Children’s social workers in England may have to take a licence to practise exam in the future, says Michael Gove

The education secretary has accepted some of Martin Narey’s recommendations for improving social work education and training – and revealed that some work is already underway

Children’s social workers in England could be moved to a licence to practise model of regulation similar to that used in medicine, education secretary Michael Gove has revealed.

In his written response to Martin Narey’s review of social work education, Gove said the chief social worker for children and families, Isabelle Trowler, was developing plans for the introduction of a “more rigorous testing regime” for children’s social workers.

Under the plans, social workers would take a licence to practise exam and would have to demonstrate on a regular basis that they are fit to practise, by participating in compulsory revalidation.

Gove said he was “personally supportive” of this work, which would bring the regulation of children’s social workers in line with doctors.

Gove accepted Narey’s recommendation to set out in a single document what a newly qualified children’s social worker needs to understand upon graduating. This will be based on work, led by Trowler, to develop a clearer definition of the role of children’s social work in general.

He also indicated that the government would support the recommendation to allow undergraduate social work students to specialise after their first year: “We want to see university students committed to working with children specialise in children’s issues, both academically and in their practice placements.”

And he reiterated his support for the Frontline and Step Up to Social Work programmes, which were broadly praised in Narey’s review.

However, Gove said more consideration was needed before making any decisions regarding the regulation of social workers.

He said ministers would look at Narey’s recommendation to streamline the process for approving and auditing children’s social work training by transferring some or all of the Health and Care Professions Council’s duties to The College of Social Work in more detail.

“The cluttered  landscape of standards and university endorsement criteria should be cleared, and the criteria sharpened. We shall consider Sir Martin’s recommendations for a single body to approve and audit children’s social work training; and further consider how to strengthen regulation of the profession.”

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3 Responses to Children’s social workers in England may have to take a licence to practise exam in the future, says Michael Gove

  1. Joe February 13, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    And those who choose to work with adults?

  2. Jaine February 14, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    If we are to sit a licence to practice exam to bring the regulation of social workers in line with doctors, will social work salaries be bought in line with doctors also?

  3. Karen February 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Will we paid in line with doctors to?? I very much Doubt it!