GSCC to publish inspections of social work course providers

The General Social Care Council will this spring start publishing inspection reports of the 83 universities and colleges that provide the social work degree in England.

GSCC chair Rosie Varley said the regulator wanted to take a more transparent approach to social work education, in line with recommendations from the Social Work Task Force. The results will be published on the GSCC’s website.

A GSCC spokesperson said the results of annual monitoring would include the outcome of the five-yearly re-approval process, in which all degree programmes must satisfy the GSCC’s quality standards.

The GSCC’s annual report of social work education for 2008-9, published last week, found an overall improvement by higher education institutions in England in meeting the requirements and standards.

However, the foreword from Rosie Varley said: “During the past year employers and students have told us that some social work programmes are not delivering to the quality expected, especially in practice placements.”

The annual monitoring of course providers found:

● 50% of courses were judged to be high-performing.

● 47% of courses were judged satisfactory but with areas that needed improving, requiring close monitoring.

● 3% of courses – two altogether – were judged not satisfactory, leading to a full or preliminary inspection.

The most common problems identified were a lack of qualified and experienced academic staff or practice assessors, poor teaching and assessment resources, and a lack of proper audit of the quality and relevance of practice placements.

Varley said at the launch of the report: “Over the past year we have strengthened our approach to the regulation of social work education. There is now greater scrutiny of underperforming institutions, with a lighter touch for those performing well.

“Later this year we will start to publish HEI inspection reports on the website, in line with the Social Work Task Force’s call for more transparency and greater consistency among inspections and assessments.”

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