Government wants thousands of social workers accredited next year

Department for Education tender document outlines plan for 8,000 children's social workers to be accredited by December 2018

Department for Education

Thousands of children’s social workers will face accreditation tests next year, under government plans.

A tender notice issued by the Department for Education shows the government wants 8,000 practitioners accredited by December 2018 as part of the first phase of a national rollout.

The social workers will come from a group of 31 councils, including the DfE’s favoured ‘partners in practice’ councils, that have signed up to pioneer the scheme. Social workers will go to regional assessment centres to sit the majority of the four-stage assessment, which includes an online test of knowledge and skills and a simulated practice observation using role play scenarios with actors.

The DfE said final decisions about accreditation rollout are subject to the results of a consultation currently underway. The consultation is also seeking feedback on a list of statutory social work duties ministers believe accreditation should be required for.

The government wants all children’s social workers to be accredited by 2020 and sees the assessments as crucial to social worker development and to building public confidence in the profession. However, a Unison survey of 100 social workers who took part in a pilot of accreditation found 91% felt the project should not be a government priority.

Around 1,000 social workers took part in the pilot between April 2015 and March 2016. The results led the government to conclude that the tests were deliverable at a national scale and offered a “sound measure” of practitioner skills.

The DfE did however scrap a digital case scenario element from the assessment after the pilot found it over-simplified practice. The department also pledged to address any potential bias against older social workers and practitioners from minority backgrounds after the pilot results found these groups performed less well on accreditation.

The accreditation consultation closes on 14 March.

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27 Responses to Government wants thousands of social workers accredited next year

  1. Philip February 11, 2017 at 10:53 am #

    Most universities are looking at the social worker being MA driven and expect its students to have expressed some interest in a smokiness field before applying, plus holding a degree, so student with a degree could leave university owing 60k and they now want social workers to have an MA So let’s add another 30k to the already debt with no bursary.

    And despite having a degree and having to show your continual development in the job they now feel they can hammer the agency staff with IR35 regs, tell them to pay to HCPC and now expect a national accreditation where all social workers are expected to sit and pass this. they do NOTHING about case holding and plaveing safeguards on workers, they do NOTHING about supporting social workers working in a difficult job, they do NOTHING to reflect pay and conditions, they do NOTHING to stop hot deaking. They do NOTHING to join yo working IT stystems but they feel it’s ok to to roll out a national accreditation system.

    REALLY !!!

    • June Thoburn February 16, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

      Hope aall those responding to this article will take the time (tedious though it is) to respond to the official consultation and get colleagues to do. Numbers count! and also reply to the UNISON and BASW surveys that ask ask wider questions about whether this NAAS is necessary, value for money, or will lead to more and better qualified social workers and improvement to the lives of those they serve.

  2. Maz February 12, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    Was so angry such stupid questions (please guys take time to add your thoughts as the consultation is live) clearly no social workers have been consulted they would have said how ridiculous. It is clear if a sw is failing so you support them, less case loads simplified IT or get support with IT (administrators). It’s stressed me out writing my suggestions, consult with a variety of social workers professionals, adults, kids and carers who have used the service or had a positive and negative experience. Who tells doctors to take a test every year and produce portfolios and consistently train. They will tell you what nonsense this is, spend the money on something useful like investing in social work and see what a mess the whole system is in alp disciplines that should support people NHS, schools etc. Building affordable housing, more NHS beds for tier 4, lower waiting lists for camhs and more youth centres. what nonsense this is, spend the money on something useful like investing social work not giving more hoops to jump through and more pointless assessment. If somebody is shit at their job on general support and yes assess them. It’s a tough should destroying but rewarding job fucking government have no clue as usual this will solve the problem yeah!

    • Anonymous February 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

      Well said Max. I can’t believe this nonsense. After all the pressure of working in a non end job, without job guarantee that locum roles provides, no training or holiday/sick pay. Feeling discriminated upon from permanent staff,?as you’re getting more money , etc. Now we have to deal with this nonsense of facing accreditation to prove you can do the job you have been doing for over 4 years plus. Instead government should focus on using those resources for social work involvement, supporting families, interact with children/ young people on 1:1 direct work basis. That all said doesn’t even skim the surface of what those resources can be used for rather than this suggested nonsense. What a scam and shame!!!!

  3. Peter Gill February 13, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Do these idiots have nothing better to do with their time and our money? Another attempted affront on professionals who are under constant assault from a system that does not believe in taking responsibility for the most vulnerable in society. Govt. will not fund councils to deliver much needed social care and is clearly developing a strategy to exit from children’s services altogether. What sort of a sham is this?

  4. Zoe Williams February 13, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    I personally think that MP’s should undertake 3 monthly examinations to determine their eligibility to hold millions of lives in their hands; to take decisions to cut benefits to the disabled, services to the elderly, funding for schools, homes, children the list of failure is endless! They don’t even go to work every day let alone demonstrate any insight into the society they have nurtured and just sit on their padded butts, claiming expenses they don’t deserve for a wage they don’t earn. How dare they interfere and criticise a profession they don’t understand or don’t care about while they get fat at the tables of the great and good. Spend a week with any social worker….learn what we do, learn how to silently bleed day after day and yet still we go on. It is not the social workers it is the system and the management and the changes which are to blame. Be a Social Worker for just one day and witness what you have created for us …….you couldn’t even past a test in honesty and integrity and compassion Mr Government. Dream on.

