DH to seek views on accreditation status for adult social workers

Consultation on skills statement for supervisors will consider if children's social work accreditation system could be applied to adults' staff

Photo: Image Source/Rex (posed by models)

The Department of Health will seek views on whether a version of the accreditation system planned for children’s social workers could be applied in adult social work.

In her annual report, Lyn Romeo, the chief social worker for adults, said she would be consulting on a knowledge and skills statement for a new ‘practice supervisor’ status in adults’ services within months.

The consultation will seek views on how the status should be assessed, and “will take into account” whether the Department for Education’s accreditation system “could be applied to social work with adults”, Romeo’s report said.

Romeo told Community Care the consultation was an opportunity to see whether the sector felt an external system of assessment was needed to underpin the new status, or whether existing approaches, such as the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment, could be built on instead.

“We need to look, learn, listen and hear what might be the right approach before we do anything on that just yet. The first step is getting recognition for the role, and the knowledge and skills needed,” she said.

Good supervision essential

Romeo said the importance of good supervision and practice leadership in social work was “more compelling than ever”. She said it was “essential” for social workers to have access to strong social work supervision, particularly if they were working in integrated teams where they may be line managed by non-social workers.

“You need that chance for reflective practice whether it’s through good challenging discussions with a one-to-one supervisor, peer supervision sessions, or learning from observation and reflection. Where people have put that in place I think it’s making a significant difference to how valued their social workers feel.

“So we need a way in time of recognising the importance of the supervisory role. I don’t want to pre-empt anything. I really want the sector to think about and reflect on what the best way forward might be.”

In her report, Romeo pledged to take action to address a shortage of social workers trained as Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHP). She said the reduction in AMHP numbers “necessitates further action” by the Department of Health and it would be working with the sector to develop an AMHP workforce recruitment and retention strategy.

Romeo told Community Care she felt the past year had seen a significant “strengthening” of the role of social workers in adult services.

“I think there has been a strengthening and respositioning of social work within adult social care. The work that the Adult Principal Social Workers Network has done has been fantastic. They really have been practice leaders in demonstrating the rights, social justice and co-production approach to social work. I think that’s the area where we’ve made a lot of progress.”

10 Responses to DH to seek views on accreditation status for adult social workers

  1. Sarah March 22, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

    I guess fabricating more hoops for social workers to jump through is easier than addressing the chronic under staffed and over stressed systems. Providing 50% of necessary resources then blaming social workers when things go wrong – brilliant! Don’t forget to set fire to those hoops before pushing us through them will you, Lyn?

    • Marg March 23, 2017 at 9:33 am #

      Very well said and as for the role of ‘principal social worker’ does anybody actually know one or what they do? Or is it just another ‘toy’ job given to a senior manager

    • Ciaran March 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

      I couldn’t agree more Sarah – easy to demonise individuals, rather than looking at the big picture…. guess another well paid bureaucrat looking down her nose from her Ivory tower at us mere mortals!?!

    • Graham March 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

      Hoops are a very cost effective way of addressing resource problems Sarah. As are thick documents, aspirational but unfunded changes in legislation and exciting new ways of repeating past mistakes. Their usefulness to policy makers should not be underestimated.

  2. Hels March 22, 2017 at 9:48 pm #

    HCPC registration should equal social work accreditation! If you hold the qualification you hold the qualification !

  3. Miss Taylor March 23, 2017 at 9:59 am #

    Well said all of you.
    Another way of keeping the know all ‘non-doer’s’ in employment.

    When we qualify, we are fully trained social workers, as above qualified means qualified and the current ASYE programme adds to that. Those that can’t actually do the job usually fall by the way side pretty quickly or become managers.

    Then, we have the mighty powerful HCPC who determine if we are fit for practice after having been hauled over the coals for something or nothing usually fabricated by a manager. (criminality aside).

    In the meantime we are sent on boring repetitive cheap training (unless your face fits then you may get something career enhancing).

    Poorly supervised (our own fault) often bullied (again our own fault) and given unmanageable case loads at the risk of being classed as having no resilience.

    The best learning comes from experience on the job but with this lot above and more training accreditation ahead when will we actually get the time to do it?

    Will there ever be any room for the return of plain old common sense Ms Romeo?

  4. Mick March 23, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    I feel a little sad when reading these responses, as several have pointed out some managers do not fully understand what good reflective supervision is.

    Nor do they understand there responsibility to provide a safe working environment under duty of care specifically for stress management and safe working environments.

    But to dismiss this instantly would appear to me to be a little short sighted. The fact that Lynn Romeo is identifying the need for a set of standards to measure supervisors against can only be a positive.

    Hopefully with the implementation of these standards the professionalism and ability of managers to provide effective, qualitative, reflective developmental supervision might improve and be a benefit to all.

    For ever the optimist

  5. Tom J March 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

    So long as KPMG get another £2 million* as with children’s accreditation plans; I think its a great idea. The Financial times reported that their profits have dipped- and I for one feel sorry for them.

    * http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2015/08/21/trowler-defends-2m-kpmg-contract-social-worker-accreditation/

    * https://www.ft.com/content/ac1c6246-a4da-11e5-97e1-a754d5d9538c

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2314896/Big-accounting-firms-accused-MPs-using-cosy-links-Treasury-help-rich-clients-paying-tax.html

  6. A Man called Horse March 23, 2017 at 11:04 pm #

    Another sick proposal from Lyn Romeo. Pay is rubbish, work load just about unmanageable what do we get accreditisation, you couldn’t make it up. Lyn you really need to get a proper job we are totally sick of you and your stupid ideas.

  7. Miss Taylor March 27, 2017 at 8:54 am #

    Well said Horse many others will agree but won’t dare to speak out.