Understanding of social work is desirable but not essential for new regulator chief, job ad says

Published job description for Social Work England chief executive reveals cost of setting up new regulator will be up to £26 million

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A “demonstrable” understanding of social work is not an “essential” requirement for potential applicants seeking to be the new social work regulator’s chief executive, according to the published job description for the role.

Published this week, the government has said it is “desirable” for the chief executive of Social Work England to have a demonstrable understanding of social work, particularly in health and social care, but this was not cited in the role’s list of “essential” requirements.

The job advertisement also revealed the government will spend £22-26 million to establish the new regulator, which was announced in 2015 and enshrined in law earlier this year.

The cost of running Social Work England annually would be £12 million once it is in a “steady state”, the description revealed. The organisation will employ 120 staff and be based in Sheffield.

There is no confirmed date for when the regulator will replace the Health and Care Professions’ Council, but the job description for the chief executive role states that the government doesn’t expect Social Work England to be regulating social workers before Spring 2019.

Bespoke regulator

The Social Work England chief executive role is advertised with an annual salary of £142,500. The successful candidate would work closely with social work experts and leaders to establish the new regulator.

The list of “essential” criteria for applicants includes:

  • Experience of senior leadership in a complex organisation
  • Clear track record of managing, developing and motivating staff through change
  • Proven track record of leading and managing corporate change
  • Excellent evidence of communication
  • Demonstrable track record of building credibility and strong relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders at all levels
  • Experience of working in a regulated environment.

In his foreword, children’s minister Robert Goodwill said the successful candidate would have “regulatory experience together with an understanding of social work”.

He added: “The chief executive’s input will make a real and tangible contribution to raising standards in social work, to protecting the public and in turn enhance the status and standing of the social work profession and improve social mobility.”

Social Work England chair required

The government also launched a recruitment campaign for a chair of Social Work England, who will work 10-12 days a month during set up, and one day a week once the organisation is in a “steady” state. The payment would be a £450 a day.

The chair is expected to be announced in March 2018, while the chief executive would be announced in April 2018.

When launched, the regulator will:

  • Set standards for, and approve, courses of initial education and training that enable registration as a social worker
  • Set professional standards including proficiency, conduct and ethics, and continuing professional development which promotes continuing fitness to practise
  • Maintain a register of social workers
  • Operate a fitness to practise system
  • Maximise the benefit of workforce data to support practice improvement while maintaining a focus on the effective delivery of core regulatory functions.

Ruth Allen, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said she hoped applicants with social work and social care experience apply.

“These important roles will shape the next chapter in the development of social work in England…The successful applicants will need to ensure public confidence and high standards.”

The chief social worker for children and families, Isabelle Trowler, praised the “important step” towards “ensuring that our profession has a regulator that focuses on excellent practice”.

Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults, added: “Social Work England will be a dedicated regulator for all social workers, providing an exciting opportunity to set specific standards and ensure recognition for this essential profession. Most importantly, contributing to ensuring that people get the quality social work services they need to support their wellbeing and safety.”

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13 Responses to Understanding of social work is desirable but not essential for new regulator chief, job ad says

  1. Tom Hughes December 6, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

    Why not? We already have somebody chairing Frontline with no Social Work experience?

  2. Ruth Cartwright December 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

    Millions spent setting up GSCC – didn’t work. Millions spent setting up College of Social Work – didn’t work. Millions spent passing our registration to HCPC – didn’t work. Now millions to be spent setting up Social Work England. Bound to be a huge success.

  3. Barbara Dresner December 6, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

    I retired from 40 years in social work with people with disabilities and adults, hospital and community-based.
    I cannot see how an effective social work service can function that is so underfunded.

    I would hope that any candidates for these jobs will be strong enough to be fully open and honest about this situation.
    Not having had social work experience will be a definite, even dangerous disadvantage in my opinion.

  4. Nev December 6, 2017 at 8:23 pm #

    That’s the third regulator so far. Wonder how much this will cost us ?

    • June Thoburn December 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm #

      GSCC closed and service passed over to HCPC at the point Govt removed subsidy and had to go for cheaper option totally funded by registrants’ fees. Will registrant fees be expected to fund the ‘steady state’ estimated £12m when govt contribution to ‘start up costs’ runs out? And why is the rider ‘especially in health and social care’ added to importance of understanding of social work for chief exec. (Do they have someone in mind?) Surely the job spec should be looking for people with a wide knowledge of social work across all its areas – and of course, really should be looking for an experienced social worker with senior level management experience. Does the government really not think there are within social work any people who are up to it.

  5. Kim Ratcliffe December 7, 2017 at 6:53 am #

    Shows what this government thinks of social work in that anyone can do it

  6. On the coal face December 7, 2017 at 9:29 pm #

    Notice how Head girl Isobelle Trowler thinks it’s a good idea .

  7. James December 8, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    I find this whole situation laughable to be honest. I may have misunderstood the criteria for this role, but essentially a Tesco manager could apply for this post as they would generally meet the criteria for this role and probably have a better track record of supporting staff.

  8. Karanut December 8, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    * Great a CEO who does not need to fully understand social work.

    * More layers of complexities for being a social worker.

    * No doubt more changes to Standards of Proficiency and PCF. Most employers don’t understand this to begin with.

    * More academics and non-practitioners telling front line staff how to do their work.

    * Additional costs in maintain registration.

    Merry XMAS

  9. Sarah December 8, 2017 at 11:22 am #

    Jobs that pay this much don’t expect social work experience but they expect a business back ground. They attract directors of local authorities. It’s kind of like the ad for a principal social worker, it doesn’t state that you need management experience because it can be a progression from Advanced Practitioner (according to PCF) but they will only hire those who’ve had management experience.

    It’s an elitist profession, if the movement to only taking graduates with only 2:1 degrees through pre paid fast track social work qualifications isn’t proof of that then don’t know what is. Those are the people whole spend the least number of years frontline and progress the fastest.

  10. Stuart December 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

    Agree with all of the above of course and also, where does ‘improve social mobility’ fit in the priorities of the average social worker?
    I mean, it’s a nice thing (well it would be if it meant we could all move ‘up’, not down as the tory governments consistently attempt to achieve with all local governmetn employees) but I’ve been a social worker for a tad short of 40 years and don’t remember ever having it raised in any of my job descriptions, PDRs or supervision sessions…
    Safeguarding vulnerable children on the other hand…..

  11. Joshua December 9, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Experience in social work must be a prerequest.What is affecting social work is the assumption that ‘anyone’ can do it.

  12. Nemo December 15, 2017 at 7:20 am #

    Ridiculous but there is the evidence here of no value in having the knowledge of what social work is ….no support for those who practice it, no understanding of what is required in order to practice well …..it’s just numbers and faces GSCC didn’t work nor the colllege of SW neither HSPC because all lack an understanding if the environment is poor and management culture oppressive and not theory based social work practice is poor the profession is in crisis