NQSW resource - Outcome statement 12: Professional development and accountability

In this section:

Professional development and accountability: Introduction

Improve practice and be accountable for the quality of your work.

Professional development

Continuing professional development (CPD) includes any activity which increases knowledge, experience and understanding, improves performance and contributes to lifelong learning. As a NQSW, CPD is the best way to ensure personal satisfaction in your work and improved outcomes for those who use services.

Professional development: Key practice points

  • Be professional and accountable in all your work.
  • Keep your practice up to date and informed by developments in legislation, local and national guidance and research.
  • Maintain high standards to protect yourself, your colleagues and the people with whom you work.
  • Comply with the General Social Care Council (GSCC) Code of practice for social care workers and Code of practice for employers of social care workers.
  • Use supervision and reflection to improve and develop your practice.
  • Consider your training needs.


As a social worker you will have criteria to guide your practice. Be clear about what standards of conduct you are expected to meet by using the Codes of practice and find out your organisation’s strategy on social care governance.

Accountability: Key practice points

  • You should be familiar with national policy about implementing a personalised approach to provision.
  • You are accountable for your own behaviour, professional judgement and practice. SCIE's e-learning resource on Law and social work: accountability and intervention gives you an opportunity to work through a case study and apply it to different parts of practice
  • You are accountable to those with whom you work.
  • Personalisation requires you to take account of the views of the people with whom you work. These may conflict with your judgement.
  • You need to critically analyse these situations, and where conflict cannot be resolved, ensure people are aware of their rights to complaint and review.


We hope you will find this material helpful in your first year as a social worker. However, we recognise that this will not provide you with all the answers. You will need to discuss your practice with your supervisor, raise any ethical dilemmas and be reflective in your work. Use the Portfolio (Word file) document to record your reflection on this outcome statement.