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How we make decisions

We make our decisions based on a scheme of delegation which enables us to carry out our functions effectively.


Last updated: 28 November 2019

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 sets out Social Work England’s overall duties and powers.

We make our decisions based on a ‘Scheme of Delegation’.  This enables us to carry out our functions effectively by setting out the relationship between the board, the chief executive and the executive leadership team and how the authority is delegated appropriately to make decisions.

The board exercises its powers corporately. This means that no individual member of the board may take executive action as a board member (the chief executive is an executive member of the board but as a board member is also bound by its corporate responsibility).

The board is required by the Cabinet Office Corporate Governance Code of Good Practice to establish two sub-committees, the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ARAC) and the Remuneration Committee (REMCO). 

The board can agree to delegate powers to these committees to carry out some of its responsibilities and to make recommendations to the board, for example, how the management of risk is assured across the organisation.

The board may also appoint other committees and sub-committees as it thinks fit and it can delegate all other matters that are not specifically the responsibility of the board, to the chief executive. 

The chief executive is responsible for the day to day management of Social Work England and is empowered by the board to exercise any of its functions, which are not expressly reserved to the board or one of its sub-committees.

The board may ask the chief executive to nominate executive directors to undertake other responsibilities, recording their responsibilities in job descriptions or task-based terms of engagement, and including any limits to their powers within the Scheme of Delegation.

High level principles of delegation

The board, the chief executive and the executive directors adhere to the principles of delegation that are outlined as follows:

  • powers are delegated by the board on the understanding that the chief executive or executive director to whom powers are delegated exercise those powers in the way intended and do not use their powers in a way which might be a cause for public concern, or which might have an adverse impact on the reputation of the organisation
  • authority to take decisions should be aligned with the skills and knowledge needed to make relevant judgements - by ensuring that decisions and actions are taken by the people with appropriate skills and knowledge
  • all decisions taken under delegated authority should be recorded and should be open to audit – this will ensure that there is an audit trail of key decisions which is available for review
  • the board and the chief executive will remain accountable for the outcome of the decision or work delegated - they should ensure they are kept informed about decisions, which are taken under delegated authority and that any risks arising from the delegation are managed
  • any functions which the board and the chief executive have delegated can be reassumed by them, if they decide to do so

The terms of reference define the purpose and governance structures of the Social Work England Board and its two sub-committees – the Audit and Risk Committee and the Remuneration Committee.

View and download the terms of reference

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