Digital capabilities for social workers
Health Education England has commissioned the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and our partners the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) to help to improve social workers’ digital skills. This work forms part of the wider Building a Digitally Ready Workforce (BDRW) which was commissioned by NHS England and NHS Digital for the health and care sector.
The primary objective of this project is to help social workers to be confident using digital technology and data to support their increasingly complex role. It will focus on the effective use of data, digital technology and social networks.
Stakeholders’ report published
Social work practice and the needs of people who use services, including carers, should drive the development and use of digital technologies.
Our Stakeholders’ report outlines the key messages and findings for social workers and all those stakeholders, based on the initial phase of this project. The report aims to share insights with the sector, support debate, and inform the development of the projects’ future resources.
Read the Stakeholders’ report (published 14 October 2019)
Call for practice examples
We are continuing to seek examples from social workers, their employers in all sectors, social work educators and user and carer-led organisations to include within the project’s future resources and communications campaign. Examples can be very basic and in development, or more substantial and evaluated.
The Digital capabilities for social workers project covers children’s, families’ and adults social workers in England.
It aims to engage with the social work sector in order to:
- explore how the Health and Care Digital Capabilities Framework translates into social work practice, workforce development, and regulation
- develop a set of digital capabilities specifically for social workers
- identify and influence key stakeholders to include digital capabilities within their work
- raise the profile of the benefits of digital capabilities.
The project is due to run to March 2020. It will produce a set of recommendations for potential next steps.
- A briefing for social workers including a summary of evidence from a rapid literature review, interviews, surveys and workshops.
- A set of digital capabilities for social workers including how these map to existing frameworks such as the Professional Capabilities Framework, Knowledge and Skills Statement, and the developing regulatory framework.
- Ethical guidance on the use of digital technology within social work.
- Piloting approaches to digital champions who can promote and support digital capabilities across social work practice.
- Online/elearning resources to support the project.
- A profile-raising campaign: to increase awareness of this project, and digital capabilities in social work more broadly.
SCIE and BASW are engaging with the sector through the Advisory Group (see Governance), a series of key stakeholder interviews, social workers survey, call for practice examples, two workshops (held in July 2019) and a series of webinars. Register for updates on opportunities to get involved. Details will also be posted on this page.
The project is supported by an Advisory Group, chaired by Dr Denise Turner, Senior Lecturer, Social Work Department, London Metropolitan University and BSc Course Lead. The Group includes Principal Social Workers, educators, policy makers, local authority and voluntary sector employers, people who use social work services and carers, regulators, information specialists and academics.
SCIE is the lead contractor and reports directly to Health Education England and their programme board for this project which consists of Health Education England, NHS Digital, Socitim and Social Work England representatives. In turn, this group also reports to the wider Building a Digital Ready Workforce Programme Board.
Building the Digitally Ready Workforce (BDRW) has integrated social care from its inception. The mission is to help everyone in the health and care sector in England, become comfortable enough with digital tools so that they can contribute to that transformation and deliver the outcomes of their role quicker, easier, safer and at a higher level of quality.
Read the press announcement about the project.