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Government states social work regulation to be independent

Ministers have responded to the call to keep social work regulation independent from government control.

New plans were revealed at a recent Westminster Hall debate, when Edward Timpson, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families stated: “… Our plan to drive up the skills and status of the children’s social work profession is central to that endeavour. To that end, I am working in partnership with my colleagues in the Department of Health to establish a new, bespoke independent regulator for social work that will set higher standards for social work both in what is expected of professionals in order to practice and in what is expected from universities and others providing initial social work education.”

Acknowledging this major concession on proposals for social work regulation from the Children and Social Work Bill, BASW Chair Guy Shennan stated: "Although we need to continue to be vigilant in calling for the regulation of social workers to be properly independent, this is an important step in the right direction. What has been shown here is what social workers can achieve by coming together and campaigning – and a good reason for more social workers to join BASW, to continue to strengthen our voice. It was also important that we acted together with our partner organisations, in particular SWU, UNISON, JUCSWEC, the Association of Professors of Social Work and the Social Work Action Network, and I look forward to our relationships continuing to deepen as we face future challenges together."

BASW CEO Ruth Allen added: “This is a great success for BASW and our partners across the social work sector. We raised profound and well-evidenced concerns about the importance of regulatory independence and I am pleased government appears to have listened. BASW is committed to effective regulation to uphold standards of practice and to promote public trust. This includes getting an effective and strong post qualifying framework and I intend for BASW to take a central role in this for the long term.

“The devil will be in the detail as the new regulatory proposals unfold. We will represent social workers' views and professional best practice evidence every step of the way.”

BASW England Manager Maris Stratulis has also thanked members for their hard work and contribution in campaigning for independent regulation saying: “BASW England welcomes the government U-turn on an independent regulator for the profession. The voice of social workers across the sector has been loud and has been heard; we now await the detail but clearly expect any new body will be independent from government involvement including financial, operational and governance functions.”

CLICK HERE to find out more about BASW’s Children and Social Work Bill campaign.