Research and analysis

Step up to Social Work programme evaluation 2012: the regional partnerships and employers perspectives

This report evaluates the recruitment, selection and delivery of the fast-track master's programme for social workers.



Step up to Social Work began in England in 2010, as a fast-track master’s level qualifying programme for social work, targeted at high-calibre recruits to the profession. The programme was government funded and was designed to be employer-led, coordinated and provided at regional partnership level with higher education institutions (HEIs).

The partnership model involved different sets of relations both between local authorities, and between HEIs and LAs than had previously existed within mainstream social work education programmes.

The evaluation of the programme was undertaken by De Montfort University, with the remit to report findings on the effectiveness of the current recruitment, selection and allocation in meeting the three key objectives of the step up to social work programme which are to:

  • increase the quality of social workers entering the profession
  • enable local employers to shape initial training for students to address local needs
  • create a new entry route into the social work profession

The evaluation was initially commissioned by the former Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), and the commission subsequently transferred to the Department for Education in April 2012.