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ADCS Policy Paper on Assessment and Accreditation of Three New...

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) today, Tuesday 10 May, publishes the first in a short series of policy position statements on the assessment and accreditation of three new social work statuses: Approved Child and Family Practitioner; Practice Supervisor; and Practice Leader.

The paper welcomes the government’s continued commitment to raising the quality and profile of the social work profession but highlights a number of important strategic questions which remain unanswered. ADCS believes that both policy and implementation issues must be addressed together to avoid unintentionally destabilising and demoralising the workforce. The paper recognises the complex nature of the reform agenda but raises concerns around what seems to be lack of coherent oversight over the different strands of the reform programme. It calls for a programme board approach to help ensure a common core understanding across all the work streams.

The paper states that the implementation of the Approved Child and Family Practitioner and Practice Supervisor statuses should be mandatory, rolled out at pace and fully funded as it represents a new burden for local authorities. Voluntary implementation could lead to a two-tier system – dividing the workforce into social workers who are accredited and those who aren’t. The paper continues by stating that the body endorsing agency social workers must be the local authority after the social worker has spent a significant assignment period in the council. This will provide local authorities with direct experience of their work so they are able to make informed decisions about their practice.

The Association states that the implementation of the Practice Leader status should not mandated and agree in principle that there should be a mixture of taught and placement components to the aspirant Practice Leader programme, however the notion of full time placements lasting for 9-12 months is not supported. The paper suggests that taught elements of the programme could be delivered in two different and shorter placements rather than a single secondment.

Dave Hill, President of the ADCS, said: “Social work lies at the heart of systems that support families in crisis and social workers are key to this. It is crucial that we get this reform agenda right and we look forward to continuing to engage with government to resolve matters.

“As leaders of children’s services we know improving outcomes for children means breaking the cycle of adult disadvantage and good social work with adults helps children too. The link between children’s and adult’s social work must not be lost implementing voluntary accreditation amongst social work professionals – worryingly, this could lead to adult’s social work being viewed as a second class profession.”

The full policy paper can be found at


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