Learning from others

Examples of good practice

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For social work deployment to be effective, it is important that the whole system continues to learn and develop. This section explores approaches to learning and sharing best practice which build on existing resources and expertise. 

We have developed online resources which include good practice and research from across social care.

  • Learning from others includes case studies from across sector. You can share examples of your social work deployment and development activity.
  • The Research Knowledge Base (RKB) is an online, searchable database of information relating to the adult social care workforce. It can help you to those working in find relevant workforce information, quickly and easily.  Once you have accessed the RKB you will be able to search “effective deployment” for the resources relevant to this section. Please email researchkb@skillsforcare.org.uk if you would like to share any know of any research information .

Developing autonomous professionals

The social work profession must develop forms of professional learning that reinforce creative and critical problem-solving approaches to practice.

Critically reflective learning and practice is a cornerstone of social work reform.

1. The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) highlights knowledge, critical reflection and analysis.

  • It sets out consistent expectations for your social workers at every stage of their career.
  • It provides a backdrop to initial social work education and continuing professional development.
  • It informs the design and implementation of the national career structure.
  • It gives your social workers a framework to plan their  careers and professional development.

The  Knowledge and Skills statement for social work in adult services complements the PCF level descriptor and sets out what a social worker working with adults should know and be able to do by the end of their Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).

 The knowledge and skills for child and family social work should be used in the same way for  the ASYE in child and family settings. 

2. The HCPC standards for proficiency state that all social workers in England should be able to reflect on and review practice to understand the value of critical reflection on practice. This recognises the value of supervision, case reviews and other methods of reflection. Your social workers must also adhere to standards for continuing professional development to stay registered with the HCPC.

3. Re-visioning social work education, infers that “theory-informing-practice “and “practice-informing-theory” are  linked and the outcomes of social work education (pre and post qualification) need to be expressed in a new way which reflects:

  • the social worker as a practitioner
  • the social worker as a professional
  • the social worker as a social scientist.

You should develop reflective practitioners and autonomous professionals, by identifying individual learning and expertise within a wider organisational context. 

Learning organisations

 A learning organisation is the term given to a company that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself.

  • The ASYE provides a platform for employers to embed a culture of learning and reflective practice amongst its social workers at the start of their career. It includes a moderation and endorsement process to ensure a nationally consistent assessment and should be used to assess newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) who registered for the ASYE after 1 April 2015. 

Learning organisations need access to current research and support to evaluate their work. 

Supporting social workers to change and develop

Political, social and economic factors have changed the way social care is being delivered. This means you will  need tore-design your workforce structures and support systems. 

The Principles of Workforce Re-design include seven good practice principles to consider when changing your workforce.

The HCPC requires registered social workers to continue developing their knowledge and skills. This will help them to retain their capacity to practice safely, effectively and legally within their evolving scope of practice.

The Social Work Reform Board was committed to helping social workers meet the basic requirements of HCPC registration and raise standards across the profession.

We have worked with employers to interpret and embed these principles within their organisations. This information includes core principles to measure the impact of their CPD interventions. There are also CPD case studies which include practical tools for employers.

Re-visioning social work education  provides recommendations which are linked to the ASYE and a licence to practice.

Effective partnerships

Developing of effective partnerships between employers and HEIs was a key priority for the Social Work Reform Board and they produced some principles for partnership working.

We supported the development of local and regional employer – led social work partnerships across England. There is now a social work partnerships in all parts of the country. 

Initially the key theme for partnerships was to improve the quality and consistency of qualifying education and training. Most  partnerships have developed to include all aspects of social work education ,CPD and other aspects of workforce development and planning

The implementation of the ASYE and the emphasis on local collaboration means that partnerships are well placed to support the process of area and national moderation.

We have been  been encouraging participation from independent sector employers of social workers in social work development activity. The National Forum of independent sector employers of social workers is an interactive network which aims support small employers to link together. For more information and to join the forum email independentsectorforum@skillsforcare.org.uk

Effective governance

The Standards for Employers of Social Workers in England set out the shared, core expectations of employers, enabling social workers in all employment settings to work effectively. These expectations are being incorporated within self-regulation and improvement frameworks for public services which are used by service regulators (Ofsted, CQC).

It’s recommended that you provide a social work which has a monitoring system to:

  • assess performance against this framework
  • set a process for review
  • outline your plans for improvement.

There is an organisational health check document and examples to show how it can be used. 

Additional  supporting resources are included in The Standards for Employers of social workers in England.

Sector led improvement

The whole of the social care system,  including social work is changing to meet the requirements of the Care Act and there is a growing emphasis to share “sector led” knowledge and experience.

The Social Work Task Force (2009), and the Social Work Reform Board embodied this principle by requiring the whole sector to work together. They developed tools and frameworks which were taken forward by sector-led organisations that were responsible for implementing the programme.

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