Private companies have received £8.52 million of government funding as part of the implementation of social work accreditation, it has been revealed.
In a written statement this week, children’s minister Robert Goodwill broke down spending on the controversial accreditation scheme, which will begin phase one of its rollout next year.
Responding to questions from shadow children’s minister Emma Lewell-Buck, Goodwill said the government had spent £11.22 million so far on the consultation, preparation and introduction of the accreditation system and phase one and phase two of the implementation.
“This total is split £2.7 million for local authorities and £8.52 million for private companies,” Goodwill said.
The full breakdown for spend on the accreditation test for social workers so far is:
- £3.66 million in consulting on and preparing for the introduction of the accreditation system.
- £2.7 million for the preparation of local authorities for phase one and phase two of the test’s rollout.
- £4.86 million for the introduction, operational delivery and evaluation of the assessment.
The process will see social workers endorsed by employers before doing an online assessment of knowledge, an observed interactive practice simulation and a written assessment.
Frontline social workers who pass the test will become approved child and family practitioners, while managers who complete the test will become practice supervisors. A test for senior leaders is still being developed.
The accreditation test for social workers has been mired in controversy since it was first announced, as the sector has argued spending money on such tests is not necessary at a time of dwindling resources. The government has also faced backlash over private-sector involvement in the test’s development after it was announced private consultancies KPMG and Morning Lane Associates would design the assessment process.
The response to the consultation, as revealed by the Department for Education earlier this month, was mixed. Just 34% of the 396 respondents agreed with the initial proposal to accredit all social workers by 2020, while 59% were split between being uncertain that it would work and flatly saying it would not.