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Completing the annual monitoring return 2023

Guidance to help education providers understand what they need to do to comply with our annual monitoring process.

Guidance for completing annual monitoring

Last updated: 19 October 2023

Introduction

It is mandatory for education providers to complete an annual monitoring return every year. A separate return should be completed for each of your courses on our approved course list (including approved exit routes).

This guidance explains:

  • what you need to do to comply with our annual monitoring process
  • how we can support you

It also provides detail on how to complete the return and our data collection requirements.

Please note: You must contact us as soon as possible if anything about the requirements is unclear. If you do not complete the return and provide the necessary information, we could decide to (both of the following):

  • set conditions on approval of the course
  • or withdraw approval of the course

This is in accordance with rules 12,13 and 14 of the education and training rules.

Why we have annual monitoring

Every year, we review approved social work courses. This is to make sure they continue to meet our current education and training standards.

The annual monitoring process enables us to continue to build a picture of the social work profession from education to post qualifying. It supports our strategic ambition to raise the standards of social work education and training provision.

We appreciate your cooperation.

What you need to do

As part of the annual monitoring process, you must complete an annual monitoring online return for each of your approved courses by the deadline set out below.

You should be able to answer the questions on the return using the information which you routinely gather for approved courses. You will not be required to provide any documentary evidence for the returns.

Deadline

You must complete the online form(s) and provide the information we need by 5pm on Monday 22 January 2024.

How to get the return

The education quality assurance team will send you an email that will contain a link for each individual course that a return is required for. This email may be sent to more than one person (this will be based on the information we hold for the education provider).

How to complete the return

Step by step instructions will be included as part of the email sent to you containing the links to your return(s).

The information below provides you with additional guidance about some of the questions we have asked.

When we ask about the number of staff involved in delivering the course, we also want to know about their roles. These can include experts by experience.

Where we refer to ‘registered’ social workers (involved in delivering the course), we mean professionals who (both of the following):

  • hold registration with one of the UK regulators
  • practise in England with a reciprocal agreement

Declaration

The declaration is to confirm that (both of the following):

  • the course meets our education and training standards
  • those who successfully complete the course meet the standards required to apply to join the Social Work England register

By completing the declaration, you agree to report any recent and potential significant changes to course provision to us.

If you need to make changes as a result of completing the annual monitoring form, please follow our course change process. You can also contact your education and quality assurance officer.

Questions about practice educators and placements

As part of annual monitoring last year we asked you questions to understand your placement provision in relation to the 2021 education and training standards. We would like to review your responses to some of these questions again to understand any continued challenges or changes since last year.

Our standards require you to give each student at least 200 days experience (including up to 30 skills days) in a practice setting.

Continuous course approval is reliant upon all students having placements.

To help us to support the sector, we’re keen to understand how placements are being developed and delivered.

Statutory placements

A statutory placement should (both of the following):

  • take place within a statutory local authority setting (or settings delivering delegated statutory functions on behalf of the local authority)
  • require students to carry out tasks that involve high-risk decision making and legal interventions

Statutory placements should involve a sufficient amount of statutory social work tasks on (either of the following):

  • section 17 and section 47 cases (under the Children Act 1989)
  • delivering requirements of the Care Act 2014 and Mental Capacity Act 2005

They should also require students to update case records under appropriate supervision.

We define ‘high-risk decision making’ as decisions which balance care against control and rights against risks. They also involve appropriate knowledge, understanding and application of the law in relation to areas such as (all of the following):

  • mental health sections
  • deprivation of liberty
  • best interests assessments
  • child protection planning
  • court proceedings

By ‘sufficient numbers of statutory social work tasks’, we mean that students must be involved in enough statutory tasks to enable them to experience and understand the realities of high volume, high risk work within a statutory environment.

We do not set a minimum number of statutory tasks. Instead, we will consider this within the overall context of the placements you provide.

You should reference the definitions above when responding to any questions relating to statutory placements.

You can read more about this in our practice placements guidance.

All students must undertake at least one placement which meets this definition of a statutory placement. All placements should help prepare students for the statutory aspects of social work.

Practice educators

Although we do not currently regulate practice educators, their involvement in the delivery of practice placements is critical for student experience and outcomes.

We are interested in the availability of practice educators and models of delivering practice education for social work courses as an aspect of our education and training standards 2.3, 2.6 and 3.2.

Questions and contact details

Please complete your online forms by 5pm on Monday 22 January 2024.

We have a dedicated education and quality assurance team who can assist with any questions.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries.

You can contact us at [email protected].

How to submit the return

Please follow the instructions on the email that is sent to you.

What happens next

Once we have reviewed your annual monitoring return, we will decide whether (one of the following):

  • there is enough evidence to confirm that the course continues to meet our standards
  • you need to provide more evidence (because the evidence you provided suggests that the course may not meet our standards)

We may decide to do an approval visit to consider ongoing approval of the course.

Sometimes we may ask you to voluntarily provide further information related to your response. Any voluntary data you provide will not affect your approval.

We will make it clear in our communication whether the request for more information is required or voluntary.

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