A major consultation on shaping the country’s first college of social work was launched at Community Care Live this evening, ahead of the first interim chair being appointed in June.
Social workers are being urged to strengthen the “enormous” potential of the national college to have influence by having their say on its immediate priorities.
Social workers, students, academics and service users are being invited to take part in an online questionnaire, with more than 20 regional events planned over the next five months.
The consultation asks for views on what the college should do on behalf of practitioners, the structure of the organisation, and whether it should encompass the whole of the UK or England only. It also covers how membership works, including a proposed joint membership scheme with trade unions.
“It’s really important that people take the opportunity to shape something that will have an enormous influence on the future of the profession,” said Hilary Tompsett, chair of the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee and member of the college development group.
“This is not something that will be imposed on the profession. Taking part in the consultation is the first step towards social workers taking ownership of the college.”
Allan Bowman, chair of the national college development group which reports to the Social Work Reform Board for England, said: “The 100,000 social workers in this country deserve to have a body that reflects just how good their profession is.
“It’s a body that will provide leadership to the profession, that will defend the profession when it comes under attack, but more importantly promote all of the very, very good things that social work does.”
A consultation paper published by the college development group in March set out five key functions of the college: providing a strong voice for, and leadership to, the profession; defining the values and purpose of social work; developing, upholding and supporting standards; providing guidance and support to the profession; and shaping training and development.
The college is due to be officially launched in March 2011.
Have your say on the priorities for the national college on CareSpace. Comments will be forwarded to the National College Development Group.
Questions from the consultation include:
What should be the priorities of the national college?
• Raising the profession’s status
• Defining the reserved functions of social workers
• Improve public understanding
• Facilitating peer support groups
• Partnerships with trade unions
• Becoming the source and guardian of standards
How much would you pay for annual college membership?