    • Anonymous February 16, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

      Haha you’re so spot on Zoe. Let’s bring all government members to try social work for one day and see if they come back. My bet is they would not survive as they don’t know what honest stands for!!!

  5. Paul February 13, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Couple of points. Social work is over regulated as it is. The money is better spent on retaining social workers. They are sick of the blame down culture in a profession under funded, lack of resources in community and children living in abject poverty due to government policies. Final point…who is going to regulate policy and decision makes, senior managers, politicians and councillors who set budgets and fail to invest in training, desks and decent IT?

  6. LI Mdh February 13, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    Why is this needed?

    They keep saying “its to building public confidence”. the only way we can build public confidence – is to give SW’s the tools to do their job. also listen to the Munro report (that we paid so much money for) and all other reports.

    Training is not the only key – PLEASE – listen to your social workers and stop consulting managers or SW’s who are not in the field. Why does it seem that every reaction is to put more pressure on social workers?

    You introduced PQ’s – what has been the result of that – consult?

    You introduced ASYE – what has been the result of that – consult?

    We need social workers making decisions about social workers – not politicians, who want public vote – we do not want people who are out of touch with social work practice.

    Good social work involvement will build the public confidence – not the new training.

    Can you please have evidence of what consultation have been done? – I disagree that any SW would want to take part this?????

    • Anonymous February 16, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

      Too right

  7. HAD ENUFF February 13, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    I agree with all the comments that have been made. This Govt is useless, moreover do they not think that social workers have studied long and hard enough. I have been in this job for 2 years and I am looking to leave the profession because this job is impossible and I do not want to suffer from a nervous breakdown. I believe that if I can continue in this job this is what will happen. Cuts, cuts, cuts and more cuts. Resources well what the hell is out there? how are we suppose to work and deliver outcomes with no resources. As for recruiting and retaining social workers, well who really wants to do this job. There is zero support from management, all they want to do is bombard you with cases, caseloads are unrealistic if any meaningful work is suppose to be delivered. Hot desking well that is another stress in its self. Who the hell wants to go to work and then when you arrive you’re struggling to find a desk to begin your already difficult, challenging, stressful, unbearable, intolerable, unacceptable, demanding, unmanagable and unstainable awful job. When I chose this profession I did so because I wanted to work in a profession where i believed I could make a change even if it was just to 1 family. Right about now, I want to run as far as I can away from this profession. Yes the comments already made are the same experiences I have. IT system too complex and over the top, long assessments that increase work loads. Once again as a previous comment stated, you don’t hear GP’s having to do further test. I tell you what the Govt have too much time on their hands. They do nothing but create chaos in an already CHAOTIC CLIMATE, Social workers are always given a hard time or are used as the escape goat. Well enough is enough, so before they create a crisis they better start consulting those who are doing the job and are on the front line, they can also take their STUPID ideas and run and jump and over the nearest cliff with them.

    • Simon February 15, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

      It’s ‘scapegoat’.

      • A social worker February 16, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

        Seeing as you bring it up, that’s what is known as an ‘eggcorn’ – a spelling that arises as a result of the word being misheard (e.g. ‘eggcorn’ = ‘acorn’). It seems intuitively correct to say ‘escape goat’ because of what that implies (in the same way ‘eggcorn’ seems intuitively correct because acorns are egg-shaped). The point being it was a forgivable, indeed perfectly understandable, error. I think the first commenter becoming unstuck due to an apparent reliance on autocorrect is more worthy of attention, ‘smokiness field’ and ‘hot deaking’ being cases in point.

        Besides, I like ‘escape goat’ and intend to use it myself from now on.

  8. A Man Callled Horse February 15, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

    Time to face the facts, here is my summary.
    1. The Government hate Social Workers-they want to make your life very difficult. Look at attacks on Agency Social Workers pay through IR35 if you don’t believe me.
    2. They believe that you are incompetent at your jobs and need tight controls.
    3. You need low pay so you can experience the daily misery of your clients first hand.

    This Government is an affront to decency it is your duty to do whatever it takes to have them removed from power at the earliest opportunity, do not vote Tory under any circumstances.

    Demonstrate at every opportunity against the injustices benefit cuts, attacks on the disabled, fight back to remove this satin on humanity from office. The Tories are the real enemy scum in name and by deeds.

  9. Ruth February 15, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

    Another reason to look for a new career. I have a BSC, MSC in Social WOrk and PQ but this all means diddly squat. It doesn’t make me any better at my job. You need good reflective supervision, time and supportive managers to do this job and after 11 years this feels like another dig. I am all for professionalism and adherence to values and ethics but totally agree money needs to be spent on suppprting the workplace.

