New guidance spells out unique role and function of social workers in variety of settings

The College of Social Work has issued an advice note to ensure employers and policy makers are clear about the distinctive role of social workers within the care system

New guidance setting out exactly when and how employers should use qualified social workers has been published by The College of Social Work (TCSW) today, to mark World Social Work Day 2014.

The advice note, Roles and Functions of Social Workers in England, was produced in consultation with social workers, employers and other professionals and clarifies the specific skills and expertise social workers bring to the diverse contexts in which they work.

It includes a summary of the role, expectations and values of social work and a section setting out the situations in which social workers should be deployed, as well as examples of the roles and functions they are required to perform in those situations.

It also explains how the roles and responsibilities of social workers should be aligned with their capabilities and professional development, as defined by the Professional Capabilities Framework.

TCSW chair Jo Cleary said: “When arranging support for people who lack mental capacity, assessing the suitability of people to foster or adopt, or helping children who have been neglected or abused, social workers have an essential and unique role to play.

“This guidance specifies the distinctive contribution of the social work profession within all settings and situations. It details the core roles and functions, which with their specialist knowledge and expertise, social workers should always undertake.”

She added: “We hope [the advice note] will encourage consistency in the deployment of social worker expertise across the public, voluntary and private sectors.

“Well-trained, skilled social workers are an essential resource for managing the most sensitive, complex and high risk individual and family situations. This guidance will help employers make best use of social workers and the specialist skills they bring to their work.”

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