The Children and Social Work Bill has received Royal Assent and is now an Act of Parliament. The Act means a series of changes to the social work profession have now become law. These include the creation of a new organisation, Social Work England (SWE), as the profession’s regulator. SWE is expected to take shape by 2018. The Act also required the SWE to obtain the Education Secretary’s approval for professional standards, and new powers for the Education Secretary to set improvement standards for social workers and to introduce assessments for practitioners.
The legislation also requires councils to provide personal advisers to care leavers up to the age of 25; provides for extra support in schools for children in care; ensures children’s long-term needs are prioritised by courts considering adoption or other placement options; strengthens local multi-agency coordination in safeguarding cases; and improves national arrangements for the analysis of serious incidents.
The government scrapped a set of clauses offering councils the opportunity to seek exemptions from social care law, as well as initial plans for the new regulator for social workers to be government-controlled.