Continuing the conversation

From the very beginning and moving forward, we have given a commitment that our regulation will be rooted in the values and principles that underpin the social work profession. Central to our work is collaboration and dialogue with everyone with an interest in social work.

Matthew, our regional engagement lead for the North West, at the Cheshire and Merseyside Teaching Partnership Practioner Research Conference.

Our six regional engagement leads have been out and about in their regions over the past six weeks to continue this. They’ve met many of you and chatted about our standards and how best to continue our conversation as we move closer to 2 December, when we become the new specialist social work regulator. Alongside this, we have been building our networks, meeting with colleagues from a range of organisations to talk about social work, our approach to regulation and the importance of ensuring the right people are coming into the profession with the support they need to stay. We want all social workers to feel a sense of pride in our profession and to feel valued for the positive difference they make to the lives of millions of people across the country every day. As a book I read recently pointed out, “this is truly the best job in the world [where you have the chance] to inspire, challenge, provoke, reflect and make a real difference to people’s lives.”[1]

As part of our workplace shadowing programme, I was lucky enough to see that in action recently as I shadowed a very busy, hardworking AMHP team. Despite the pressure of limited resources in the face of referral after referral, it was fantastic to be part of the ‘buzz’ of a busy social work team again, and be reminded of the camaraderie, the peer support, and the focus on getting the best outcome for people who are in crisis. It was humbling to see the respect for such a skilled part of our profession from colleagues in the local NHS, hospital staff and others, and the recognition that through working together as a team, the right solution can be reached.

Rose-tinted glasses? Maybe. As a social worker of many years standing, I know all too well the many challenges that exist. The system that our profession works in is far from perfect, and we all know that a lot needs to change and improve. Though I am unapologetic at having high ambition for social work and wanting to ensure it has the valued place it deserves in society. It is through working together and talking together that we can collectively influence and shape the change that needs to take place to ensure that happens.

Jess, our regional engagement lead for the Midlands, at the Festival of Practice 2019.

So to continue the conversation, I am delighted to let you know that our regional engagement leads have arranged three regional events throughout November to talk to you more about this.

These events will take place in Preston, Maidstone, and Nottingham. In addition, we will hold two Q&A sessions on Twitter in the evening and have an online survey so that those who are unable to get to the events can still be part of the conversation. We will share more information on these shortly.

We hope you will join us once again!

Continuing the conversation events

  • Maidstone Community Support Centre, Maidstone on Tuesday 5 November, 12.15-4pm
  • Nottinghamshire Deaf Society, Nottingham on Tuesday 12 November, 12.15-4pm
  • Cotton Court Business Centre, Preston on Tuesday 19 November, 12.15-4pm

Find out more and register here.

Our team will also be at several events in the coming months for you to meet and hear directly from us, including:


[1] James, E., Mitchell, R. and Morgan, H. (2019) Social Work, Cats and Rocket Science. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. London.

Sarah Blackmore

Sarah Blackmore

Sarah is the Executive Director of Standards and qualified as a social worker from Trinity College Dublin in 1997. Since then, she has worked in a variety of national and international contexts, from frontline practice in Dublin, to working with street children and ex-child soldiers in Sierra Leone during the civil war, to managing services for children and families in the UK. Sarah has worked across statutory, voluntary and regulatory services. She has spent the last six years in Scotland, where she was Deputy Director of Inspection with the Scottish social care regulator, and Executive Director of Delivery and Development for a large mental health charity.