21/10/2003

Social worker title safeguarded

Plans to safeguard the title of social worker will help to raise the status of the profession and protect the public from bogus claims.

The government said today it wants to make it an offence in England and Wales for anyone to use the title social worker unless they are qualified to do so and are registered with the General Social Care Council in England or the Social Care Councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As well as raising the status of social work, the legislation will help to safeguard the public from bogus social workers by ensuring that they only have access to professionals who are qualified and competent.

Health Minister Stephen Ladyman said: "The vital role that social workers play in supporting the most vulnerable in our society cannot be overvalued. For too long, hard working, dedicated social workers have not been afforded the professional recognition they deserve.”

He said the ‘protection of title’ legislation will put social workers on a par with other professionals in the health and social care field - recognised as having achieved a high level of training and bound by national codes of practice.

Children’s Minister Margaret Hodge said better protection for users is especially important for children's services.

“Once this measure is brought in, those using the services - children, parents and local authorities - will be confident in the knowledge that whey they are referred to, or require, a social worker, then that person will be qualified and registered with a dedicated regulatory authority," she said.

A consultation on the proposals will run from 3 November 2003 to 23 January 2004, and sets out a timetable for implementation by 1 April 2005.

(MB)

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