Social Work England – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is Social Work England?

Social Work England will be the new, specialist regulator for social workers in England. They are an independent public protection body, setting professional, education and training standards for social workers.  Social Work England will also investigate and manage ‘fitness to practice’ cases brought against social workers.

Social Work England are working closely with the current social work regulator (the Health & Care Professions Council) to ensure a smooth transition - which is due to take place on 2 December 2019.

All qualified social workers must register with the relevant regulator before they can practice social work.

View Social Work England's video on Twitter for a brief description on what they hope to achieve.

Who is on the board at Social Work England?

The Chair is Lord Patel of Bradford.

A qualified social worker, he worked in inner city Bradford and then established a number of Third Sector agencies working with those misusing drugs and those with mental health problems; later moving to academia working with a number of universities.

The Chief Executive is Colum Conway.

Colum became Chief Executive of Social Work England in September 2018. He is a registered social worker and previously led the professional regulator for social work and social care in Northern Ireland from 2013 to 2018. Prior to this, Colum spent six years as Chief Executive of a large not-for-profit organisation providing care services in all programmes of care across both jurisdictions in Ireland. Colum has worked in statutory family and child care services, early years policy, funding and service provision, and family systems support services in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

View the other board members at Social Work England.

Has there been any recent developments?

Social Work England have completed 2 consultations, see below for more information.

Appointment rules

The first consultation focused on how Social Work England’s appointment rules will operate within the framework set by the primary and secondary legislative framework and outlined some of the processes and procedures they will use operationally. The scope of the consultation covered:

  • the appointment of advisers by Social Work England;
  • the establishment of panels of advisers;
  • the role of inspectors appointed to inspect courses of education and training; and
  • requirements and restrictions in relation to those appointed as case examiners, investigators and adjudicators for fitness to practise proceedings.

The consultation referenced the following documents:

The consultation on appointment rules closed in December 2018. 

Read the BASW response to the Social Work England consultation on appointment rules.

Rules and standards

The second consultation focussed on the rules and standards, in relation to: Professional standards; Qualifying & education standards; Education & training rules; Registration rules and Fitness to practice rules.

View the documents on the Social Work England website that refer to the rules and standards consultation.

The consultation on rules and standards closed on 1 May 2019.

Read BASW's response to the Social Work England consultation on rules and standards.

What involvement have BASW had with Social Work England so far?

BASW is represented on the Social Work England Professional Expert Group and staff meet with representatives from Social Work England on a regular basis.

Find out what social workers need to know about the change of regulator by visiting this Community Care article.