My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care (Caroline Dinenage) and I are today launching a public consultation on the policy to establish regulations and the regulatory framework for Social Work England. The framework and the regulations within it are to be made under Part 2 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
Social work is a complex and challenging profession. The best social workers deliver truly excellent provision that has the power to transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
We want all social workers to be equipped to deliver outstanding services. Key to delivering on this vision is a highly skilled and expert workforce. We have developed a significant reform programme, across child and family and adult social work, to improve both the quality of social work practice, and the systems which support social workers.
A fundamental part of this reform programme is delivering on our commitment to establish Social Work England: a new, specialist regulator for social workers in England. Like the other health and social care regulators across the UK, Social Work England’s primary objective will be protection of the public. It will achieve its objective through setting professional, education and training standards for social workers, and providing assurance that those registered meet the standards, are qualified and remain fit to practise. By doing so, it will promote public confidence and trust in this vital profession.
Health and social care professional regulation is undergoing change. While the regulators are generally effective in protecting the public from serious harm, there has been criticism, including from the regulators themselves, that the system can be slow, inefficient, overly adversarial and confusing to patients and the public. Government recognises that the regulation of all healthcare professionals needs to be faster, simpler, better and less costly and is reviewing the regulation of healthcare professionals through its consultation Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation. Social Work England is at the forefront of this reform.
Therefore, the regulatory framework for Social Work England, described in this consultation, aims to take account of the latest thinking, enabling the regulator to be more streamlined, proportionate and efficient. Social Work England will be able to operate systems and processes which adapt to emerging opportunities, challenges and best practice, ensuring professional regulation reflects the changing reality of delivering social work practice safely and effectively.
The consultation will run for six weeks and ends on 21 March. It seeks views on a range of key issues. A copy of the draft regulatory framework forms part of the consultation.
Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the House Library and available on the Government’s website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications?keywords=&publication_filter_option=consultations&topics%5B%5D=all&departments%5B%5D=department-for-education&official_document_status=all&world_locations%5B%5D=all&from_date=&to_date=.