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Social Work Education and Training Advisory Forum terms of reference

These are the terms of reference for our new forum launching in Spring 2023.

Social Work Education and Training Advisory Forum terms of reference

Published: 8 February 2023



The purpose of the Social Work Education and Training Advisory Forum is to independently provide (all of the following):

  • an opportunity for social work education stakeholders to meet, share, discuss and act as a critical friend to Social Work England. This will be with a focus on social work education, as set out in our approach to social work education and training
  • views from relevant stakeholder groups. We will use these views to enhance and finalise the knowledge, skills, and behaviours for readiness for professional practice. These are based on the findings from the consultation response on readiness for professional practice
  • views about how pre-registration education and training providers should implement the readiness for professional practice guidance


  • act as a critical friend, providing robust feedback and guidance on specific areas of development and engagement
  • contribute individual and organisational expertise (and the perspective of key stakeholders) to highlight when we may need additional external input
  • work collaboratively to develop and progress specific work strands and sub-groups
  • liaise with other Social Work England advisory groups as needed
  • make recommendations to the senior and executive leadership teams. This includes advising on how our work impacts the education sector, and any unforeseen regulatory risk
  • contribute to the development and establishment of the readiness for professional practice implementation framework. This includes co-designing its design and review
  • contribute to the transition planning for education and training providers. This means supporting them to adopt the knowledge, skills and behaviours within the readiness for professional practice framework as part of their pre-registration programmes
  • cascade and share relevant information as is appropriate, to the social work education and training and education sector


  • we will establish the membership of the forum through an expressions of interest (EOI) exercise. This is in line with our statement of intent on equality, diversity and inclusion
  • the associate for education and training (as appointed by Social Work England) will chair the forum
  • the forum will appoint a co-chair from the membership
  • membership will be by expression of interest across those with an interest in social work education and training (including key partner organisations)
  • we plan that members will attend to represent their organisational viewpoints (or the views of its membership)
  • members will ensure that they engage with diverse network, reflective of the diversity within the social work sector
  • members may send a deputy to attend in their absence from their organisation or group. However, they need to discuss this with the chair in advance
  • we may ask members to join sub-groups, to assist the forum feeding back to Social Work England
  • we will provide administrative support to organise forum meetings, minute-taking, and the sharing of minutes and agendas
  • all members will take collective ownership of the forum, its purpose and aims. They will also actively participate in the forum and take ownership of agenda items, presentations, and actions
  • membership of the forum lasts for 2 years. We can extend membership. Or, members can re-apply when we issue a further opportunity to express interest
  • matters of the forum are confidential to the forum and Social Work England. Matters relating to external messaging need to be agreed by our executive leadership team and communications team
  • members must declare conflicts of interest
  • where the forum cannot reach an agreement, we will refer the issue to the executive leadership team for direction and decision-making

Reporting lines and management arrangements

  • the forum chair will report to the assistant director for policy and strategy. They will report on discussions and any actions or progress on a monthly basis (and more regularly as required)
  • the forum chair will feedback to relevant departments and directorates. They will also table agenda items for the forum as appropriate
  • the forum will work closely with the National Advisory Forum, utilising their lived and learned experience of social work
  • we expect the members of the forum to consult more widely with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds within their given focus. They should then report back within the forum meetings


  • the forum will hold meetings monthly. They may meet more frequently if necessary
  • they will hold meetings online and face-to-face at Social Work England offices
  • we will set the dates for meetings in advance. We will only adjust these based on a business need. The chair or co-chair will set extra meetings as required


  • we will fund those attending as representatives with lived and learned experience (where this is not already funded)
  • internal stakeholders will attend forum meetings if their line manager agrees to this. Their attendance will depend on whether the forum needs of their service
  • forum meetings will ordinarily be held online, but face to face meetings may be required
  • we will take minutes at each meeting. We will distribute these to membership (and the senior and executive leadership teams) as work in confidence

Further information

We may amend or modify these terms of reference in writing. We will do this after consulting with the forum and seeking agreement from the senior and executive leadership teams. As a minimum, these terms of reference will be reviewed every 12 months.

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