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Social work regulation in England


The Children and Social Work Act 2017

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 by the next government to start to bring about the changes outlined in it, including progressing the establishment of a new regulator for social workers in England.

The Act sets out that the new regulator will be called Social Work England and 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 will be overseen by the Professional Standards Authority.

What happens next?

There is currently no timetable in place as to when the transfer of regulatory functions to the new body may take place. In the meantime we continue to regulate social workers in England, working closely with the social work sector and government to deliver public protection by ensuring efficient and effective statutory regulation.

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 a range of 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. They can be found here .

Standards of education and training: Our proposed revision of the Standards of education and training were agreed by Council on the 23 March 2017, and are due to be published in the summer of 2017. All education and training programmes will be required to meet these standards.

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