Social Work England has released their new three-year strategy, hoping to drive positive change within the social work profession.
Social Work England are a specialist body whose main purpose is to regulate social workers within England. They published their first strategy in 2020, and the new 2023 – 2026 strategy hopes to build on the challenges and learnings of the first three years.
One of the main points of the new strategy is to “get ahead of the curve” and focus on prevention.
There will be an increased focus on public protection and delivery improvement.
The three main themes of the strategy are:
- Prevention and impact: be proactive in protecting the public and address system-level risk factors.
- Regulation and protection: ensure their work is efficient, fair, and in the public interest.
- Delivery and improvement: deliver improvements on approaches and systems.
Increasing Pressure on Social Workers
This strategy comes at a time when there is significant pressure on social workers. Many employers are struggling with the recruitment and retention of social workers. Cuts to government funding have led to unprecedented caseloads and a lack of time for the personal development of social workers.
Social Work England’s strategy is going to look closely at the path between education and employment within Social Work. Currently, social work graduates complete a one-year ASYE (assessed and supported year in employment) but Social Work England are looking to replace this with a five-year early career framework.
The aim of this update is to address the issues on a whole-profession basis. This change would only apply to those working in children’s social work and wouldn’t come into force until 2026.
Diversity and Inclusion
Being diverse, inclusive and values-driven is a key objective of the strategy. Social Work England has recognised that their investment in people is for the long term.
As a part of their development, Social Work England will focus on:
· attracting and retaining the people they need to deliver the strategy
· cultivating culture
· promoting health and wellbeing
· developing leadership and talent
Social Work England Chief Executive Colum Conway said: “We hope our new strategy for the next three years shows that we have continued to listen and learn from everyone who has engaged with our work.” Conway acknowledges that Social Work England cannot effectively regulate the profession without understanding the challenges it faces.
Social Work England’s 2023 – 2026 objectives:
Build trust and confidence in the social work profession, and in regulation, by strengthening its relationship with the sector.
Share the data and insight it holds about the social work profession and its regulation, to support leaders and policymakers drive change, and ensure its processes are safe and fair.
Collaborate with other sector leaders to develop a clear and shared understanding of risks to the public and agree on how to manage those risks.
Ensure all social work students receive comprehensive and consistent education and training, in a supportive and inclusive learning environment to prepare them for practice.
Ensure its registration processes are fair, responsive and efficient.
Review its fitness to practise case resolution approach, to improve service quality and fairness, and ensure value for money.
Develop its work with employers and the public to resolve more concerns locally (where it is safe and appropriate to do so).
Further develop its digital channels and services, to ensure they are inclusive and focused on user experience.
Be a diverse and inclusive employer, which supports and motivates its people so they can deliver for the people we serve.
Continually develop and improve how it works, ensuring it is a well-run organisation that delivers the right outcomes and provides value for money.
Read the full strategy here: https://www.socialworkengland.org.uk/media/4666/swe_strategy.pdf
Charles Hunter Associates is a specialist Social Work recruitment agency providing positions across the UK. For more information contact us to see how we can help you.