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Social Worker Accreditation Scheme ‘Poor Value’, Directors Warn
Plans to introduce accreditation tests for social workers have been marked as ‘poor value for money’ by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).
The Department of Health who are introducing the accreditation, plan for it to be implemented at 3 levels: frontline, supervisors and senior managers. All 30,000 frontline social workers in children’s services are expected to take the assessments, which will involve a digital test, practice observation and written assessments by 2020.
However, directors have said that the £23m that it would cost to set up the national assessment and accreditation system (NAAS), would be better spent on frontline social work and early help services. Failing this, the group said that if ministers intend to go ahead with the scheme then it should be made mandatory and fully funded.
According to the ADCS If accreditation is kept at voluntary for frontline staff, then this will pose a number of risks for services, including creating workforce “turbulence”, dividing the social work workforce into those who are accredited and those who aren’t as well as Turning social work with adults into a “Cinderella service” for practitioners who fail to pass accreditation and work with children’s services.
Rachael Wardell, ADCS’s workforce policy lead, said: “In a tiered profession, a social worker’s professional judgement could be questioned if they are unaccredited despite there being no statutory requirement for this. This is concerning and will do nothing to help raise the confidence of the profession or consistency across the workforce.”
In response to this, ADCS said that accreditation should not be mandatory for practice leaders. They accused the government of trying to enforce a plan with a “fragmented approach” that lacks “coherent oversight”, which as well creates a split between adult and children’s services.