End of last placement/completion

5. KNOWLEDGE – Develop and apply relevant knowledge from social work practice and research, social sciences, law, other professional and relevant fields, and from the experience of people who use services

We develop our professional knowledge throughout our careers and sustain our curiosity. As a unified profession, we develop core knowledge that relates to our purpose, values and ethics. We also develop specific knowledge needed for fields of practice and roles. Our knowledge comes from social work practice, theory, law, research, expertise by experience, and from other relevant fields and disciplines. All social workers contribute to creating as well as using professional knowledge. We understand our distinctive knowledge complements that of other disciplines to provide effective services.  


  • develop knowledge in one or more specialist areas of my practice. I continue to expand and consolidate my knowledge to inform connections between my specialisms and other settings or fields of practice
  • demonstrate knowledge and application of appropriate legal and policy frameworks and guidance that inform and mandate social work practice. Apply legal reasoning, using professional legal expertise and advice appropriately, recognising where scope for professional judgement exists
  • demonstrate, apply to practice and advise colleagues on a working knowledge of human growth and development throughout the life course
  • recognise the short and long-term impact of psychological, socio-economic, environmental and physiological factors on people’s lives, taking into account age and development, and how this informs practice
  • understand the value of systemic approaches and how they can be used to work with a person or family in their environment, social context and relationships, and inform my practice and that of others
  • have an advanced understanding of the centrality of relationships for people’s wellbeing and how to apply key concepts of attachment, separation, loss, change and resilience
  • apply my understanding of forms of harm and their impact on people and the implications for practice, drawing on concepts of strength, resilience, vulnerability, risk and resistance
  • demonstrate a critical knowledge of the range of theories and models for social work intervention with individuals, families, groups and communities, and the methods derived from them, and have a more specialised understanding of models and approaches most critical to work setting or role
  • demonstrate and apply a critical understanding of social welfare policy, its evolution, implementation and impact on people, social work, other professions and inter-agency working
  • recognise the contribution and develop application of research and other evidence (eg practice evidence and evidence from experts by experience) to inform and improve my practice
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of research and evaluation methods
  • value and take account of the expertise of service users, carers and professionals and seek their feedback on my practice/role
  • confidently apply knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and risks of new technologies, digital resources, online communications, virtual environments and social media in social work.

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