The government is seeking a new chair for Social Work England, in the wake of Lord Patel’s resignation from the role in March.
The successful candidate will hold the post for up to three years, earning £450 a day for 80 days’ work a year.
The chair’s role is to run Social Work England’s governing board, holding its chief executive, Colum Conway, to account for the regulator’s performance.
As Social Work England is the responsibility of government, specifically the Department for Education, the chair must also “work closely with ministers and government officials to drive forward a clear strategic direction” for the regulator, said the DfE, in its job advertisement.
This includes advising the education and health and social care secretaries, currently Gillian Keegan and Steve Barclay, on issues within Social Work England’s remit, when requested.
Helping deliver on government policy
In an introduction to the advert, Keegan also stressed the importance of the chair helping deliver on government social work policy.
Within children’s services, this would include the workforce reforms contained in the DfE’s Stable Homes, Built on Love strategy, published in February, notably the creation of an early career framework (ECF) for social workers in their first five years of practice.
Keegan said this would require changes to social work standards.
In relation to adults’ services, she referenced the Department of Health and Social Care’s latest policy statement, Next steps to put people at the heart of care paper, published in April, setting out its plans to make care more personalised, accessible and of higher quality.
This does not involve any changes to social work policy, but Keegan said that the new Social Work England chair would support efforts to ensure social workers “are equipped to support those who will most benefit” from their practice.
Key criteria for Social Work England role
Though Patel was a former social worker, there is no requirement to have a background in the profession, with “experience or a good understanding of health, social work, social care or other relevant public services” listed as a desirable – but not an essential – criterion for the role.
The essential criteria are:
- an understanding of current government policy;
- substantial experience of leading a high-performing board;
- experience of or understanding of regulation;
- ability to promote and oversee the highest standards of corporate governance;
- a track record of risk management and managing and improving organisational performance;
- being an excellent communicator and having the ability to challenge constructively.
Following Patel’s resignation, fellow board member Andrew McCulloch took over as interim chair, a role he will likely fulfil until the autumn, with early September being the deadline for applications for the chair’s role.
Three of the current seven-member board board – Conway, Dr Adi Cooper and Dr Sue Ross – are registered social workers.
More Social Work England news
- ‘Momentum for change’ to tackle profession’s staffing ‘crisis’, says Social Work England lead
- Social Work England bids to tackle systemic causes of fitness to practise issues in new strategy
- Quarter of those who quit register last year had been on it for less than a year, reveals Social Work England