Social work entrants face new competence standards

Newly qualified social workers in England will have to meet national standards of competence before being allowed on to the register next year, under a new framework being developed.

The Health Professions Council, which takes over the regulation of social workers in 2012, has started drafting the “standards of proficiency”, which will also become the minimum standards social workers are expected to meet in their professional life.

Practitioners, employers and academics met last Friday to discuss the priorities for the standards, which will include the ability to exercise professional judgement, maintain proper records and communicate ­effectively.

Mark Seale, chief executive of the HPC, said the standards, which are due to be opened up to a three-month public consultation in mid-July, might one day form “the basis for European or even worldwide standards for social workers”.

The Department of Health announced last July that the General Social Care Council would be scrapped and responsibility for regulating social workers in England transferred to the HPC.

The HPC will take over the register of social workers in April 2012.

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