A refresh of the social work Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) has added three “overarching principles” to guide all social workers in their practice.
The three principles – purpose, practice, and impact – are the first major changes to the PCF since responsibility for it was passed on to the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) following The College of Social Workers’ demise in 2015.
The refresh, published this week and open for feedback until April 4, also includes a joint statement from BASW and the two chief social workers, Isabelle Trowler and Lyn Romeo, about how the PCF and Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS) relate to one another.
“Together, the PCF and KSS provide the foundation for social work education and practice in England at qualifying and post-qualifying levels and are used to inform recruitment, workforce development, performance appraisal and career progression.
“The KSS set out what a social worker should know, and be able to do, in specific practice settings, in specific roles and at different levels of seniority. The KSS maps on to the practice domains of the PCF (knowledge, critical reflection and analysis, interventions and skills) and should help guide every day practice.”
Definitions and descriptions
As part of the refresh, BASW has introduced new definitions and descriptions of the PCF in a bid to add clarity to what it means for practice.
It said the PCF is the “underpinning framework” for social work practice, which sets out common capabilities for what social workers should expect of themselves and what others should expect of them.
“The PCF does not define specialist knowledge and skills or lay out learning content that may be needed in particular work contexts. It describes the capabilities that all social workers should aspire to develop throughout their career.”
The new principles, referred to as ‘super domains’ on the PCF fan, which illustrates the framework, are intended to “add more clarity” to the PCF Fan graphic. The ‘super domains’ mean:
Purpose: why we do what we do as social workers, our values and ethics, and how we approach our work
Practice: what we do – the specific skills, knowledge, interventions and critical analytic abilities we develop to act and do social work
Impact: How we make a difference – our ability to bring about change through our practice, through our leadership, through understanding out context and through our overall professionalism.
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