A contract to support the Principal Social Worker networks will be included in a tendering process for The College of Social Work’s government-commissioned projects, Community Care has learned.
The College (TCSW) will close by the end of September due to a lack of funds. The government is preparing to launch a competitive tendering process to secure new homes for several pieces of work it commissioned from TCSW. Community Care understands the tender will include contracts to:
- Provide support to the adult and children’s Principal Social Worker networks. The College received government funding to host the networks and coordinate meetings.
- Run a service to verify social work qualifications that pre-date the social work degree, such as the diploma in social work.
- Take-on responsibility for issuing certificates to social workers who complete the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) at the request of their employer.
- Develop a national validation system for adult social workers undertaking the ASYE.
Officials will also seek an organisation to host documents produced by TCSW that were developed with government funding.
The College is running its own process to find homes for resources that it fully owns, including the Professional Capabilities Framework.
Functions not tendered
The government’s tender is unlikely to include TCSW’s accreditation scheme for best interests assessor (BIA) training courses. The power to accredit BIA courses was delegated to the College by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Emails released last week showed that the Department of Health plans to find a new home for the scheme without tender in order to ensure there is no gap in the health secretary’s statutory duties being met.
One TCSW function that looks to have no future is the College’s endorsement scheme for social work qualifying programmes. Community Care understands the government will take on records relating to the scheme. However, the programme will not be used going forward, partly to avoid duplication with the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) standards for social work education and training. The HCPC’s standards are currently under review.
Two government-commissioned reviews of social work education, published separately by the Department of Health and the Department for Education, argued that a single, compulsory endorsement scheme should be mandatory for all social work degree programmes, replacing the HCPC’s mandatory scheme and TCSW’s voluntary scheme.
The move to tender out the ASYE certification service will leave a gap in provision for a short period after TCSW announced it would stop accepting new applications for ASYE certificates on 24 July. TCSW said it had experienced “extremely high volumes of requests” for certificates since news of its closure broke and it was dealing with “a significant backlog”.
The College will stop processing existing requests by 31 July at which point the government will have to inform employers of any transitional arrangements until the tender is awarded.