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Social work regulation in England


The Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service
Home > About regulation > Social work regulation in England

Social work regulation in England


Social Work England

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 was granted Royal Assent on Thursday 27 April 2017. This means that the Act can now be used to bring about the changes outlined in it, including establishing a new regulator for social workers in England, named Social Work England (SWE).

SWE will set standards for social workers and ensure public protection. It will be accountable to both the Department for Education and the Department of Health and be overseen by the Professional Standards Authority.

What happens next?

We do not have a detailed timetable for the transfer of regulatory functions from the HCPC to Social Work England. Lord Patel of Bradford will Chair the new body. Colum Conway has been appointed CEO, he is currently Chief Executive of the regulatory body for the social work profession in Northern Ireland. The supporting recruitment information for both posts states that SWE does not expect to begin regulating the profession before Spring 2019.

The Department for Education has published the Government response to the public consultation on the policy to establish the regulatory framework for SWE. On 4 June 2018, the Government laid secondary legislation (the Social Workers Regulations 2018) before Parliament that will enable SWE to operate.

In the meantime, we will continue to regulate social workers in England and will work with external stakeholders to ensure that the transfer of regulation to the new regulator is as smooth as possible.

Background information

Government, with the approval of Parliament, decides how and which professions are statutory regulated in England.

In January 2016, the former Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, announced her intention to establish a new body for social work as part of wider reforms to the children's social care system. The previous government then progressed this intention through the Children and Social Work Bill in the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Following publication of the Bill, the Education Select Committee launched an Inquiry on the government's approach to children's social work reforms. The Committee's report and the Governments response to the report can be found here.

Continuing work

Standards of proficiency for social workers in England: Following external engagement activities and a public consultation, these standards have been revised and published with a number of changes and additions to reflect developments in education and practice.

Standards of education and training: Our revised standards of education and training were published in July 2017. From September 2017 any education and training programme going through the approval process, including social work programmes in England, must meet the revised standards.

HCPC links

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