A series of reforms to social work in England will become law after the Children and Social Work Bill received Royal Assent.
The legislation is now an act of parliament – the Children and Social Work Act 2017 – after the Queen gave it her formal approval.
The Act enshrines in law a series of changes to the social work profession, including:
- The creation of a new organisation, Social Work England, to takeover from the HCPC as the profession’s regulator.
- A requirement for the new regulator to obtain the education secretary’s approval for professional standards.
- New powers for the education secretary to set ‘improvement standards’ for social workers, and introduce assessments for practitioners.
The legislation will also require councils to provide personal advisers to care leavers up to the age of 25.
The bill faced a rocky passage through parliament. The government bowed to pressure and scrapped a set of controversial clauses that offered councils the opportunity to seek exemptions from social care law.
Ministers also performed a u-turn on their initial plans for the new regulator for social workers to be government-controlled.