Press release

Social Work Reform Board progress report published today

Findings in a new report suggest that social workers are more confident and more focused on improving outcomes for the most vulnerable.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The social work profession is more confident and more focused on improving outcomes for the most vulnerable, Chair of the Social Work Reform Board Moira Gibb said in her final report published today.

The Social Work Reform Board published its latest and most likely last significant update on the progress of the reforms it has overseen. The Social Work Task Force recommended comprehensive reform of the social work system to enable social workers to practise confidently and safely. The Social Work Reform Board has been working to make the task force’s recommendations a reality. The Board included representatives from right across the social work sector including those in higher education, carers and social workers themselves.

Dame Moira Gibb, CBE, Chair of the Social Work Reform Board, said:

We have set out a vision for the future in which the social work profession has the support and confidence it needs to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable in our society. Today marks a staging post in the journey of social work reform and a foundation for delivering a better future for social work.

I believe our reports will support and guide employers, those involved in educating and training social workers and the profession itself to achieve this. We hope this report will be used as a working tool assisting the sector and employers as they undertake this challenging task.

This is likely to be our last significant report as we hand on the baton of reform to others in the social work sector.

Maurice Bates, Co-Chair for the College of Social Work said:

The report illustrates that when we look at how far we have come since the Social Work Reform Board was set up to drive forward improvements in frontline social work practice, considerable change for the better is now underway.

The introduction of the supported first year in employment for newly qualified social workers, backed up by a capabilities framework for further development throughout a social worker’s career, puts the profession on a much firmer foundation.

These changes will be further enhanced by the new social work degree programme, to be adopted by all higher education institutions by next year.

This report recognises that social work employers are embracing the reform agenda but also emphasises the crucial need to keep the momentum going. We echo the report’s conclusion that the changes need to happen faster and we urge all employers and social workers to engage with this agenda and make full use of the resources the reform board has supplied.

The government supports the work of the Social Work Reform Board and is now urging the sector to take forward reforms.

A government spokesperson said:

The social work reforms are helping to keep social work focused on the most important thing - helping those most vulnerable in our society.

We hope to have a chief social worker in place within the next few months who will reinforce the continuing imperative to drive up standards of care in the field of social work.

The report ‘Building a safe and confident future: Maintaining momentum - a progress report from the Social Work Reform Board’ can be found in the publications section.

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Published 15 June 2012