Accreditation opened up to post-ASYE social workers in new pilot

Chief social worker Isabelle Trowler says move on part of DfE down to queries by children's practitioners as to where NAAS fits into career development

Image of Isabelle Trowler, the chief social worker for children and families
Isabelle Trowler, the chief social worker for children and families

The government’s accreditation programme will be opened up to practitioners who have recently completed their assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE), the chief social worker for children and families has announced.

In a blog published on Monday afternoon, Isabelle Trowler said the move was in response to feedback from social workers relating to how the National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS) “fits into a career trajectory”.

The new NAAS pathway will be available initially to practitioners who completed the children’s ASYE in 2017-18 or 2018-19 so long as they are not employed by one of the 56 authorities currently trialling NAAS. They can register from 10 February subject to their employer’s approval, though numbers are limited.

Councils will be funded to take part, with payments made in two installments, when the candidate registers to take part and on completion of the assessment.

‘Stronger learning offer’

In her article, Trowler said the government wanted employers to deliver a “much stronger learning offer” to social workers who had completed their ASYE and were adjusting to full-time practice.

A Department for Education study published last year identified the post-ASYE phase of social workers’ careers as a period during which stress levels peak as practitioners get to grips with the “‘reality’ of the job”.

“The introduction of the NAAS to ASYE completers across the country provides a continuation of a social worker’s employer-led programme of support,” Trowler said.

“They will work towards taking the accreditation through a learning plan that helps strengthen good practice, increases consistency in skills and knowledge as well as overall experience working in the sector,” she added.

Divergent picture

It is not clear what the announcement means for the government’s plan to roll out NAAS in spring 2020 pending evalaution of the pilots to date.

Social workers who have undergone the accreditation process and spoken with Community Care have been cautiously positive but some have questioned its purpose, beyond providing a useful confirmation that they know how to do their jobs.

Some councils have paid employees significant sums to participate in accreditation, which tests their practice against the government’s post-qualifying standards (PQS), known as the knowledge and skills statements (KSS).

Late in 2019, a £3.1m contract extension was granted to consultancy firm Mott Macdonald to coordinate NAAS until March and in the process accredit 800 to 1,950 social workers under the scheme’s second phase.

But the contract also revealed that national implementation could be delayed by up to six months because of “wider strategic and sector challenges”.

At the time, Claudia Megele, the chair of the Principal Children and Families Social Worker (PCFSW) network, warned that local authorities’ approaches to NAAS were highly divergent, with not all integrating it into career progression.

In her blog post, Trowler said social workers signing up to the new pilot would “benefit from a tailored training and development plan aligned to the PQS and receive regular feedback to help you grow your capabilities”.

Further information regarding the new ASYE pathway can be found on the Skills for Care website.

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4 Responses to Accreditation opened up to post-ASYE social workers in new pilot

  1. A Man Called Horse January 30, 2020 at 10:32 am #

    Looks like a lot of additional stress, which I don’t need. Also where is the extra pay for doing this? Do more, learn more and get less has become the normal. Social Work pay is very poor for the responsibilities of the job. The Government imposed Austerity has cut my pay by 17% since 2010 and my goodwill has run out.

    • Jack Stone January 31, 2020 at 2:53 pm #

      I could not agree more with the statement from my colleague above. This countries ‘offer’ of care services is propped up entirely on ‘goodwill’ whilst many of colleagues in these roles are themselves having to visit food banks only to be turned away as they are not on any form of state benefit. In many cases the families colleagues are supporting have more disposable income each month than themselves even though the families are in receipt of state benefits. We as a nation look at other countries and criticise track records related to poor implementation of ‘human rights’ ‘worker exploitation’ etc. etc. are these debates not relevant on home soil? We talk about implementing/imposing democracy and capitalism on others when it does not appear that we have taking the time to complete a self-assessment in order to recognise the ‘state’ we are in…Good will is hanging on a thread with no reprieve in sight

  2. andrew collins January 31, 2020 at 1:04 pm #

    Do adult social workers have to go through this process? Am I wrong in thinking the term Social Worker is generic to both services?

    Are there issues around childcare social workers being employed under different terms and conditions which possibly breach the equality act?

  3. frustrated February 6, 2020 at 10:45 pm #

    If only they could understand that Social Work is in crisis due to systematic failure not the individual social workers.
    The more a social worker studies and learns the more they know how much they are failing children and families and that makes it difficult/impossible to stay. Thus depriving the system of experienced workers.