Reform board agrees new framework for social work development

The Social Work Reform Board has agreed a new framework for the continuing professional development of social workers in England.

The Social Work Reform Board has agreed a new framework for the continuing professional development of social workers in England.

The reforms are intended to help social workers maintain and develop the core standards required for re-registration, which will be overseen by the Health Professions Council (HPC) from July 2012.

Unlike the General Social Care Council, the HPC does not define either the content or how much CPD is to be undertaken. Instead, every two years a random sample of social workers will be required to provide detailed written evidence of their CPD. The earliest possible audit for social workers will be in 2014.

It is hoped the framework for CPD will:

● Promote opportunities for meaningful and cost-effective learning.

● Foster learning throughout a social worker’s career, aligned to the professional capabilities framework.

● Encourage the move from a compliance culture to a learning culture within organisations, as proposed by the Munro review.

● Provide mechanisms for valuing, recognising and recording learning and development achieved through a range of activities.

“Implementation of a new CPD framework will promote and support all social workers to develop their capabilites and extend their knowledge and skills to deal with increasingly complex and specialist work,” said Moira Gibb, chair of the reform board, in a letter to board members.

The College of Social Work will promote and implement the framework. It will devise an online tool for planning, recording and reflecting on CPD, in line with the HPC’s requirements.

“Social workers will ultimately be responsible for their own CPD, so the emphasis will be on professional development opportunities which help them become even more effective in their jobs,” said Claire Barcham, professional practice development advisor at the College.

“For example, they might study part-time for a master’s degree or undertake another form of independent study, work shadowing or mentoring, all of which can be recorded as leading to learning and reflection, which enhances practice.

“We will support individual social workers to meet their CPD targets through provision of learning resources and an e-portfolio, and we will be working with employers in the coming months to give CPD a realistic and valuable role in every social worker’s practice.”

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