Faculty leads set out plan to protect College of Social Work resources

TCSW board will meet later today to determine the future of key resources, including the Professional Capabilities Framework

The PCF which sets out what is expected of social workers at all levels has been transferred to BASW but is not mentioned in discussions around accreditation

The College of Social Work’s faculty leads want TCSW’s resources and functions transferred to a temporary ‘holding organisation’, ideally hosted by an existing social care body.

The College will close by the end of September due to a lack of funds. Its board will meet today to decide on arrangements for transition of the College’s functions and resources.

Community Care understands the College will have complete control over the future of resources it fully owns, including the Professional Capabilities Framework. However, the government will have the final say on functions it commissioned the College to carry out, including an endorsement scheme for Best Interests Assessor (BIA) courses. A list of TCSW functions can be found here.

‘This should be social work-led’

In a message sent to College members yesterday, the chairs of TCSW’s children’s, adult and mental health faculties said they were seeking to set up a holding organisation to host “as many of the functions and assets of the College as possible”.

Given the short timescale for closure of the College, and the complications of establishing a new company, any holding organisation is most likely be hosted as a subsidiary of an existing body.

Brid Featherstone, chair of The College’s children’s faculty, told Community Care that the TCSW chairs and the College’s Professional Assembly want to ensure that some “tremendous assets” produced by the organisation were not squandered.

“It may be that this work can be continued in some way within another body or a successor but in the meantime we want to create a holding organisation just to keep them together,” she said.

“We’ve been met with tremendous goodwill from other social work bodies and a real appetite of support and unity for these aims which is great for social work. There is a feeling that this should be social work-led and that’s what we’re trying to ensure.”

A base to build for the long-term

Ruth Allen, chair of the College’s mental health faculty, said setting up a temporary holding organisation would help create the space and time needed to properly consult on any long-term alternative to TCSW.

“We feel that would have to be done in collaboration across the sector and may be done within a subsidiary form that sits in an existing organisation,” she said.

“It’s too early to say which organisation [would host] and how. We feel very strongly that this needs to be social work-led as well as promoting excellent practice standards.”

While the College chairs did not specify which organisations they felt could host any ‘holding body’ the most likely contenders, based on sector expertise, are the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), the Social Care Institute for Excellence (Scie) or Skills for Care.

The idea of a holding organisation for TCSW resources was also proposed last week by The Social Workers Assembly – a grassroots body of social workers that came together online following news of the College’s closure.

Yesterday there was speculation on social media that Skills for Care was bidding to take on some of the College’s work:


Sharon Allen, chief executive of Skills for Care, said her organisation had enjoyed a “productive working relationship” with the College but decisions about TCSW’s future would lie with its board and “sponsoring organisations”.

“Given Skills for Care’s record in supporting employers across the social work profession to meet the requirements of the ASYE [Assessed and supported year in employment], and with other workforce resources, speculation about whether we would be able to represent the profession is not helpful,” she added.

Bridget Robb, chief executive of BASW, said: “The TCSW Board meets today to make the next important decisions about the future of its functions. This will be in conjunction with advice from government and other advisors. We wish them well in this difficult process and look forward to hearing the outcome.”

A spokeswoman for The College of Social Work said it had not received any bids and the transition process for resources was still being worked on. Further information is likely to be released following today’s board meeting.

Keep up-to-date with the latest developments on The College’s closure on our dedicated page.

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