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.

Applies to England

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

The knowledge assessment component of NAAS is a multiple-choice assessment completed on the online platform. This will be the first component of the assessment you will take following your arrival and welcome at the assessment centre.

You will have 1 hour 30 minutes to answer 60 multiple-choice questions. The assessment includes:

There are separate knowledge assessments for child and family practitioners and practice supervisors.

Simulated practice assessment

There are 4 simulated practice assessment components, which are completed at an assessment centre.

There are separate simulated practice assessments for child and family practitioners and practice supervisors. The simulated practice assessment includes:

  • 2 simulated practice scenarios, each 15 minutes long
  • 1 reflective assessment, 15 minutes long, based on the first simulated scenario
  • 1 written assessment based on the second simulated scenario, 30 minutes long

Two simulated practice scenarios

A simulated practice scenario is like a role play and will include a simulated meeting between you and an actor trained to play the role of either a:

  • family member
  • young person
  • social worker
  • other professional

You will complete two 15 minute scenarios.

A reflective assessment

The reflective assessment is a 15 minute verbal reflection based on the first simulated practice scenario you completed.

A written assessment

The written assessment is a 30 minute written task based on the second simulated practice scenario you completed.

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

You will receive a candidate briefing pack by email within 5 working days prior to your assessment, which will include details about the venue where your assessment will take place, a schedule for your assessment, and profiles of the assessors for the day. You should review this carefully before attending.

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.

Support materials and examples of knowledge assessment and simulated practice questions for practitioners and supervisors are available on the online platform. You will have access to the platform once you are endorsed.

The manager’s role in NAAS

The manager’s role in NAAS is to:

  • 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

Five days after you receive your NAAS assessment results, they will be securely shared with your NAAS lead via the online platform. Your NAAS lead will support you after the assessment in interpreting your feedback and will put in place appropriate development opportunities, aligned with any identified needs.

Resit eligibility

If you receive a ‘not met’ outcome for your assessment, you should have a conversation with your NAAS lead and line manager to reflect on your experience of the assessment and to understand the feedback that you have received. This can form the basis of a plan for your continuing professional development and help to identify any areas that may need strengthening.

Depending on the outcome of those conversations and the objectives agreed as part of your development plan, you might wish to agree a realistic timeline for resitting NAAS. You may wish to take some time for further training and development before retaking the assessment. No more than 3 resit attempts are permitted in a 12 month calendar period.

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 22 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect changes to the NAAS assessment process and promote new support materials which are available on an online platform candidates can access once they have been endorsed for assessment.

  2. Updated link to the 'social work with children and families blog'.

  3. Added information about closing NAAS assessment centres until spring 2021 because of COVID-19, with email address.

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

  5. First published.