News story

Government's proposals for a new regulator for social workers

Our social work reform policy and proposed changes to the Children and Social Work Bill.


We are proposing a series of changes to the Children and Social Work Bill following discussion with members of the House of Lords and sector stakeholders over the summer. Our proposed amendments to part 2 of the bill (published on 1 November 2016) cover the establishment of a bespoke social work regulator.

The proposed changes will establish a new separate legal entity, Social Work England, as regulator of social workers. Social Work England will:

  • have a clear focus on professional regulation to ensure public protection
  • operate at arm’s length from government, ensuring an appropriate separation between the regulator and ministers
  • have clear lines of accountability
  • maintain a register of social workers
  • run ‘fitness to practise’ hearings
  • set initial education and training standards, and raise these over time
  • set professional standards, and raise these over time

The bill also provides for independent oversight of Social Work England by the Professional Standards Authority.

Our supplementary policy statement sets out these changes to the draft legislation in more detail.

The bill continues in report stage in the House of Lords on 8 November 2016.

Published 3 November 2016