The Department for Education has published a response to the consultation on a knowledge and skills statement of what a child and family social worker needs to be able to do at the end of a first year of practice.
Chief Social Worker for children Isabelle Trowler has now drafted a final version. Ms Trowler said: “Child and family social work is complex. We need it to be undertaken by talented people, proven to be so, whose expertise supports families, helps keep children safe and enables them both to thrive”.
BASW raised a number of concerns in its response to the consultation, including the need to capture the different contexts in which Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs) may be working in the children’s sector and a potential increase in pressure on NQSWs.
Commenting on today’s response, BASW England Manager Maris Stratulis said: “Social work is a rewarding but incredibly demanding career and new entrants to the profession need to be given every assistance. The expectations placed on NQSWs need to be fair and proportionate and not set people up to fail.
“We trust that the new proposals will not deter newly qualified social workers from working in the non-statutory sector, or create a perception that doing so is a “second-class” option. There is much excellent social work being delivered in voluntary and community sectors in fields such as domestic violence and substance misuse.
“The recruitment challenges affecting the profession are well documented. We need to take the long view when it comes to the development and retention of new social workers throughout their career.
“A year is not a long time to develop all of the skills needed for social work; nothing can beat experience of doing the job over a long period.
“We wait to hear more about the assessment and approval process for the three proposed accredited levels; Approved Child and Family Practitioner for those who are lead professionals for named children and working with them under the local authority’s statutory framework, practice supervision for those with responsibility for educating, developing and supervising social workers and practice leadership for those with responsibility for social work services for children referred.
“Those expected to support NQSWs in the workplace will themselves require support. Caseloads need to be protected and there needs to be sufficient workforce development to free up more experienced social workers so that bringing on NQSWs is not seen within teams as just another burden to carry.”
Read the government's response to the consultation here
Read BASW's response to the consultation here