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Navigating the social care landscape

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Confused about the many organizations responsible for improving social work services? Welcome to our guide to the key players in the social care sector in England and the surprising range of organisations who have an influence on social work and social policy developments.

Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) –

ADCS is the national leadership association in England for statutory directors of children’s services and other children’s services professionals in leadership roles. The ADCS Virtual Staff College promotes the professional development and competence of all staff working in the strategic management and operational delivery of education and children’s services in local authorities and their stakeholders. The College works in partnership with other organisations to deliver professional development opportunities, seminars, courses, activities and other tools to meet the needs of public service professionals.

Association of Directors of Adult Services (ADASS) –

ADASS represents all the directors of adult social services in England. It evolved from the former ADSS (Association of Directors of Social Services) when responsibilities for adults and children’s services within top tier local authorities were split between two new departments – one for adults and one for children.

British Association of Social Workers

BASW is the largest association representing social work and social workers in the UK. BASW offers support and advice and publishes The Code of Ethics for Social Work, which sets the professional standard to which all BASW members subscribe.


The Care Services Improvement Partnership supports positive changes in services and in the wellbeing of vulnerable people with health and social care needs. CSIP publishes the most accessible, comprehensive and free eBook on Commissioning. 

Children’s Workforce Development Council –

CWDC exists to improve the lives of children, young people, their families and carers by ensuring that all people working with them have the best possible training, qualifications, support and advice. It also helps children and young people’s organizations and services to work together better so that the child is at the centre of all services.

Children’s Workforce Network(CWN)

CWN is a strategic body, bringing together the relevant Sector Skills Councils and other partners. It is an Alliance committed to creating and supporting a world-class children’s workforce in England.

Members of the Children’s Workforce Network

Children’s Workforce Development Council –

Cultural and Creative Industries Skills •

General Social Care Council –

General Teaching Council for England –

Improvement & Development Agency –

Lifelong Learning UK –

National College for School Leadership –

Nursing and Midwifery Council –

Skills for Health –

Skills for Justice –

SkillsActive –

Training & Development Agency for Schools –

Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) –

CSCI inspects and reports on care services and councils to improve social care and stamp out bad practice. An invaluable resource if you need to check out a care home or care agency.

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform  –

BERR works to create the conditions for business success and help the UK respond to the challenges and ensure business success in an increasingly competitive world.

Department for Children, Schools and Families –

DCSF aims to make England the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up.

Department of Health –

DH provides health and social care policy, guidance andG

Guidestar UK –

A free and comprehensive website providing a source of high quality information on more than 167000 UK registered charities

Improvement & Development Agency –

The IDeA works for and leads local government improvement to enable councils to better serve the community. Councils are supported and challenged and good practice is disseminated. The IDeA also promotes the development of local government’s management and workforce. The IDeA is owned by the Local Government Association

International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) –

IFSW is a global organisation striving for social justice, human rights and social development through the development of social work, best practices and international cooperation between social workers and their professional organisations.

Joint University Council for Social Work Education Committee (JUCSWEC) –

JUCSWEC is a representative body of UK Universities involved in delivering social work education and provides an important forum for profile raising, information sharing, advocacy and strategic planning for social work practice and education. It has made significant contributions to the review of social work in England (Options for Excellence) and Scotland (21st Century Review). The current chair is Michael Preston-Shoot (University of Bedfordshire). JUCSWC have published a Code of Ethics for Social Work and Social Care Research.

Learning and Skills Council (LSC)-

The Learning and Skills Council have a single goal: to improve the skills of England’s young people and adults to ensure a workforce of world-class standard. The LSC is committed to improvement of the further education and training sector to raise standards and to make learning provision more responsive to the needs of individuals and employers. Information is provided about financial support for learners and LSC publish a useful jargon buster

Learn To Care

Learn to Care represents people engaged in the management and implementation of workforce development in the personal social services.

Making Research Count –

Making Research Count is a national collaborative research dissemination initiative, established by a consortium of nine Universities and developed by regional centres. These university based regional centres have formed collaborative partnerships with member agencies, to promote and develop knowledge-based practice and improve services in social work, social care and its interface with health and education. Each regional centre has established a unique approach to knowledge based practice based on the needs of local partnerships. The network has brought together the Universities of Bedfordshire, Brighton, Central Lancashire, East Anglia, Keele, King’s College London, Salford, York, the Open University and their social care and health agency partners. 

