College sets out expectations of social workers in delivering Care Act reforms

Government-commissioned curriculum guide and capability statements provide guidance for practitioners and managers on implementing act

Photo: Gary Brigden

The College of Social Workers (TCSW) has today set out expectations for practitioners in delivering on the Care Act 2014 reforms in two government-commissioned resources.

Its curriculum guide on the act outlines the knowledge and skills that social workers need to develop to effectively implement the act in areas including assessment and eligibility, safeguarding and risk, integration and transitions. It is designed to support practitioners in their professional development and employers and educators to provide effective training and learning.

Alongside this, TCSW has produced a set of capability statements, setting out expectations of social workers of different levels of experience or seniority for delivering on the Care Act. These are based on the nine domains of the College’s professional capabilities framework.

What social workers should know

Among the knowledge and skills expected of social workers set out in the curriculum guide are:

  • Embracing and advocating the impact of early intervention in reducing levels of need, in line with the act’s duty on local authorities to prevent needs for care and support.
  • Taking an asset-based approach to assessment, looking at informal and community networks, promoting the expertise of adults and carers and promoting an inclusive approach to assessment to include self-funders.
  • Understanding changes to carers’ entitlements and balancing carers’ needs with the needs of the cared-for person.
  • Developing knowledge of new funding arrangements, deferred payments and providing subsequent appropriate support to self-funders.
  • Making safeguarding personal by starting with the outcomes that an adult wants to achieve, and fully involving them and those important to them in safeguarding.


The capability statements for social workers (those in the early years of their career) include to:-

  • Take responsibility for being up to date on the Care Act and Mental Capacity Act, including relevant case law.
  • Be able to assess mental capacity in increasingly complex situations and in diverse settings.
  • Work effectively in partnership with other involved agencies, recognising when multidisciplinary assessments or joint working are needed.

In a piece for Community Care to accompany the launch of the resources, the chair of TCSW’s adults’ faculty, Gerry Nosowska, said: “The Care Act enshrines a standard of care and support that I believe social workers can wholeheartedly support. We can lead, model and deliver the kind of practice that makes the Care Act meaningful. We also need the time, resource and understanding to fulfil its promise. This is ultimately down to the kind of society people want to live in, and the kind of support we want for ourselves and our families. If we want the Care Act to work, as a society we need to invest in social care.”

The curriculum guide was developed for the College by Manchester Metropolitan University and Research in Practice for Adults, while the statements were drawn up following workshops with practitioners, managers and workforce leads.

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