Standard 6 - Continuing professional development (CPD)

This standard is about social workers being provided with the time and opportunity to learn, keep their knowledge and skills up to date, and critically reflect on the impact this has on their practice.

Someone giving a helping hand to another

They are required to demonstrate this learning as part of their regulatory requirement to meet Social Work England’s professional standard relating to CPD.

Employers should provide opportunities for regular and effective CPD.

CPD is the reflection and learning activity that social workers undertake throughout their career to maintain and improve their practice. It is an important part of a social worker’s professional standards. By undertaking and recording CPD, a social worker demonstrates to the public, their regulator and their employer that they uphold those professional standards.

It is important that employers provide their social workers with time and opportunities to carry out regular and effective CPD, fostering an open learning culture where social workers are supported through supervision to carry out learning activities that they feel benefit them and their practice.

Supporting staff development

All employers should:

  1. have effective induction systems for all social workers
  2. put in place tailored support for newly qualified social workers through an assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE) programme, including protected development time, a managed workload, tailored supervision and personal development plans
  3. have an appraisal or performance review system which assesses how well professional practice is delivered, that includes the feedback of people with lived experience of the social worker’s practice and identifies a learning and development plan to support the achievement of objectives
  4. provide dedicated time, resources, opportunities and support for social workers to carry out CPD and record their learning in line with regulatory requirements
  5. have fair and transparent systems to enable social workers to develop their professional skills and knowledge throughout their careers through an entitlement to formal and informal CPD, specialist training and development as appropriate
  6. provide support and information to enable social workers to progress through post-qualifying specialist training and access national funded development and support programmes that will allow them to develop their knowledge, skills and practice and, in some cases, annotate their registration to reflect a specialism
  7. encourage social workers to work towards and maintain professional accreditation where it is available
  8. encourage social workers to think creatively about their CPD activity, consider learning they already undertake, online resources, and to draw from their work towards post-qualifying frameworks and accreditations
  9. encourage social workers to plan, reflect on and record learning activity, including logging CPD on their Social Work England online account
  10. ensure that coaching and action learning opportunities are core components of the CPD offer to social workers
  11. encourage social workers to consider their ethics and values in relation to their practice and emphasise the importance of reflecting on the impact of their learning.

Useful resources

Social Work England continuing professional development guidance for social workers 2019

Workload Management for Social Work

BASW Professional Capabilities Framework