The Continuing Professional Education and Learning Framework (CPEL Framework) for social workers in Wales is beginning to have a positive impact on practitioners’ skills and knowledge, according to a new independent evaluation report published by the Care Council for Wales.
However, the report also found that heavy workloads are making it difficult for social workers to participate in the programme, and that some aspects of the CPEL Framework need to be reviewed so it continues to be relevant for social workers’ learning needs. It is also too early to say whether the CPEL Framework is helping with career progression.
The CPEL Framework aims to support the social work profession by helping practitioners develop their skills and knowledge. It consists of four programmes that focus on different stages of practitioners’ careers: newly qualified social workers; experienced practice; senior practice; and consultant social workers.
The second year report is part of a five-year evaluation of the CPEL Framework by the Care Council and is informed by feedback from social workers, their managers and other stakeholders. It looks at how the CPEL Framework is helping improve the quality of social work practice, career progression and development, the retention of social workers and the outcomes for service users and carers.
The Year 2 evaluation found the CPEL Framework is having a positive impact on participants, with those taking part reporting better understanding, skills and confidence levels. It also reported that the majority of local authority employers are keen for their social workers to take part, with the number of practitioners involved in the programme increasing. Additionally, it concluded the CPEL Framework is helping encourage social workers to use research to inform their practice and is supporting them to implement the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.
Gerry Evans (pictured), the Care Council’s Director of Regulation and Professional Standards, said: “We are pleased with the findings of the Year 2 evaluation report and that take up of places remains strong. It is encouraging to see that the CPEL Framework is beginning to have a positive effect on social workers and their practice, but there is still work to do to strengthen the Framework and practitioners’ access to it.
"We will be meeting shortly with employers and higher education institutes to discuss these findings and how they can inform the next phase of development.”
To download the report, visit: Evaluating the impact of CPEL Programmes
Picture (c) Care Council TV.