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NAAS consultation response from ADCS

Responding to the government’s response to the national assessment and accreditation system (NAAS) consultation Rachael Wardell, Chair of the ADCS Workforce Development Policy Committee, said:

“Social workers carry exceptional responsibility on behalf of society. They work alongside vulnerable children and families and provide emotional and practical support to help them make positive changes and overcome challenges in their lives. Social workers can only effectively safeguard and support the children and families they work with if they themselves are equipped with the necessary skills and support to do their jobs well, so we welcome the government’s commitment to raising the quality and confidence of the children and family social work workforce.

“ADCS has engaged extensively and constructively with the Department for Education on the social work reform agenda since the announcement of the knowledge and skills statements in 2014. In this time we have been clear about our views on the national accreditation and assessment system as outlined in our consultation response. ADCS believes that assessment and accreditation for the approved child and family practitioner must be mandatory, rolled out at pace and fully funded as a new burden. It is therefore disappointing that the government has not listened to our concerns and that assessment and accreditation remains a voluntary system, without the mandate necessary to avoid dividing the workforce – into social workers who are accredited and those who aren’t – and that it remains unclear whether assessment and accreditation will be fully funded by government beyond phases one and two. We hope these issues are given sufficient consideration as part of the ongoing evaluation process. We would also argue that the money spent on the NAAS is not the best use of limited resources. ADCS is committed to working with government to get these reforms right for social workers and for vulnerable children and families too. That the implementation of the NAAS will be supported by real-time analysis and evaluation is both welcome and sensible, as is the Department’s commitment to addressing issues around equality and diversity identified in the proof of concept phase. It is important that the findings from this research are shared with the sector and that we understand how they will influence the model and the social work workforce in the future.”

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