Bidders for Professional Capabilities Framework must meet ‘social work values’ test

College of Social Work will assess bids against criteria including a commitment to 'social work values' and ‘promoting a united profession’

The PCF which sets out what is expected of social workers at all levels has been transferred to BASW but is not mentioned in discussions around accreditation

Organisations bidding to take on the Professional Capabilities Framework after The College of Social Work closes will be expected to prove their ‘commitment to social work values’.

The College (TCSW), which will close by the end of September due to a lack of funds, will shortly invite expressions of interests from organisations to host the resources and functions that TCSW owns. Bidders will not be expected to pay take on the resources but bids will be tested against a range of criteria, including their commitment to ‘social work values’ and a desire to promote ‘a strong, united profession’.

The future of TCSW’s government-commissioned work will be decided by ministers and is not included in this process.

The functions that TCSW owns are:

  • The Professional Capabilities Framework (which sets standards for social workers at different stages of their careers)
  • A suite of publications produced by the College’s team, including Care act guidance and practice guides and
  • A set of resources produced by the College’s faculties and Professional Assembly, such as a report on the role and function of social workers in mental health services.

College chair Jo Cleary said the organisation’s board and faculty leads had decided on a process for evaluating expressions of interest in TCSW-owned resources.

“[The expressions of interest] will be considered by a small panel (including representatives of trustees, chairs of the elected faculties, practitioners and people who use services). TCSW Board will then make final decisions which will be based on clear criteria, including maintaining TCSW’S legacy, promoting a strong, united profession and commitment to excellence and social work values,” she said.

A review of the PCF, which was developed by the profession for the profession, was launched in December last year. The review aimed to consider the impact on the PCF of a new accreditation status for children and families social workers and the separate knowledge and skills statements published by the two chief social workers.

The skills statement published by Lyn Romeo, chief social worker for adults, references the PCF. However, the statement produced by Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker for children, makes no mention of the framework. Some social workers fear that the apparent lack of cross-government support for the PCF could see the framework sidelined.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act last week revealed that the PCF review will be completed as planned.

However, the document also confirmed that the College will not have control over the future of its government-commissioned functions. These include a best interest assessor training course accreditation scheme and a qualification verification service. Both are statutory functions devolved to TCSW by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Re-homing those two functions is the government’s priority during the College wind down process. TCSW’s other government-commissioned work is likely to be re-tendered.

The documents showed that Department of Health officials held talks with the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Skills for Care and the British Association of Social Workers over their capacity to take on resources.

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