be able to establish and maintain a safe practice environment

Download a PDF versions of the Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England