General Social Care Council
What is the General Social Care Council? How does it relate to social work Continuing Professional Development?
For many years, UK social workers who had been working in the field of social care, health, education, private and voluntary organisations in England and Wales went about their business learning and gathering experiences as they went. For those who were able to access quite good training on social work practices this led to ad hoc continuing professionals development (CPD) without much help or hindrance from outside bodies. Some of social workers went on courses which we paid for by ourselves and even changed careers following undertaking related and interesting training such as psychotherapy and other therapeutic courses. They undertook them for several years whilst still doing their day job as social workers on the front line or in other related areas where people were vulnerable.
During this time other professionals had regulated bodies in their fields which would ensure that CPD was at the forefront of the professional development of their communities and that their growth and learning was enhanced and rewarded and recognised. Those professionals such as Nurses, and Lawyers also had a very clear professional body which would represent their interests in the community at large including Parliament and during adverse media attention. Unfortunately for social workers they had not been able in all the years that their profession had existed, managed to seek agreement that they were in fact recognised professionals with unique skills which required protecting and enhancing. In fact during the most terrible and abhorrent crimes against children and in some instances vulnerable adults, which have been splattered across the UK media it is the social workers who have been blamed as the instigators of the bad practice which lead to tragedi when other professionals have been involved including Doctors, Police and other resonisible workers.
On its website the General Social Care Council (GSCC) informs us that what it does is “….protect the public by maintaining a compulsory register of social workers and enforcing a code of practice, which sets out the standards required of social workers.” Social workers pay a yearly fee to be maintained on this register and we also have to show that we have undertaken continuing professional development as part of the criteria for being on the GSCC register.
The aim is to ensure that there is a statutory and regulatory body that also enhances the professionalism of social work as well as protecting those most at need that require services and interventions from highly qualified workers.
The future of the General Social Care Council is not certain as there are always changes to such emotive bodies, and with each change in UK Government this will impact on ideas of how to best operate public sector organisations and provision. However social work training is closely linked to the need to develop workers and enhance the lives of vulnerable people and the codes and values which this current body provides has helped social work in the UK obtain a level playing field with counterparts in other professions who have had regulations for years.