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Understanding the social work sector together

Ahmina, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Social Work England, outlines why we’re asking social workers to share their diversity data in their online account.

Understanding the social work sector together

2/28/2022 3:00:00 PM

Ahmina Akhtar, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Social Work England, outlines why we’re asking social workers to share their diversity data in their online account.

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What are you asking people to share?

We are asking social workers to record their diversity data, for example, around ethnicity and disability, to help us to build a clearer understanding of the make-up of the register. We can only make decisions and accurately reflect the social work profession based on the data we hold. As the regulator, we are in a position to gather this data and share themes with everyone who has an interest in social work. In doing so we will ensure that our policies and processes are fair and equal for all and enable others to do the same.

Why are you asking for this information?

This has been something that we know is needed for the sector, and the sector are asking us for it too! For a long time, we’ve missed the absence of robust data and evidence around the make-up of social work as a whole profession. We know anecdotally what the issues are, it’s being able to report and analyse from a clear evidence base that is now important. This will also better enable us to ensure our policies and processes are fair for everyone regardless of their background.

Why is it so important?

We know that more needs to be done to properly address issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion. To do this effectively we need to understand the size and shape of the challenge and one of our aims as the regulator is to work in partnership with social workers and organisations to gather this vital data. Our register of nearly 100,000 social workers is a significant potential source of evidence. This data will also mean that we can analyse, understand and, if necessary, revise rules, systems, and policies to identify any trends or differences in outcomes for people with protected characteristics.

How will my data be stored?

Your data will be stored within your online account.

We are sensitive to the fact that some people would rather not share their diversity data either because they fear the information will be misused, or because they consider some of the questions to be highly personal. Your decision as to whether you provide any diversity information will not affect your application to join the register or when renewing your registration, equally it will not affect the outcome of any fitness to practise concerns, complaints, or proceedings. It will not be accessible to Social Work England employees while dealing with these issues. It will only be accessible to employees involved in data analysis, interpretation and reporting, and our IT team for operational purposes. Further details about how we handle your data can be found in the privacy notice.

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