NQSW resource - Outcome statement 12: Professional development
Professional development: Key resources
Take some time now to explore our list of key resources and websites that may be of use in helping you think about professional development and accountability. These have been selected based on the criteria outlined in About this resource.
See also the full List of policy and legislation relevant to all outcome statements (PDF file).
These have been organised into:
- Your local policies, procedures and guidance:
- Council equality scheme
- Code of conduct
- Promoting diversity and equality of opportunity policies
- Dignity at work policy
- Grievance and disciplinary procedures
- Code of practice for social care workers and Code of practice for employers of social care workers (General Social Care Council)
- Continuing Professional Development for the social cafe workforce: the framework (Skills for Care)
- Law and social work: Accountability and intervention (SCIE)
- The critical practitioner in social work and health care (Fraser and Matthews, eds.). See abstract on Social Care Online. Full text available with ATHENS password.
Click on the title to see more information.
Social Care Governance: a workbook based on practice in England (2011)Open
This workbook presents a framework to improve accountability and practice in social work and social care by auditing 11 areas of practice. The book suggests implementation at the team, individual and organisation level in order to bring about improvements.
Assessment in social work: a guide for learning and teaching – organisational issues (Guide, 2007)Open
The National Occupational Standards (NOS) expect social workers to:
- be accountable for their assessments
- work within the risk assessment and risk management procedures of the organisation
- contribute to the management of resources and services
- manage, present and share records and reports
- critically evaluate their own performance in light of knowledge and evidence of cause, need, risk, options, and models and methods of assessment
- use organisational and professional supervision to review the above
- reflect on the implications of needs and demands assessed, the relevance of assessment methods, the suitability of resources to respond and the effectiveness of response
- use the reflections above to contribute to personal, professional and organisational learning.
These expectations and objectives may generally be accepted by social workers but tensions can arise. For instance, working within the risk procedures of the organisation may not always be compatible with the expectation from service users and carers (also stated in the NOS) that social workers should support appropriate risk-taking and be willing to challenge their employing organisation. This example draws attention to the politics of organisational employment of social workers.
Communication across cultural and social differences (e-learning, 2008)Open
Culture, identity and personal beliefs have a profound impact on the content and process of communication. When people from different cultures, backgrounds or belief systems communicate, it is easy for misunderstandings to arise. This resource uses five case studies to provide examples of the kinds of challenges and dilemmas social workers experience as they communicate across social and cultural divides. These e-learning resources will further your understanding of:
- the impact of identity, beliefs and culture on the process of communication
- the importance of sensitivity to issues of culture, identity and belief in communication
- the kinds of dilemmas that arise in communication across cultural and social divides.
Gypsy and travellers (Social Care TV, 2009)Open
This film introduces Henry Chapman, a gypsy who was a service user of ‘Friends, families, and travellers’, a gypsy traveller support group, and is now one of their care workers. Henry works mainly with rural gypsy communities. Henry talks about the problems he faced himself when he was younger and we see how he brings a special empathy and understanding to his work.
Link: Gypsy and travellers
Learning Organisations: Human Resources practices (2004)Open
This section of this resource asks you a series of questions about the practice in your organisation in relation to supervision and development. Use them to reflect on local practice and procedures.
Link: Learning Organisations
Managing practice: Supervision and team leadership - Effective supervision (Guide, 2003)Open
This guide explores the supervision contract and what you can expect from your supervisor.
Professional identity and collaboration (e-learning, 2009)Open
This is one of a series of e-learning resources which explores the nature of interprofessional and inter-agency collaboration (IPIAC) and improving collaborative practice. It considers the implications of similarity and difference between professionals and how to sustain identity and practice constructively within collaborative relationships.
Working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people (Social care TV, 2010) Open
This set of videos explores the experiences of LGBT people who are receiving services. Many LGBT people have experienced discrimination and stigma in their lifetime, and you will hear experiences of people with a range of needs such as those with mental health problems, older people in residential care, and people with physical and learning disabilities.
British Psychological Society audit tool (BPS and SCIE, 2010)Open
This audit tool is designed to evaluate the quality of mental capacity assessments. Its primary audience is those carrying out formal assessments of capacity, such as occupational therapists, applied psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers.
- For the individual practitioner it provides a statement of the expected standard against which to review their own work either on their own or with their clinical supervisor.
- The tool can also be used within teams and/or services as part of both corporate and clinical governance to identify strengths and weaknesses of procedures and implementation.
- For professions involved in capacity assessments it provides a consensus statement of expected standards
Link: BPS audit tool
Changing attitudes, challenging discrimination, improving wellbeing (Time to Change, 2008)Open
Time to Change works in partnership with all sectors and communities to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health. They also work to promote the importance of well-being to everyone.
