Children, Schools and Families Committee: Press Notice

No. 19 of Session 2008-09
31 March 2009

New Inquiry into Training of Children and Families Social Workers

The Children, Schools and Families Select Committee is to undertake an inquiry into the Training of Children & Families Social Workers. The inquiry will examine the structure, content, quality and supply of training (including post-qualifying training), and entry routes to the profession. The Committee will take a particular interest in learning from models adopted by other professions.

Specific issues for consideration could include:

Entry routes to the profession

  • Are entry routes to social work sufficiently flexible to encourage mature entrants, re-entrants and people considering a career change?

Structure of training

  • Is a three-year bachelor's degree / two-year masters degree the right format and level for initial social work training?
  • Following initial training, how should newly-qualified social workers be equipped with the further skills and experience they need?

Content of initial training

  • Is the generic social work degree fit for the purpose of training children and families social workers? Is there sufficient scope for specialisation?
  • Does the content of training reflect the tasks social workers will be asked to undertake when in employment?
  • Is the balance of knowledge, skills, values and experience correct?


  • How effectively does the General Social Care Council regulate the quality of training?
  • How can the quality, suitability and supply of practice placements be assured?
  • Has the switch to degree-level qualification improved the calibre of recruits and the effectiveness of newly-qualified social workers?

Supply of initial training

  • What factors influence whether higher education institutions offer social work qualifying courses?
  • How effectively do the DCSF, DIUS, and the Children's Workforce Development Council ensure adequate training capacity and workforce planning?

Post-qualifying training and career paths

  • How can the quality, suitability and take-up of post-qualifying training be assured?
  • What factors influence the continuing development of newly-qualified social workers and their future career decisions?
  • How well do employers support the development of social workers?
  • How well are social workers trained to deliver front-line supervision?

The inquiry will seek to respond to the establishment and work of the Social Work Taskforce, which is expected to report in October 2009.

The Chairman of the Committee, Barry Sheerman MP, said of the inquiry:

"The preparation that social workers receive to do their very difficult jobs with children is of great interest to the Committee and of great importance to families. We want to examine the issues to see if the Government - through the Social Work Taskforce and other initiatives - is taking the right approach to training and supporting new social workers."

The Committee asks for written submissions in accordance with the guidelines stated below by noon on Friday 8 May 2009.

Please note

A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to and marked "Training of Childrens and Families Social Workers Inquiry". The Committee's strong preference is for submissions in electronic form, although hard copy originals will be accepted and should be sent to Kathryn Smith, Committee Assistant, at:

Children, Schools and Families Select Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA

Each submission should:

  • be no more than 3,000 words in length;
  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • have numbered paragraphs; and
  • (if in electronic form) be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible.

For Data Protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Please supply a postal address so that a copy of the Committee's report can be sent to you upon publication.

A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at:

Please also note that:

  • Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organization submitting it is specifically authorised.
  • Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, although not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.
  • The Committee does not normally investigate individual cases.