New Philanthropy Capital (NPC)

NPC was set up by a group of City financiers to provide independent advice on charity giving for wealthy individuals and foundations. The founders believe that providing donors with information on the results achieved by charities — and helping charities themselves to get better at focusing on how they change lives — could help to create change. They share a desire to make a positive difference: whether that is through understanding the root causes of societal problems, discovering excellent charities and helping them get the funds they deserve, or helping donors maximise the impact of their donations. NPC have developed criteria for assessing highly effective charities, find out which charities have met this standard so far.     

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) –

Oftsted inspects and regulates to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. The new Ofsted brings together the wide experience of four inspectorates to make a greater difference for every child, and for all young people and adult learners, in England. Ofsted inspect an extensive range of services including: child minders and nurseries, early education, children’s social care, adoption and fostering, Cafcass, schools, teacher training providers, training providers for international students and education ansd training providers funded by DCFS and other government departments.

Research in Practice –

Research in practice supports evidence-informed practice (EIP) with children and families and is the largest children and families research implementation project in England and Wales. Established in 1996 it is a department of The Dartington Hall Trust, it is run in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, the University of Sheffield and a network of over 100 participating agencies in the UK.

Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)  –

For more than 200 years, the RSA has been a cradle of enlightenment thinking and a force for social progress. Their approach is multi-disciplinary, politically independent and combines cutting edge research and policy development with practical action. The tradition lives on in the free events programme which provides a rich and diverse platform for leading public thinkers. 

Skills for Care –

Skills for Care are the Sector Skills Council who work in consultation with employers, education and training providers, service users and carers, Skills for Care aims to modernise adult social care in England, by ensuring qualifications and standards continually adapt to meet the changing needs of people who use care services.

Skills for Care and Development (SfC&D) –

The Sector Skills Council for social care, children and young people’s workforces in the UK. It is an Alliance of 5 organisations: Care Council for Wales, Children’s Workforce Development Council, Northern Ireland Social Care Council, Scottish Social Services Council, and Skills for Care. SfC&D is licensed by government to represent the interests of some 60,000 employers and 1.6 million workers across the UK. These staff are employed by a range of organisations – both public authorities and independent organisations, often commissioned by the public sector to deliver social care services but sometimes acting directly for people who receive the services.The Alliance works closely with service users and carers, education and training providers, national stakeholders and the health sector to develop an appropriately skilled and qualified workforce to meet the UK’s current and future social care needs.

Skills for Health –

Skills for Health are the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for the UK health sector. They cover the whole sector and aim to develop solutions that deliver a skilled and flexible UK workforce in order to improve health and healthcare.

Social Care Institute for Excellence –

SCIE aims to improve the experience of people who use social care by developing and promoting knowledge about good practice in the sector. Using knowledge gathered from diverse sources and a broad range of people and organizations, SCIE has developed an extensive resource bank which is shared freely, supporting those working in social care and empowering service users. Check out the audit tools available at the People Management website.   

Social Enterprise Coalition –

The UK portal for social enterprise information and resources. Social enterprises are profit-making businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need. The social enterprise movement is inclusive and extremely diverse, encompassing organisations such as development trusts, community enterprises, co-operatives, housing associations, ‘social firms’ and leisure trusts, among others. These businesses are operating across an incredibly wide range of industries and sectors from health and social care, to renewable energy, recycling and fair trade.

Social Policy and Social Work (SWAP) –

SWAP is the UK subject centre for social policy and social work, one of the Higher Education Academy’s 24 discipline based centres. SWAP aims to enhance the student learning experience by promoting high quality learning, teaching and assessment. SWAP has a lot of useful resources to download including publications, teaching resources, digital learning and themed resources.

Social Workers Educational Trust (SWET)

Established by BASW in 1972 the Social Workers’ Educational Trust supports qualified social workers to develop their knowledge, skills and practice. Research is encouraged into social work practice and education. SWET provides small grants to individuals undertaking post-qualifying studies and more substantial research scholarships are awarded annually through open competition

Check out our jargon buster if you are still puzzling about the differences between a sector skills council and a regulator. The Big Question –  has the separation of adult and children’s services, the development of new Trust arrangements and the division of responsibilities for social care regulation and workforce development contributed to the vision for “joined up” services across the care sector?

Post a Comment below or Contact Us to suggest other useful organisations for the resource bank.

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