HCPC issues updated standards of proficiency for social workers

New capabilities around resilience, weighing alternative explanations and safe information governance added to regulator's list

Social workers in England will be required to “identify and apply strategies to build professional resilience” under a series of updates to the Health and Care Professions Council’s standards of proficiency.

The standards set out what social workers in England should know and be able to do on completion of their training in order to register with the regulator. They were first published in 2012. The latest changes follow a consultation held last year.

Other new standards include an ability to:

  • Manage and weigh up competing or conflicting values of interests to make reasoned professional judgements.
  • Understand the principles of information governance and be aware of the safe and effective use of health and social care information.
  • Understand the concept of leadership and its application to practice.
  • Be able to present reports in formal settings.

A number of minor amendments have also introduced to existing standards, pertaining to social workers’ expected knowledge base and ability to recognise situations requiring immediate action.

“The profession-specific standards for social workers in England were developed through the input of our stakeholders,” said Michael Guthrie, director of policy and standards at the HCPC.

“We are confident that the standards are fit for purpose and reflect safe and effective professional practice.”

More from Community Care

28 Responses to HCPC issues updated standards of proficiency for social workers

  1. Alex January 10, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

    HCPC talks a good talk but when it comes to having a deeper understanding of social work issues, social work regulation and development as a profession it has been lacking, HCPC is a ‘jack of all trades’. What Social Workers need is a dedicated professional body . The sooner we get to that the better.

    • Pearl Baker January 19, 2017 at 11:10 am #

      My experience as an Independent Mental Health Advocate & Adviser has shown that Social Workers are the ‘weakest link’ they fail to be ‘Holistically’ trained for example. ‘Care Plans’ for those under Section 117 is a Statutory Right, but many are actually discharged from future ‘Care Plans’, but remain under Section 117? ‘Needs Assessment’ carried out by Social Workers never implemented, those placed into the COP for ‘Property and Finance’ Orders are mostly ‘financially abused by LA Deputy. Social Worker carried out ‘assessment of need’ then contacted the Deputy of the COP who said they will pay for a Cleaner ‘out of their SAVINGS’ .

      1. Social Worker should know had they have been discharged from future Section 117 ‘Care Plans’ but still under Section 117 this would be identified and included under Section 11 FREE aftercare. NO IDEA

      2. The LA Deputy should know his client is NOT required to PAY for the identified service’ ‘unmet needs’? ‘Stennett’ High Court Judgement.

      3. GPs are complicit in discharging those subject to Section 117 ‘Care Plans’ but remain under Section 117. No Idea either.

      4.U cannot have a ‘Care Plan’ drawn up by an ‘outside’ organisation, who then go on to charge you for the service that should be FREE under Section 117.

      5. The LA are responsible for allowing a Private Contractor to charge for Services they have already PAID, in any case to charge Section 117 patient is ‘illegal’.

      I could go on, but i am sure the evidence given, documented and recorded in my files is sufficient to identify, more appropriate ‘Holistic’ training is required if Social Workers are to become ‘Key’ Worker Managers for the Mentally ill.

  2. Longtime SW January 10, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    “identify and apply strategies to build professional resilience”

    . . .. . . . in the face of cutbacks to services do they mean?

    More workload expectations for the same money?

    You have to be resilient in the first place to stay in the profession let alone join it.

    Any new related standards for employers related to reducing the need for ‘resilience’? ? ?

    . . . . . . . . thought not.

    • sw Student January 10, 2017 at 10:31 pm #

      EXACTLY what I just shouted at the screen!!!!

    • Ben Glass January 11, 2017 at 10:46 am #

      “Any new related standards for employers related to reducing the need for ‘resilience’? ? ?”

      What an odd question. The HCPC don’t regulate employers; why would they have standards for them?

      • Longtime SW January 11, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

        No Ben they don’t regulate employers more’s the pity
        However if you check the Code of Conduct there are standards for employers – technically, if employers haven’t met the standard, (for regular supervision for example), then employees would/may have a defence if brought before the HCPC conduct panel – though along with most contributor’s to this site, my views are that I agree there has been little evidence of findings where employer failings have been taken into account

    • Beloved one January 11, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

      I concur!

    • A Man Called Horse January 12, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

      Yes resilience in the face of Tory cuts to funding. Perhaps they should include an ability to suffer utter revulsion as Austerity continues unabated against some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the country.

      I think as professionals we are absolutely sick to the core at the continued attacks on us as a profession. The HCPC have no credibility whatsoever and frankly we treat the directives issued from the bunker with the contempt they so richly deserve.

      How about a directive on poor pay and ongoing cuts to the terms and conditions of social workers? Thought not

  3. Celeste Corrigan January 11, 2017 at 12:02 am #

    That document reads like a load of old waffle! Why can HCPC be the leading voice that it’s supposed to be and articulate clearly the standards of prodiciency required instead of using up space with fluff! Ridiculous and the money we pay for registration! Males my blood boil!

  4. Paul January 11, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    Why is it that the social worker has to make all the changes and improve? The HCPC should have the ability to sanction ineffective employers of social workers.

    • Lesley Wood January 11, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      So true

  5. Miss Taylor January 11, 2017 at 12:58 pm #

    I echo everything said above and more.

    Thank you HCPC not only for your continuing punishment social workers for having unworkable case loads, working under immense pressure, suffer bullying management regimes, no where to sit and IT systems unfit for purpose. You strike them off when they try to say no, answer back when something goes not quite how the manager wanted it to.

    You have now opened the doors and said welcome to more bullying, bigger case loads more pressure less work/home balance and even poorer pay and conditions, you have made it ok for all those things and more to continue, and for our money, we now have to become resilient to it or else.

