Social Work England was established under The Children and Social Work Act 2017 (the Act) to be the new single-profession regulator for social workers in England. We operate as a non-departmental public body.

We are taking a new approach to regulating social workers in their vital roles. We believe in the power of collaboration and share a common goal with those we regulate—to protect the public, enable positive change and ultimately improve people’s lives.

Our purpose is to regulate social workers in England so that people receive the best possible support whenever they might need it in life. We are committed to raising standards through collaboration with everyone involved in social work.

Our values shape and steer how we work. We’re proud of our values and what they mean to us:

• Fearless: Influence and drive change where needed.

• Independent: Carry out our work without undue influence from anyone.

• Ambitious: Have high aspirations for the social work profession, for regulation and for ourselves.

• Integrity: Work with integrity in every aspect of our business.

• Collaborative: Work with experts in the social work profession.

• Transparent: Be honest and open about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Seek and act on feedback.

Last year was a significant year of transition for Social Work England. We moved from startup to business as usual, bringing stability to our regulatory functions. Looking ahead, we will further develop trust and confidence in the social work profession, and in regulation, by strengthening our relationship with the sector. We look forward to the important role we have to play in supporting the implementation of the national children’s social care strategy: ‘Stable Homes, Built on Love’;this will be key to our delivery in 2023/24, as will our approach towards working with the sector on children and adult services reform. 

Our strategy

We are now moving into our next strategy period, with 3 strategic themes:

• Prevention and impact: building trust and confidence within a safer practice environment.

• Regulation and protection: being transparent, efficient, responsive and fair in how we regulate.

• Delivery and improvement: putting our people at the heart of the positive change we want to drive.

In our first 3 years we laid strong foundations. Now, we’re ready to drive more change for the benefit of all who need social work in their lives.

Dr Andrew McCulloch Chair

Colum Conway Chief Executive

Why Social Work England is supporting Boardroom Apprentice

The guiding principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are core to our new strategy and these principles are championed by our chair and with our board. Our board’s hosting of a boardroom apprentice in Year 1 is testament to its commitment to supporting diversity in public appointments and to developing a talent pipeline to achieve this. We want to build on this by hosting a Year 2 boardroom apprentice. We can offer a stimulating and supportive learning environment for a boardroom apprentice:

Our board has a positive attitude to learning and development

Positive working relationships have been established between non executive directors and our executive leadership team and the wider organisation. The chair of the board, committee chairs and non executive directors are open and willing to provide support to a boardroom apprentice. Building on what we provided for our Year 1 boardroom apprentice, we can offer a comprehensive induction involving introductory meetings with our executive leadership team and assistant directors. We can also provide a diversity of corporate governance experience through our policy, audit, risk and assurance committee and main board meetings. We will provide a non executive director as a supportive ‘buddy’. We aim for the learning exchange to be mutually beneficial, so that our host board can share their experience, but also gain insight and knowledge from our boardroom apprentice and the wider learning opportunities that the programme has to offer. 

Our governance arrangements will be renewed

Lord Patel of Bradford OBE recently stepped down as chair of our board. Dr Andrew McCulloch stepped up as interim chair on 1 March 2023 to serve in this role until a substantive chair is in place. Recruitment for the new Chair will take place through the rest of 2023 to be in post by March 2024. We will also see 2 new board members appointed by the Secretary of State for Education this year.

We have a new strategy

In steering forward our new strategy, our board is keen to be more visible and to build on its stakeholder engagement, through our Regional Engagement Leads and our National Advisory Forum, and through wider opportunities, Hosting a boardroom apprentice for a second year will add value and fresh insight towards this approach. 

We are focused on delivery and improvement

In accordance with high standards of corporate governance good practice, our board conducted an annual self-appraisal of its performance. The findings from this exercise are informing the board’s strategy and training plan for 2023 to 2024. Areas identified for further development include a review of the board induction process and increasing visibility of the board with staff and key stakeholders.

We listen, engage and co produce with those directly influenced by our work

Our board and its committees have agreed to provide this opportunity for a Boardroom Apprentice to support the development of the talent pool for prospective boardroom candidates. We believe we can offer a welcoming and supportive Host Board environment and we are eager for the new insight and learning this opportunity would open up for our Board members, leadership team and management.

Location of Board and Committee Meetings

Our meetings are hybrid. We host meetings for in person and/or virtual attendance by Board and Committee members. The location for these is in Sheffield, where our offices are based. Virtual attendance is enabled through Teams meetings video conferencing.

Frequency and timing of board/committee meetings

Board meetings are held quarterly, They have been Friday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30pm, but are likely to shift to Thursday mornings.

Audit, Risk and Committee meetings are held quarterly, Friday mornings 9.15am to 12.30pm. Likely to shift to Thursdays.

Policy Committee meetings are held quarterly, Tuesdays 10am to12pm or 1pm to 3pm. Likely to shift to Thursdays.

Date of Board Meetings (January 2024 – December 2024)

The dates for 2024 are drafted for the board’s review in July 2023, as follows: Thursday 16 May 2024 Thursday 25 July 2024 Thursday 24 October 2024

Committee of the Boards and meeting dates (January 2024 – December 2024)

Audit, Risk and Assurance Meeting:

Thursday 2 May 2024

Thursday 27 June 2024

Thursday 10 October 2024

Policy Committee Meetings:

Thursday 6 June 2024

Thursday 19 September 2024

Thursday 5 December 2024