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Social workers under the spotlight: An analysis of fitness to practise referrals to the regulatory body in England, 2014-16

Banks, Sarah, Zasada, Magdalena, Jago, Robert, Gallagher, Ann, Austin, Zubin and van der Gaag, Anna (2019) Social workers under the spotlight: An analysis of fitness to practise referrals to the regulatory body in England, 2014-16 The British Journal of Social Work.

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This article examines the nature of, and reasons for, the disproportionately high rates of fitness to practice referrals of social workers in England to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), compared with other professions regulated by HCPC during 2014-16. In 2014-15, the rate of referrals for social workers was 1.42% of registrants, compared with an average for the 16 professions regulated by HCPC of 0.66%. Drawing on published statistics and unique analysis of a sample of 232 case files undertaken as part of a research project in 2016-17, the article highlights relatively high rates of inappropriate referrals from ‘members of the public’ (mainly service users) particularly in relation to child placements and contact. A detailed picture is offered of the variety of referrals dealt with at each stage of the fitness to practice process (from initial triage to final hearings), with recommendations for how to prevent inappropriate referrals, whilst focusing concern on the most serious cases of incompetence and misconduct. This research is of significance at a time of increasing pressure for social workers, social services and service users under conditions of austerity and managerialism; on-going concerns about standards in social work; and recent changes in social work regulation.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Authors :
Banks, Sarah
Jago, Robert
Austin, Zubin
van der Gaag, Anna
Date : 20 December 2019
Funders : HCPC
OA Location :
Copyright Disclaimer : # The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords : fitness to practise, Health and Care Professions Council, professional regulation, social workers
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 06 Feb 2020 11:25
Last Modified : 06 Feb 2020 11:25

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