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Authority to begin oversight of Social Work England on 2 December 2019

Social Work England will take over responsibility from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) for the regulation of social workers in England on 2 December 2019.

On this date it will become the tenth regulator under the Professional Standards Authority’s oversight.

In most respects, our oversight of Social Work England will be the same as that of the other nine regulators we oversee. During the year, the Authority will carry out an annual performance review of Social Work England against our Standards of Good Regulation and publish a report. We will also have powers to appeal decisions made by its fitness to practise panels if they are insufficient to protect the public.

Social Work England will, however, operate a different fitness to practise model to that of the other statutory regulators. It will have the power to agree with a social worker what action to take in respect of concerns without going to a public hearing – these decisions are referred to as ‘accepted outcomes’. As this is a new approach, the Authority will be auditing these ‘accepted outcome’ decisions, so that we can report on performance and identify areas for improvement to enable Social Work England to put in place any changes that might be needed to better protect the public. Unlike for the decisions of fitness to practise panels, however, the Authority will not have the power to refer ‘accepted outcomes’ to the court if they appear to be insufficient to protect the public. We also do not have the power to oversee appointments to their Council, as we do with the other regulators.

We have monitored closely the development of Social Work England and responded to consultations on its regulatory approach. Its powers enable it to adopt a new approach to regulation. Its establishment is the culmination of a huge amount of work for those involved. We look forward to working with colleagues at the new regulator and wish the organisation every success in its public protection role.

We will be keen after 2 December to hear from stakeholders about their views of the performance of Social Work England and will use this information, as part of our Share Your Experience process, in our performance reviews.


Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care 

Contact: Christine Braithwaite, Director Standards and Policy

Reception: 020 7389 8030

E: Christine.Braithwaite@professionalstandards.org.uk

Notes

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care currently oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK. These are: the General Chiropractic Council, General Dental Council, General Medical Council, General Optical Council, General Osteopathic Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Health and Care Professions Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, and Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland (and from 2 December 2019 Social Work England).
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
  3. We welcome information from anyone including patients, service users, the public, professional and representative organisations, employers and others on the experience they have had with any of the regulators under our oversight. We would like to know why you have been in contact with them and what your experience was – both good and what could be improved. Further details are available on our website www.professionalstandards.org.uk/share-your-experience
  4. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  5. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  6. We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  7. Our values are at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are committed to working with integrity, transparency, respect, fairness and as part of a team.
  8. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at www.professionalstandards.org.uk