Guidance

National assessment and accreditation system (NAAS)

An explanation of NAAS describing who is eligible, the benefits, and the roles of employer, manager and social worker.

Following the government’s announcement that the UK would enter a stricter period of social distancing to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), all NAAS assessment centres have been closed until spring 2021.

For further information and support, email dfe.naas@education.gov.uk.

Overview

The national assessment and accreditation system (NAAS) enables child and family social workers to develop skills and knowledge to improve outcomes for children and families.

NAAS aims to:

  • provide social workers with a better understanding of their current level of knowledge and skill and highlight areas for further development
  • support employers to raise the national standard and consistency of practice and improve outcomes for children and families
  • ensure employers better understand their workforce development needs through the practice endorsement processes including supervision, performance management and learning and development

Find out if you are eligible to take NAAS

To be eligible for NAAS, you need to be a child and family social worker or a practice supervisor employed by a local authority or children’s trust on the NAAS sites list.

Social workers from non-NAAS sites, those not on the NAAS early adopter sites list, may also be eligible to take part. These include:

Becoming practice endorsed

Practice endorsement is a process for managers to decide whether social workers are ready to demonstrate their expertise and take the assessment. This will involve regular learning and development discussions between the social worker and their manager mapping their performance against the social work post-qualifying standards (PQS), formerly the knowledge and skills statement (KSS).

The manager will need to give formal consent to start the assessment then you will receive your login for the online platform.

The assessment

Getting practice endorsed by your manager is the first step towards NAAS.

Following practice endorsement you will attend an assessment centre where you will complete a knowledge assessment and a simulated practice assessment. This will take around 4 hours. The questions and activity are based on the PQS.

On the day of the assessment you will take part in knowledge assessments and a simulated practice assessment.

Preparing for the assessment

For social workers who are considering taking the NAAS assessment, you will need to:

  • check that your local authority or children’s trust is eligible for NAAS
  • talk to your employer to decide whether you are ready by looking at your performance against the PQS
  • agree a learning plan that identifies development areas, which can be achieved through self-assessment, direct observation, reflective supervision and learning and development
  • get practice endorsed by your manager
  • receive your login for the online platform
  • log in to the online platform to practice knowledge assessment questions and access a simulated knowledge assessment example video
  • book an assessment day on the online platform
  • declare reasonable adjustments in advance of your assessment – this must be done when you make your booking
  • confirm consent to being filmed as part of the simulated practice assessment – this is mandatory for moderation purposes, but you can opt out of your footage being used for training
  • decide whether to consent to sharing your assessment result with your manager

Your arrangements will be confirmed within 10 working days of your booking.

You’ll need to make any requests for reasonable adjustments before the assessment.

Resources for social workers preparing for the assessment

The following resources will help you to assess your current level of knowledge and skills, and prepare for assessment.

The manager’s role in NAAS

  • check that your LA or children’s trust is eligible for NAAS
  • review performance management systems to align with PQS
  • have regular performance conversations and agree a learning plan to provide training and development opportunities that are aligned to the PQS
  • provide practice endorsement if the social worker is ready for assessment
  • manage workloads to release social workers for CPD and assessment
  • release social worker for assessment and offer ongoing support
  • monitor any cancellations and encourage candidates to re-book if necessary

Resources are available for managers to brief their social workers on the NAAS.

On the day of the assessment

Try to arrive at the assessment centre at least 15 minutes before your start time. You may not be able to take the assessment if you arrive late.

When you arrive at the assessment centre, you’ll be greeted by a facilitator who will ask to see your identification documents.

You must show:

  • a form of photo ID
  • confirmation of your Social Work England number (previously known as the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) number)

After the assessment

Social workers

Social workers who have completed the assessment should:

  • create a development plan with your manager based on your assessment feedback and result
  • share learnings with your colleagues and the wider workforce
  • embed learnings in your daily practice

The manager’s role

After the social worker has completed the assessment you should:

  • offer a post-assessment discussion with the social worker and agree next steps for any development plans
  • work with the social worker to create a development plan and offer ongoing CPD support
  • discuss assessment results with the social worker (if consent has been given) to inform individual and team development plans
  • look at case studies to find out how accredited social workers and employers are embedding NAAS into their daily practice

After the assessment: information for social workers

You will get an email 30 working days after taking the assessment to notify you that your results are ready on the online platform.

Results will contain:

  • an overall assessment result
  • a breakdown of the outcomes against each part of the assessment
  • an indication of your performance against specific post-qualifying standards (PQS) areas

Meeting the assessment standards

You will automatically not meet the assessment standards if you:

*receive a ‘not met’ for 1 component or more in the assessment * get more than 2 ‘near met’ results * do not meet the overall standard

Sharing results with employers

If you consented to this on the online platform, your employer will also be sent your results within 24 hours of you completing the assessment.

You may get more tailored support if you share your results with your employer.

If you did not consent to share your result but would like to, you can update this on the result page of the online platform.

Resit eligibility

You can resit the assessment if you get a ‘not met’ result in your first attempt at the assessment.

If you got a ‘met’ result in some components of the assessment and not others, these ‘met’ results can be carried over to calculate your result.

You’ll only be allowed to resit the assessment once so it’s important to discuss your result with your employer first so you can agree the best time for you to resit the assessment.

Some social workers may be allowed to resit the assessment more than once but only in exceptional circumstances.

Appeals

There’s separate guidance about appeals on the online platform.

After the assessment: information for employers and managers

Employers should:

  • discuss assessment results with social workers
  • offer on-going continuing professional development (CPD) support
  • create a development plan
  • use assessment results and feedback to review and improve current workforce development provision

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Social workers should keep a record of their CPD to help career pathway discussions with their employers.

Your NAAS result and accreditation can be recorded as CPD through your Social Work England account.

Contact

NAAS - national assessment and accreditation system

Published 19 June 2019
Last updated 7 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added information about closing NAAS assessment centres until spring 2021 because of COVID-19, with email address.

  2. Added a new section: 'What happens after assessment' which has advice on results and how to embed the principles of NAAS in daily practice.

  3. First published.