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Professional standards guidance

Guidance on the standards

This document provides guidance on Social Work England’s professional standards.

The professional standards are the threshold standards necessary for safe and effective practice. They set out what a social worker in England must know, understand and be able to do after completing their social work education or training.

Social workers must continue to meet the professional standards to maintain their registration. The standards apply to all registered social workers in all roles and in all settings.

The guidance is intended to support social workers to understand the standards and to uphold them in their practice.

The professional standards are mapped against key areas of guidance to provide greater detail around common themes. The guidance provides further explanation of the professional standards. This guidance makes clear to the public, to people with lived experience of social work, to employers of social workers, to educators and to other professionals what can be expected of social workers when working with people.

View or download professional standards guidance


Last updated: 9 April 2020 

Version history

Changes made to ‘health and quality of work’ section to provide greater clarity around a social worker’s health.

Changes made to duty of candour guidance within the ‘professional integrity’ section and ‘reporting concerns’ section to provide greater clarity around convictions.