Our role, legislation and rules
Social Work England is a specialist body 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 improve people’s lives.
Our role and legislation
Last updated: 18 September 2023
Every day, social workers support millions of people to improve their chances in life.
Social Work England is a specialist body 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.
Social work is about people. 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.
From the very beginning and moving forward, we’re committed to our regulation being rooted in the values and principles that underpin the social work profession. Central to our work is collaboration and dialogue with anyone with an interest in social work, from co-producing our organisation and formal consultations on big changes to engaging with social workers to understand trends across the country.
You can find out more about our engagement team.
We’ve created standards in partnership with everyone who has an interest in social work. These standards set out the requirements that we expect social workers and social work courses to meet.
These are specialist to the social work profession and reflect the value and diversity of social work practice and the positive impact it has on people’s lives, families and communities.
Our history and legislation
Social Work England is a non-departmental public body, operating at arm’s length from government. We were established by the Children and Social Work Act 2017. Our central focus is public protection. We have, however, been given the tools to achieve this objective in different ways.
Our secondary legislation – the Social Workers Regulations 2018 (as amended) – drew on evidence and recommendations for effective professional regulation from numerous places. This includes reform proposals for healthcare regulation, the Law Commissions’ recommendations on health and social care regulation and the Professional Standards Authority’s (PSA) right-touch reform report.
Schedule of delegations - regulations
You can view our schedule of statutory delegations.
This document sets out all the powers and requirements of the regulator in the Social Workers Regulations 2018, which have been delegated to the Chief Executive by the Board.
Our rules set out what people can expect from us across appointments, registration, education and training, and fitness to practise. They will provide the detail of how we will regulate social workers across England.
They have been developed with thousands of people across the country who have an interest in social work. As a result of this feedback our rules are robust, evidence based, and reflect the views of professionals.