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Home > Media and Events > Press room > Archived press releases

HCPC publishes review of social work education in England

21/01/2016 - 13:56


The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) has published a review on our work in qualifying social work education in England in the period from 1 August 2012 to 31 August 2015.

The report reviews the work undertaken to approve social work education programmes in England following the transfer of regulatory functions from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to the HCPC in 2012. Programmes were required to meet our existing Standards of education and training (SETs), and professional standards for social workers, in order to be approved. These standards are outcome focused to ensure that qualifying programmes produce safe and effective social workers.

As well as reflecting on our approval and monitoring processes, the report considers how wider changes in the sector have been supported and facilitated by our SETs. These changes include the introduction of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF); different qualification types and modes of study; and the availability and quality of practice placements. 

The report also highlights some of the anticipated issues following the transfer of regulatory functions in 2012 and how these were managed. This includes how education providers engaged with the HCPC’s Standards of education and training; the range and availability of practice placements; and student fitness to practise and the Social Work Student (England) Suitability Scheme.

Jamie Hunt, Education Manager at the HCPC, said:

“Social work programmes in England adapted well to our regulatory model and this is reflected within the findings of our review. We are confident that our robust quality assurance process - which is right-touch and evidence-based - ensures the programmes are producing good quality social workers who are fit to practise.

“All social work programmes have now successfully completed the approval process with the majority having to make changes before approval was given. This approval will remain subject to on-going monitoring moving forward. Education providers will need to consider how any changes to their programmes impact how they meet our standards and engage with us appropriately.

“We are extremely grateful to all of our stakeholders who have contributed to our processes over the past three years. This includes the engagement from education providers, and Visitors who have carried out approval visits, many of whom are members of the social work profession.” 

To download the review of social work education in England visit
An audio commentary which highlights the report’s key findings and discusses specific issues affecting social work education in England, is available to download at

For more information about the HCPC’s Education processes visit


For further press information please contact Rebekah Tailor or Grant Imlach in HCPC’s press office on 020 7840 9806 or email

Notes to editors

1. To read the Review of social work education in England, and its engagement with the HCPC approval process from 2012 to 2015 visit

2. The HCPC became the statutory regulator for social workers in England on 1 August 2012 after the General Social Care Council (GSCC) was abolished following a government review. Part of this regulatory function includes approving and monitoring qualifying social work programmes in England.

3. The Health and Care Professions Council is an independent regulator set up by the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001. The HCPC keeps a register for 16 different health and care professions and only registers people who meet the standards it sets for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. The HCPC will take action against professionals who do not meet these standards or who use a protected title illegally.

4. The HCPC currently regulates the following 16 professions. Each of these professions has one or more ‘protected titles’. Anyone who uses one of these titles must register with the HCPC. To see the full list of protected titles please see

Arts therapists
Biomedical scientists
Chiropodists / podiatrists
Clinical scientists
Hearing aid dispensers
Occupational therapists
Operating department practitioners
Practitioner psychologists
Prosthetists / orthotists
Social workers in England
Speech and language therapists

5. The HCPC regulates social workers in England. Social workers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are separately regulated by the relevant Care Council in that country.

6. To contact us via social media, use the Twitter handle @The_HCPC or search The Health and Care Professions Council on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Rebekah Tailor
(0)20 7840 9806

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