Developing critical reflection within an interprofessional learning programme, (Karban and Smith, 2006)Open
Reflective practice is accepted as being a key component of professional education and practice in health and social care. However, an emphasis on self-reflection frequently fails to broaden the lens to take into account wider issues of power and inequality. This paper challenges traditional models of reflection through the development of an approach to interprofessional learning.
Developing critically reflective practice (Thompson and Thompson, 2009)Open
At the heart of reflective practice is the idea that our actions should be informed by a knowledge base that we engage with actively, as opposed to forms of practice that are based on unthinking habits or routines or knee-jerk reactions to situations. This article explores reflective practice and the challenges it presents for social workers.
Every day sexuality and social work: locating sexuality in professional practice and education (Dunk, 2007)Open
This paper proposes that knowledge about everyday sexuality is vital to social workers as they deal with a variety of clients faced with the increasing complexities of contemporary society.
Let’s talk about sexuality (Trotter and Hafford-Letchfield, 2006)Open
This article looks at sexuality in social work and suggests that, despite advances in recent years, many difficulties remain. It highlights lack of attention given to addressing heterosexism, homophobia and discrimination in education and practice.
Maintaining standards: promoting equality: professional regulation within nursing, teaching and social work and disabled people's access to these professions: report of a DRC formal investigation (Disability Rights Commission, 2007)Open
The Code of practice for social care workers sets out the standards of professional conduct and practice required of social care workers as they go about their daily work. This includes an individual’s responsibility to inform their employer about any personal difficulties that might affect their ability to do their job competently and safely. This report investigates how professional standards and regulations discriminate against opportunities for people with disabilities to enter the social care profession.
Mental Health Foundation Audit Tool (Mental Health Foundation)Open
This audit tool can be used either to evaluate a specific assessment, or as a reflective learning exercise to aid professional development. Completion of the questionnaire generates an automated response that includes:
- an indication of the effectiveness of the assessment
- suggestions to enhance practice including links to relevant sections of the Code of practice and other available information relevant to capacity assessments
- an option to join an online network of practitioners to share good practice.
Only the lonely..., (Williams, 2008)Open
Social work practitioners often find themselves working with team members from other professions who may doubt their worth. This article discusses some of the challenges facing social workers and highlights the positive experience of one social worker working in palliative care.
Link: Only the lonely...
Professional boundaries in social work: a qualitative study (Parker, 2009)Open
This report presents the findings of a small-scale qualitative study into the professional conduct of social workers. The study explored actual and hypothetical scenarios involving encounters with a social worker, in order to elicit feedback on where users of services feel professional boundaries should lie and why.
Reflection on Practice, Patricia McClure, Making practice based learning work (2005)Open
This resource tool has been devised for practice educators to:
- inform practice educators about the importance of reflective practice
- prepare practice educators for their role as facilitators in learners’ development of reflective practice skills
- identify strategies to help learners reflect during supervision sessions
- provide guidelines for the use of reflective diaries during practice placements.
Should I pray or should I go? (Ahmed, 2009)Open
Professionals who take their religious beliefs into social work practice can end up in a disciplinary hearing. This article discusses whether religion has a place in social work, and whether it is ever appropriate for social workers to express their religious beliefs.
Social work at its best: a statement of social work roles and tasks for the 21st century (General Social Care Council, 2008)Open
This report from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) on the roles and tasks of social work emphasises that social workers do not work in isolation and are increasingly members of teams with other social care and specialist support staff, or working in multi-disciplinary or multi-agency settings like children’s centres and community mental health teams. Social work brings its own distinctive knowledge, skills and values to a team, and other team members benefit from the understanding and insights that social work offers.
Spirituality and equality (Moss and Thompson, 2007)Open
The significance of spirituality has tended to be neglected, but is now experiencing a resurgence of interest and is receiving increasing attention. This paper seeks to combine the two important areas by exploring the interrelationships between spirituality and equality – two vitally important aspects of social work and social policy.
The changing roles and tasks of social work from service users' perspectives: a literature informed discussion paper, (Beresford, 2007)Open
It is only relatively recently that the views of service users have been sought in social work discussion and so they have not been systematically collected or made widely available. This paper is a literature informed report on the views of service users.
What is reflective practice? (Crawshaw, 2008)Open
This is a handout about reflective practice and the competent worker, with a focus on being:
- critically aware of what we are being asked to do (by our agency and by government policy)
- critically aware of the social context within which people live their lives – and how lives are constrained or encouraged by that context
- curious and analytical about the behaviours and actions of the people we are providing a service to
- analytical and ethical about the ways in which we provide services/interventions in order to ensure they are of maximum effectiveness.