Fourth edition (2022)

BASW England has refreshed the framework for Quality Assurance in Practice Learning (QAPL) within the social work profession and with people with lived experience of social work.

It is hoped the framework will be used to promote the QAPL and lead to a wider understanding of it by students, employers and anyone involved in practice learning.


This document provides a Quality Assurance framework for those involved in planning, implementing, monitoring and reviewing social work placements and practice learning. The Standards and Guidance relating to Practice Learning developed by the Social Work Regulatory Body Social Work England (2021), and the principles embedded in the Social Work Task Force’s (2010) recommendations for reform across the whole social work profession provide the core foundations for the tools and frameworks identified in this document.

Whilst the QAPL framework is semi-permanent, the resources within the model have the potential to be periodically reviewed and updated. This will enable the model to be responsive to developments and external circumstances which may affect practice placements, and innovation and best practice can be systematically integrated into the resources and made accessible to those involved in social work practice placements.
We hope you find this document and accompanying resources helpful.

The Quality Assurance in Practice Learning framework (QAPL) was initially developed and introduced in 2009 by Skills for Care and the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) in conjunction with the social work regulator, GSCC, following a comprehensive pilot in the North West of England in 2007/8. It was reviewed and accepted by the Social Work Reform Board in 2010 who had been tasked with the implementation of the Social Work Task Force’s recommendations for reform across the whole social work profession to improve the quality and consistency of the social work degree.

Download the latest version of QAPL (2022)

** Download the QAPL document as a PDF **

Please note that the appendices are also available to download; weblinks can be found within the QAPL .document

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'You said... we did'

During the PEPS review, BASW members and other stakeholders asked for the QAPL to be updated. This refresh has now been completed and checks will continue to keep this up to date.

During both the PEPS refresh and the QAPL review, members and other stakeholders asked for guidance about the support needs of Practice Educators. BASW and NOPT (National Organisation for Practice Teaching) have a joint project underway regarding this. The ‘Look after your Practice Educator’ group will report shortly and this guidance will be published via the BASW and NOPT websites.


These have stemmed from initial feedback and will be updated as required.

You ask for DBS information from Practice Educators – how do Independent Practice Educators obtain up to date DBS’s

It is important that all Practice Educators have an up to date DBS due to the nature of the work and the requirement for Direct Observation of practice which may be in family homes. It is expected that one of the employing agencies should undertake the DBS where needed, with the final responsibility being the HEI placing the student. The Independent Practice Educator should then register this with the update service to keep this available for other placements. Alternatives to this can be found via the Independent members' section of the BASW website.

What support should be available for Practice Educators?

This is being worked on by the ‘Look after your Practice Educator group’ who are due to report in the near future. This will be published and circulated once finalised via both the NOPT and BASW websites.

What qualifying routes does the QAPL apply to?

QAPL applies to all routes to a Social Work qualification for the placement elements. This includes traditional undergraduate and postgraduate courses; fast track routes such as Frontline and Step Up as well as the Social Work degree apprenticeship.

We currently have some additional information we collect regarding placements, what happens with these?

It is clear that there are variations between regions and agency/HEI expectations. This refresh has been designed to acknowledge this with a suggested set of materials that can be adapted to specific needs and circumstances. HEI’s will need to make their own decisions about specific elements such as risk assessments.

What about feedback from Mentors of Social Workers undertaking PEPS training?

Where a mentor is supporting a worker undertaking PEPS training, their feedback could be obtained via one of the formats, or their commentary added to the PE feedback form. Alternatively, this material could be collated via the Practice Assessment Panel processes or the assessment processes for the PEPS course.