SWE open letter in response to EBSWA letter on current policies and practices in social work regarding sex and gender identity.

Social Work England and the UK’s other regulators for professional social workers, has openly responded to the British Association for Social Workers (BASW).

Community Care reported that BASW said black, ethnic minority and disabled social workers (NQSWs) are facing “disproportionate” problems passing their assessed and supported year in employment (ASYE).

The news report said staff from BASW’s advice and representation (A&R) service said that much of their caseload in relation to the ASYE concerns disabled newly qualified social workers or those from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities who have either had their programmes put ‘on hold’ or been told that they are failing.

In its open letter, SWE said:

“The regulatory standards for social workers and educators across the UK support person-centred, rights-based practice and are based on principles of non-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice. They set out clear standards of professional conduct and practice that social workers must meet in their everyday work, ensuring that nothing they do, or do not do, harms the people they support.

“We recognise that over and above these regulatory standards, social workers work with a wide range of legislation, practice standards, and employer policies and procedures. This may include policies and guidance on specific and thematic areas of their work. While we contribute to national policy and guidance in areas relevant to safe social work practice and public protection, we do not as a matter of course, produce this guidance ourselves.

“There is a range of UK-wide and national-level guidance, produced by central government and devolved administrations respectively, aimed at child-centred safeguarding activity. These guidance materials describe the responsibilities and expectations of everyone who works with children, young people and their families. It sets out how agencies should work together with children, young people, parents, families and communities to protect children from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

“In implementing guidance in practice, we expect social workers to uphold their professional standards and codes, and explore ethics, theory, research and practice approaches in the course of their supervision. All UK social work regulators recognise supervision and the respect for an open and respectful learning culture as fundamental to a safe and developmental practice environment. You can find further guidance on each of our websites.

“We note the concern you raise about instances of threats, bullying and intimidation among social workers. We expect all social workers to meet and uphold their professional standards and codes, this includes in workplace settings, online and among peers.”