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Reflecting on feedback

In this blog, regional engagement lead Jess discusses how you can gather feedback on your practice, and how to use it for meaningful CPD.

Reflecting on feedback

10/16/2020 3:08:43 PM

In our fourth ‘reflecting on’ blog, designed to help you reflect and think critically about issues that affect social workers today, we consider how feedback can influence your practice. You can use this blog to help you record CPD and meet standard 4.1.

Standard 4.1 says that, “as a social worker, I will incorporate feedback from a range of sources, including from people with lived experience of my social work practice.” Feedback is crucial to social work practice. It’s important to be open to receiving feedback, whether positive or critical. It’s also important for improving self-awareness. Feedback will help you to grow and improve in a way that informs your practice and helps you identify areas for future learning.

You should try to get feedback from a range of sources, such as colleagues, supervisors, and those with lived experience of your social work practice. Feedback can take many different forms, such as a formal or informal discussion, a letter, a review, or a meeting. It can include negative feedback, complaints, or quality assurance audits of your work. Feedback can also be spontaneous, for example a judge commenting on the quality of a report or statement, or a comment from another professional.

We are always receiving feedback from the people we work with – sometimes verbal, and sometimes more subtle, in terms of how people react to us. However, feedback does not always need to be face to face. More honest feedback can sometimes be received when people aren’t directly asked.

To obtain comprehensive feedback, ask open-ended questions, focus on how you can use this to develop your practice, and be willing to accept responses in an open and positive way. For example:

  • What have I done well? Why do you think this?
  • What single area do I need to improve on over the next 6 months? Why do you think it's important for me to focus on this?
  • How can I adapt my approach in the future?


Reflecting on feedback is a key element of recording your CPD. Adapt your approach to develop your practice and regularly review the progress you make to continue your professional development. You can use these prompts to help you reflect on the feedback and record meaningful CPD.

  • Speak with a supervisor about feedback you have received. Are there any learning needs you can identify from the feedback? (Standard 4.1 & 4.2)
  • Reflecting on feedback, think about whether there are any research, theories or frameworks that could support you to try a different approach in the future. (Standard 4.1 & 4.3)
  • Share feedback with a colleague or peer group and discuss it together. How did you respond to it, and how will it affect your practice going forward? (Standard 4.1 & 4.5)
  • Reflecting on feedback, think about how your personal ethics and values might have influenced your practice and, in turn, that person’s experience of social work. (Standard 4.1 & 4.8)

Don’t forget, you meet standards 4.6 and 4.7 automatically by recording CPD.

Remember to anonymise your CPD. If you are talking about a specifi­c person or case, you must leave out or remove any details that could identify someone.

For guidance on using your online account to record CPD, watch our video guide. You can also find resources, such as further information on what counts as CPD, on the CPD section of our website.

We also offer CPD drop-in sessions regionally, to answer any questions you might have about CPD. Please contact the regional engagement lead for your area for dates and times. Visit this page to find out who your regional engagement lead is, and click their name to access their email address.

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