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Members Statement – Children and Families Practice, Policy and Education Group on the tender and roll out of the National Assessment and Accreditation Scheme (NAAS)

Members Statement – Children and Families Practice, Policy and Education Group on the tender and roll out of the National Assessment and Accreditation Scheme (NAAS)

Please read this statement in conjunction with supporting documents.

Members of the BASW England, Children and Families Practice, Policy and Education Group (C& F PPEG) are extremely concerned that the Department for Education (DfE) is proceeding with the roll out of NAAS before it has responded to the responses to its own consultation, which closed on 14th March 2017. Following a membership survey conducted by BASW, only 10% of BASW respondents supported the NAAS. We note that the 'Proof of Concept' research highlighted significant issues for some staff participating in the pilot, particularly experienced social workers and social workers from minority ethnic groups. Directors of children’s services have also expressed concern that the accreditation scheme is not the best use of money at a time when many frontline services are under “considerable strain”. We are of the view that only is the roll out of NAAS not a good use of scarce resources it is likely to be harmful in that experienced workers may leave rather than taking the assessment test and potential newly qualifying social workers may not want seek to work in statutory children's social work services. The NAAS scheme is not directly linked to central or local funding for continuous professional development (CPD) learning for social workers.   

This will be the third tender linked to the accreditation scheme, the first two tenders were won by non- social worker multi-national companies, firstly KPMG , then Deloitte, and we have major concerns that there appears to be an emerging trend for DfE to opt for high cost tenders attracting large financial management companies. We also note that the Innovation Fund is run by Deloitte and the adoption Support Fund and Adoption PCF by Mott MacDonald.

This emerging pattern by DfE to contract to big multi nationals seems to be exacerbated by an apparent tendency not to listen to constructive critical comments made through the Department's own consultation processes. We are concerned that this insensitivity towards the views and involvement of Social Workers is having an impact on the development of processes for the profession.

The tender notice mentions the figure of £3.5 million over two years. We would suggest that that investing in training, support and working conditions for social workers, and reinstating local authority services cut due to financial savings would provide better investment in Social Work quality and support for Children than currently seems likely from NAAS.

The NAAS scheme has not been developed closely with the profession, which is necessary to ensure the success and sustainability of a CPD framework. Other formal and assessed frameworks in social work in mental health and adults social work have been successful and delivered improvement and professional ambition because they have been shaped by those that know the work and know what success looks like from practice. 

Supporting documents

(1) http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/08/17/first-stages-accreditation-cost-3-5-million-tender-reveals/

(2) https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/636564e7-152a-4d04-bf64-cdc2fd82b628?p=@RRPT0=NjJNT08=UFQxUl

(3) https://consult.education.gov.uk/social-work-reform-unit/naas-consultation/

(4) https://www.basw.co.uk/news/article/?id=1390

(5) https://consult.education.gov.uk/social-work-reform-unit/naas-consultation/supporting_documents/PoC_report_WEB.pdf

(6) http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2017/03/14/social-worker-accreditation-scheme-poor-value-directors-warn/