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Monday, 25 January 2016

Report: HCPC publishes review of social work education in England

Written by The Editorial Team

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has published a review on their work in qualifying social work education in England in the period from 1 August 2012 to 31 August 2015.

The report reviews the work undertaken to approve social work education programmes in England following the transfer of regulatory functions from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to the HCPC in 2012. Programmes were required to meet existing Standards of education and training (SETs), and professional standards for social workers, in order to be approved. These standards are outcome focused to ensure that qualifying programmes produce safe and effective social workers.

As well as reflecting on approval and monitoring processes, the report considers how wider changes in the sector have been supported and facilitated by SETs. These changes include the introduction of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF); different qualification types and modes of study; and the availability and quality of practice placements. 

The report also highlights some of the anticipated issues following the transfer of regulatory functions in 2012 and how these were managed. This includes how education providers engaged with the HCPC’s Standards of education and training; the range and availability of practice placements; and student fitness to practise and the Social Work Student (England) Suitability Scheme.

Jamie Hunt, Education Manager at the HCPC, said: “Social work programmes in England adapted well to our regulatory model and this is reflected within the findings of our review. We are confident that our robust quality assurance process - which is right-touch and evidence-based - ensures the programmes are producing good quality social workers who are fit to practise.

“All social work programmes have now successfully completed the approval process with the majority having to make changes before approval was given. This approval will remain subject to on-going monitoring moving forward. Education providers will need to consider how any changes to their programmes impact how they meet our standards and engage with us appropriately.

“We are extremely grateful to all of our stakeholders who have contributed to our processes over the past three years. This includes the engagement from education providers, and Visitors who have carried out approval visits, many of whom are members of the social work profession.”