  10. Mohammad Chowdhury February 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    I agree with everything stated above. I think all the ministers want to prove their competence. They have the help of some executive who get paid for stupid out of touch ideas. I am a NQSW and working for a LARGER however only come to know this rubbish idea through community care reports. No one bothered to consult the social workers. Govt have not done anything on Munro recommendations. Last year Munro said that since her rerecommendation published there are some change/improvement however no one can see except her, such a shame, I think it’s time for SWs to unite nationally.

    • Anonymous February 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm #

      Amen to all said

  11. Simon February 15, 2017 at 9:13 pm #

    This is ridiculous. Accreditation has come about because of occasional bad practice (see any profession), and because of widespread failures – which are simply the result of unmanageable caseloads caused by a lack of investment in social work. Yet there IS money to run this crazy accreditation scheme! This is the proverbial straw for me, I can earn twice as much in any of three other jobs I’ve considered outside of SW, and without the constant stress and uphill struggle. I’m quitting. My experience and effort has counted for nothing – and I bet I’m not the only leaver.

  12. Ashling McDonald February 15, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

    SW is a regulated proffession (registered with HCPC).. Why is this Gove test allowed?! I think SWs should boycott this test!!

    • Too old for this stuff February 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

      I wonder what would happen if SWs did boycott the test?

  13. Nicolette February 16, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    As a frontline social worker, I give 100% to the job. I ensure continuous professional development and I adhere willingly and wholeheartedly to the values and ethics of social work.

    Please recognise the amazing work social worker’s do and divert the money set aside for this, to more resources so we can continue to deliver our services.

  14. Elle February 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

    Seriously?? Like, it’s not the social workers that need to be analysed, deconstructed, and tested for competence but the system in which they try to work! Yet again here’s the government laying it’s mess on to someone else’s shoulders. Nice DfE, nice!

  15. yvonne February 16, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    The accreditation I believe is a waste of valuable money. Social workers have already undertaken a degree plus 2 placements and then further training that you need to complete to maintain professional registration. I am not aware of any other profession that is treated with such disrespect as this government treat social workers. I am of the view this government is attempting to show they want better practitioners through implementing a scheme that will cost a substantial amount of money and for what? Is this to mask over the lack of funding social care are faced with or the heavy case loads social workers carry.
    The amount of forms social work have to complete on one child is just silly. This government need to recognise that social workers are not the only professionals to safeguard a child therefore why is it only social workers who should ‘improve public confidence’.
    Accreditation is not the answer, better ongoing training through all agencies is needed along with continuity. Not an exam, how is that long term on going development?

  16. Sandra. P February 19, 2017 at 10:55 pm #

    I feel that Social Workers (SW) are a push over…never fight! SW have No strong Union that is a voice for them.
    Reading this as a SW on maternity i feel sad because i see the stress, under resourced services, low pay, and all in it Social workers comply.

    Bad public perception is the work of the media and the press; better relations will be had between society and social Workers if the Government and media tshowed SW in the better light of its valuable work and commitment to serve the people.

    This Government has an agenda to bring Social services under a private institution that they can manipulate then therefore SW will not be able to care for the vulnerable as they should and the profession can be wiped off. I know they feel OTHER professions can do what SW do.

    I have heard many civil servants say “social work is just common sense ” well if it was so why is it there has always been and will always be a shortage of SW.
    UNITE AND FIGHT!!!! or are you all scared of reperimands or of losing your jobs?
    As for Me i am not sure if this is a profession i want to be part of anymore and probably wont return to practice….its changed too far from 10years when i had Qualified. Good luck

  17. paul owen February 22, 2017 at 10:54 am #

    So, you’ve 40+ cases and got to spend time being ‘accredited’ rather than protecting kids and trying to make sense of the pointless system we work under now.

    ‘Get in touch with the unions’, If they are as effective as they have been regarding the changes in my area you may as well spit in the wind.

    Government keep shouting about lack of money and then come up with this white elephant. Makes you want to weep in frustration

  18. Simon Cardy February 23, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

    There is no ‘consultation’ as such because the horse has already bolted by the fact that 31 local authorities have aleady taken part in a so-called ‘pilot’. I was led to believe that pilots came after consultation not the other way round. If it was renamed ‘survey of views based on limited choice questions about a scheme we have already made a decision on’ it might be a little bit more honest but then so much of this governments social work reform agenda is full of smoke and mirrors.

    For more initial analysis go to:

  19. Roselyn February 28, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    I agree with all the reply on social work accreditation, social workers is picked on because we are easy and our union won’t speak up on our behalf. The government couldn’t pickedon teachers, nurses or police without their union stand up for their rights. If the government want to bring in more accreditation they should do this with other profession as well. Any how I don’t see any consultation with social workers or their unions, social workers should not use as political football…….social workers have large case load and plus they have to type up all their case note, assessments, direct work and other jobs. We have a name person sitting in parliament on our behalf and she is doing nothing because her consultant company is pushing for this accreditation. In my opinion all social workers should go on strike as the rail service and the prison staff done. Social Woekers work alone and under poor condition and abuse from families especially parents that misused drugs and alcohol, we have to build relationships, safe guard children and get the best outcome for them. Most social worker have degree of MA in social work studies and practice.