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‘Real social work’ – the power to change lives

23rd March 2015

The College of Social Work (TCSW) has recently launched the ‘Real Social Work’ campaign.

This calls on the next government to take five key actions to ensure the future of social work as a dynamic profession which is able to make a real difference in people’s lives.

  1. Increase investment for social work
  2. Put social work at the heart of integrated care for adults
  3. Revisit the current inspection regime for children’s services
  4. Ensure that all services are properly regulated and accountable
  5. Commit to post-qualifying CPD

The National Centre for Post-qualifying Social Work (NCPQSW) at Bournemouth University commends this 5 point statement from TCSW which clearly recognises the unique and essential role that social work has within contemporary society. The expertise and skills of social workers ensures that they are best placed to work in a range of complex situations to improve the life chances of individuals, carers and families. Social workers use their knowledge and skills to change the lives of the most vulnerable in our society, and as a result improve society as a whole.

We are particularly heartened by the TCSW recognition and commitment to post-qualifying CPD and the statement made about it in the launch of the 5 point plan. This calls on the next government to commit to post-qualifying CPD:

‘Other professions such as medicine and nursing have coherent frameworks for their continuing professional development (CPD), reflecting the dynamic and changing environments in which they operate. The next government should invest in a similarly high quality framework for social work which reflects the levels of our Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF), and sets out clear and flexible pathways for professional development and specialisation.’

The NCPQSW welcomes the call for a national framework for social work CPD, and a commitment to post-qualifying programmes of learning which supports practitioners to develop advanced practice skills and knowledge. This is already an essential element of the flexible pathways for professional development offered by NCPQSW programmes. From our experience of delivering post qualifying social work education for over fifteen years, we know that there is an appetite for CPD opportunities from social workers themselves. Investment in social work career development supports social workers to feel valued and motivated, although this does require an on-going commitment from employers.

The ‘Real Social Work’ campaign is an opportunity for social work to embrace the positive contribution that social workers make to the lives of the most vulnerable in society on a daily basis. It is an opportunity to raise the profile of an often battered and undermined profession by encouraging the next government to recognise the pivotal role that social work plays in making a difference to the lives of the most vulnerable groups in society. Finally it can be used to support the development of clear CPD progression pathways for practitioners which supports critically informed professional judgement and best practice.

  • NCPP Bournemouth University
    Professor Lee-Ann Fenge
    Director of the Centre of Seldom Heard Voices, Marginalisation and Societal Integration / NCPQSWPP

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