    All to justify your own cushy establishment jobs where you are fed, paid hotel & travel costs as well as fees to put to trial and publicly humiliate those human beings, yes humans, who work far beyond their limits to try to ensure the vulnerable in our society are safe.

    The sooner you are abolished the better for us.

    • Jo January 14, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

      I agree with your comments 100%
      HCPC must be abolished fulls top! !!

  6. Martin Porter January 11, 2017 at 1:13 pm #

    Perhaps they should have been:

    “Being able to sensitively inform a client their service is being ended due to lack of funding”
    “Knowing how to direct a client to a food bank”
    “Accepting you have no right to speak out about any of these issues.”

  7. Jonathan Ritchie January 11, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    Why just moan about corrupt HCPC/SSSC? Why not organise a boycott of registration fees?

    End this protection racket…

    • Miss Taylor January 12, 2017 at 11:16 am #

      Long been thought about and spoken out loud.

      Problem is who would dare to start and lead that process ?
      whoever took that role would be marked as unemployable in the future.

      We pay for union membership too, should they take up that fight on our behalf ?
      Social workers have long been their own worst enemies they do nothing to help themselves they fear their employers, they fear the unions and they now fear the HCPC.

      What happened to our profession?
      we can help others but not ourselves.

    • Longtime SW January 12, 2017 at 11:33 am #

      Careful Jonathan – You’ll be court martialled by the HCPC/SSSC as a counter revolutionary!!!!

  8. David January 12, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    HCPC not fit do understand the job. This old Social Worker is sad to leave. But I cant and will not put up with this abuse.
    Regards to all who do good work every day, without the support of HCPC.

  9. A Man Called Horse January 12, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    To all above I sometimes feel I am a lone voice in the night. Clearly all contributions here recognise the worthlessness of the HCPC

    We are all insurgents now it would seem, perhaps a gradual awakening from a deep sleep is occurring amongst social workers. I am Spartacus we are all Spartacus. HCPC read and take note your day is nearly over.

    • Ben Glass January 12, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

      You think the HCPC has done ‘nothing’ of worth to protect SUs from poor practice? Nothing? At all?

      • Martin Porter January 16, 2017 at 8:49 am #

        Quite possibly they have done nothing.

        Reading the cases they have adjudicated on, they all appear to have either already been dealt with by the employer or to have voluntarily left the profession.

        I would need evidence that the HCPC is a necessary and effective extra level of oversight.

        • Ben Glass January 16, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

          Then you’ve been reading selectively. There have, for example, been cases of HCPs being sanctioned by the for being dishonest with new employees about sanctions from previous employers and/or from regulators. It’s a concern that you don’t feel SUs should be protected from SWs who would conceal their past discilplinaries.

          • Martin Porter January 17, 2017 at 9:52 am #

            But that’s simply an issue of Personnel not following up references properly, and is dealt with in serious cases via the POVA list.

  10. Ruth Cartwright January 12, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

    I hate this abuse of the term resilience. What it means is that if we cave in under unreasonable working conditions, unrealistic expectations re caseloads, volume of work and unpaid overtime undertaken, or if we make a mistake, it is our fault for not being resilient enough!

  11. Miss Taylor January 13, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    Horse, take comfort you are not alone. For many years I have felt and spoken the same – also a lone voice in the dark and I have paid dearly for my freedom of speech.

    Lets hope they wake up and smell the coffee. We were once a very strong, hands on, outspoken and noble profession, I ask again what happened to us?

  12. sandy beach January 13, 2017 at 8:49 pm #

    Social workers in England will be required to “identify and apply strategies to build professional resilience”
    Ok, so lets think about this? Here’s a few examples…. starting with the basics and moving to the unrealistic but things that would help with retention.

    >It would be really great to go home on time or maybe just a half hour late if l have something to finish.
    >It would be nice to have the weekend to myself / family / friends / other interests / hobbies & not have to complete an outstanding report.
    >How about being able to have lunch 3 days out of 5?
    >It would be great to when l have taken something to supervision, to then feel that the risk has been appropriately recognised by management and something willl be done, not that l will spend six week stressing until the management team finally decide to do something about it, rather than leave me to worry about this by myself.
    >How about feeling that although l dont have time to complete absolutly everything, l do have the time to correctly deal with all the risks identified appropriatly – with using collegues to assist on occasion and not being overburdoned with complex work that is unregonised in case number allocation.
    >It would be good to have occasional opportunities to be seconded for a week or two every couple of years to associate organisations, adults, CAMHS, police, health etc to understand a little of how our other collegues work, to increase networks and see the potential for gaps in service and progress professional understanding and self worth.
    >Then how about being supported to undertake further training specific to our organisation, so each LA could set up an evidence based unit to research into best local practice, running on a rolling staffing, people could express an interest in working here for 3 months or so, the best practice could be shared on a cross county website to promote us owning our journey of improvement rather than being patronised by the HCPC, Trowler Inc, BASW & OFSTEAD.

    unlikely really isn’t it….that we would be allowed these basics… so back to la la land.

  13. Jo January 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm #

    Yes HCPC OUT
    you are silently killing social workers since you took over.
    It’s a miserable profession since your existance
    Do us a favour and get out
    I bet you individualy in your offices has your own computers and working spaces.
    Why do we not deserve a working space with computer when even on duty.
    What a mess. Sad sad sad.

  14. SW17930 January 19, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

    I have yet to renew my registration as am not really sure I want to continue being a social worker. My husband thinks it will come in handy but seeing as I’m not practicing my profession at present is it worth the money to re-register?