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Developing the health and social care workforce

BU: shaping the past, present and future of social work in the UK

With around 40,000 registered social workers employed in the UK, it seems almost impossible that more than half of them would have undertaken training from one university – but that’s exactly what BU has achieved.

The National Centre has a proven track record in delivering high quality CPD programmes to qualified health and social professionals

The National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work and Professional Practice (NCPQSWPP) at BU has developed an exceptional reputation over the last 19 years by delivering trusted education, research and consultancy with NHS Trusts, local authorities and other major employers in England, including the British Forces Social Work Service.

To have been responsible for the training of so many social workers is only one part of the extensive contribution that the centre makes to enhancing the lives of the most vulnerable people in England.

The flexibility and range of the centre’s continuing professional development (CPD) programmes, alongside the ability to respond quickly to employer needs and policy requirements, has led to the centre working with over half of the local authorities in England. As a result, it has had a profound influence on a large proportion of social workers as they develop their careers. If you’re a social worker, it’s highly likely that either you were trained by BU or one of your colleagues was.

View Professor Fenge's staff profile

Professor Lee-Ann Fenge

Research Lead of the Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work

National Centre for Post Qualifying Social Work

There is no other university in the UK that has had comparable impact on the social work profession and this is why the former General Social Care Council (GSCC) recommended our designation as the National Centre in 2010.

New partnerships and opportunities

The centre’s expertise in the areas of Adult Safeguarding, Mental Health and Mental Capacity Act practice has led to new partnerships and further research opportunities. It is the leading provider of specialist CPD awards in the qualifications of AMHP and BIA, providing 25% and 30% of the national education respectively. This work has been enhanced by the development of the national competence frameworks in Safeguarding Adults and Mental Capacity Act practice, which are used widely throughout the health and social sector.

In a further demonstration of how the National Centre is at the very heart of developments in the sector, it has produced all the research and national guidance for Learn to Care (the professional association for workforce development managers in social work/care) for the last 15 years. This includes producing over 20 key national documents that were issued to every local authority in the UK by the association and having a considerable impact on the delivery of social work/care services in the UK.

Professor Keith Brown talks about his work as Director of the National Centre for Post-Qualifying Social Work, including how the National Centre has been working to prevent a range of scams across the UK

Financial scamming and fraud work

The National Centre is committed to creating knowledge that improves the lives of vulnerable citizens and believes that this is best achieved by influencing decisions at policy level, rather than dealing with the after-effects. For example, its research into financial scamming has helped to develop multiple academic, research, campaigning, professional development and awareness-raising activities.

This work has influenced the latest policy on cold calling and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and NCPQSWPP recently produced the All Party Parliamentary Group report (Financial Scamming and Fraud), launched in the Houses of Parliament and disseminated to every MP.

Professor Lee-Ann Fenge of the NCPQSWPP talks about her inaugural lecture, one social worker’s journey

Key textbook

The centre has also produced a key text book Safeguarding Adults: Scamming and Mental Capacity – that was issued to every Trading Standards team and the Chair of each Adult Safeguarding board as national guidance by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI). In recognition of the scale of the impact of this work, CTSI awarded the centre the first ever Institutional Hero Award in 2017.

To reach as wide an audience as possible, the centre’s publications are made freely available on the website to everyone ­- professionals, students and the general public alike. A notable example of this is the Mental Capacity Act Framework, which has been downloaded over 20,000 times.

That’s the commitment that underpins everything the NCPQSWPP does. The best way to help the most vulnerable people in our society is by ensuring that social workers and social work policy are fit for purpose. Playing a role in making that happen is a source of great pride to everyone at the centre as they look to continue their work in the future.

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