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Government seeks Social Work England chair and CEO

Government launches recruitment drive for key posts in new social work regulator and outlines plans for the launch of NAAS

Published on 4th January 2018

The government has started its recruitment process to find leaders for the new social work regulator.

Social workers in England are currently regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council but the Children and Social Work Act 2017 paved the way for the government to introduce a new regulator, Social Work England.

“The Department for Education, jointly with the Department of Health, will establish Social Work England to ensure public protection and drive improvements in social work practice, from initial education and training to continued professional development,” said a statement.

The Departments are seeking a chair and CEO of Social Work England, which will be based in Sheffield.

Ruth Allen, British Association of Social Workers CEO, said: “These important roles will shape the next chapter in the development of social work in England.  We hope applicants with social work and social care experience and the requisite skills will apply. The successful applicants will need to ensure public confidence and high standards. We look forward to continuing to contribute to the development of the regulator, ensuring social workers' views and concerns shape the future.”

The chair will be expected to work 10-12 days a month in the set-up phase, reducing to one day a week in steady state and will receive £450 plus VAT per day. Applicants need skills in business, change management, major projects and transformation.

The CEO, who will require similar skills, will work full time and receive “a highly attractive total reward package, including pension and a basic salary of up to £142,500 per annum, commensurate with the skills and experience the successful candidate will bring to the role”.

At the same time, the government outlined plans for the implementation of the National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS) for child and family social workers.

The government has launched the NAAS to raise the professional status of child and family social workers, providing a clear career path as well as ensuring they have the knowledge and skills they need to practice effectively.

Children and Families Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Vulnerable children and families deserve the highest-quality care and support and that’s why we are driving forward reforms in children’s social work.

“The National Assessment and Accreditation System is a key part of this work to strengthen the skills and professional status of child and family social workers so they can provide this vital support to children who need it.”

The initial roll out of the NAAS will consist of Phase One involving five local authorities and Phase Two, involving up to 20 authorities, and will promote a stronger focus on learning and development within the children’s social work sector profession.

Social workers in the authorities involved in Phase One and Two of NAAS will be assessed against specific criteria setting out what constitutes effective social work practice, known as the Knowledge and Skills Statements.

Steve Walker, Leeds City Council Director for Children’s Services, said: “The National Assessment and Accreditation System has brought a welcome focus on the arrangements that local authorities have in place to set the conditions in which best practice can flourish.

“Leeds’ involvement in the accreditation system will provide us with an opportunity to review and strengthen our career development opportunities for social workers and enable us to recruit and retain great social workers, which is what children and young people need and deserve,” he added.

Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee, said:“ADCS believes that assessment and accreditation for the approved child and family practitioner must be mandatory, rolled out at pace and fully funded as a new burden. It is therefore disappointing that the government has not listened to our concerns and that assessment and accreditation remains a voluntary system, without the mandate necessary to avoid dividing the workforce – into social workers who are accredited and those who aren’t – and that it remains unclear whether assessment and accreditation will be fully funded by government beyond phases one and two. We hope these issues are given sufficient consideration as part of the ongoing evaluation process. We would also argue that the money spent on the NAAS is not the best use of limited resources. ADCS is committed to working with government to get these reforms right for social workers and for vulnerable children and families too. That the implementation of the NAAS will be supported by real-time analysis and evaluation is both welcome and sensible, as is the Department’s commitment to addressing issues around equality and diversity identified in the proof of concept phase. It is important that the findings from this research are shared with the sector and that we understand how they will influence the model and the social work workforce in the future."

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