In one of the most significant developments for social work in
the past 30 years, in 2005 social work will finally become a
profession. A new law to protect the title of social worker comes
into force in just a few weeks.
By the end of 2004, the General Social Care Council had received
65,000 applications to register. Although it will take some time
for every applicant to become a registered social worker, each
application restates the dedication to excellence by each
individual social worker.
With registration, service users can be sure that their social
worker is properly qualified, committed to high standards and
accountable for the care they deliver. Social workers will be
recognised for the professional skills and values they already
have. They will join their peers from other professions in having
their title enshrined in law and their reputation will be
Much is also happening in education and training, which is key
to career development. Details of the new framework for
post-qualifying awards will be published in the spring. Over the
year, the first registered social workers who applied when the
register opened in April 2003 will be looking to complete their 90
hours of ongoing professional learning and training before they
need to re-register next year.
As the new structures in children’s services bed down, some will
fear that new roles may erode the traditional position of social
workers. But it will also offer new opportunities, as the training
and values of social work put social work professionals in an ideal
position to lead and work with colleagues from other sectors in
multi-disciplinary teams. Who better to straddle the sector
boundaries and navigate the complex needs of people and their
families than the social worker?
Protecting the professionalism of social work will be key to the
future careers of all social workers. Let’s make 2005 a year of
which we can be proud.
Rodney Brooke, chair of the General Social Care