Social workers will need to “always be willing to reassess their conclusions” under new minimum expectations for social workers proposed by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
The regulator plans to make several additions to the standards of proficiency for England’s social workers that would come into force by the end of the year. The proposals follow a review process involving a number of stakeholders.
In a consultation document published today, the HCPC set out plans for introducing five new standards, one of which will expect social workers to work “effectively whilst holding alternative, competing explanations in mind”.
The document says this standard aims to highlight the importance of social workers being “always willing to reassess their conclusions”, especially in safeguarding cases.
Social workers would also be expected to be capable of identifying “strategies for professional resilience”. The need for social workers to have professional resilience strategies, such as skills for coping with the demands, challenges and pressures of the job, was highlighted by those participating in the HCPC’s review of the standards.
THe HCPC is also proposing a standard that says social workers should be able to “present reports in formal settings” such as courts and tribunals. While the existing standards refer to present formal reports, the new standard aims to make the HCPC’s expectations on this clearer.
Another new standard would require social workers to understand “the concept of leadership and its application to practice”. This new standard, common to other HCPC-regulated professions, is in response to how leadership ability at all levels is increasingly seen as important.
Safe use of information
Finally, the HCPC intends to add a standard covering “safe use of health and social care information” to its list of social worker proficiencies.
“We committed to reviewing the standards of proficiency for social workers in England once we had concluded a three-year programme of visits to pre-registration education and training programmes,” said Michael Guthrie, director of policy and standards at the HCPC.
“It is important to ensure the standards continue to be set at an appropriate level for entry to the HCPC Register and that they reflect the current practice.”
The consultation on the proposed changes ends on 24 June.