It is barely a year ago that Social Work England completed its final legislative journey through parliament to become the new specialist regulator for social workers.
It’s been a busy 12 months since then and we have set up an organisation from scratch, including finding and establishing a brand new office in the city of Sheffield, developing our organisational systems and governance processes, and the not so small task of building new and fit for purpose IT systems.
In addition to the ‘nuts and bolts’ we have made it our priority to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders–social workers, employers, students, tutors and lecturers, unions, national and regional organisations representing the social work profession, other regulators, and most importantly those with lived experience.
In February this year we embarked upon one of our most important journeys–the development and consultation of our rules and standards for the social work profession.
Throughout the process we have remained true to our commitment to listen, engage and collaborate. By speaking to thousands of people across the country we have been able to develop a set of rules and standards that are based on evidence and reflect the diverse methods of working with individuals, families and communities. To help us reach as many people as possible we hosted consultation events across the country, launched an online survey and held six Twitter Q&As. In total, 590 people responded to the online survey and we had 32 written responses, including feedback from membership organisations representative of more than 1,050 people.
People with lived experience have been at the heart of all this engagement and the development of our standards. As well as collaborating with professionals, our experts by experience group provided challenge to our thinking, grounded us in reality, and helped us develop standards that really underpin and demonstrate the value of the profession.
We are pleased that the Secretary of State has approved the rules and standards. In the coming weeks and months we will publish a series of supporting guidance documents to help professionals understand how the standards will be embedded into their practice when we become the regulator by Monday 2 December 2019.
We want to keep engaging with you all and will aim to be at a number of events over the next six months so please come and talk to us. You can also talk to us on social media and find out how to contact us via the website.
Lord Patel of Bradford
Lord Patel is chair of Social Work England. A qualified social worker, he worked in inner city Bradford and then established a number of Third Sector agencies working with those misusing drugs and those with mental health problems; later moving to academia working with a number of universities.