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Regulation of social work education and training

Information about how we regulate and set standards for social work education and training in Wales.

Why we regulate

The Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 allows us to approve qualifications in social work. This process allows us to make sure social work qualifications across Wales are consistent, high quality and meet the needs of the people of Wales.

We do this by setting standards for social work training at qualifying and post-qualifying levels – these are set out in the rules below. We approve programmes against the rules and continue to quality assure them to make sure the standards are maintained.

The information gained from our regulatory work provides valuable information about social work education and social work students. This information is published each year in an annual report – you can find the most recent report here:

Qualifying social work programmes

The framework for the Degree in Social Work in Wales sets out the standards for the professional qualification and includes:

  • the rules governing the approval and regulation of the social work qualifying programme
  • a schedule that sets out more detailed requirements for the approval of programmes.

We have also published a separate document that provides supplementary guidance to the rules.

The supplementary guidance should be read alongside the rules as it:

  • provides further explanation of the rules
  • provides a framework that all social work students successfully completing the social work degree in Wales will use to show they meet the minimum requirements of competence described in the rules.

The social work qualifying programmes approved under these Rules are:

Undergraduate degrees

  • Bridgend College (franchised from Cardiff Metropolitan University) BSc Hons SW
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University BSc Hons SW
  • Wrexham University BA Hons SW
  • Swansea University BSc Hons SW
  • The Open University BA Hons SW (Wales)

Postgraduate master’s degrees

  • Bangor University MA SW
  • Cardiff University MA SW
  • Swansea University MSc SW

Additional standards and guidance

‘Suitability for social work’ provides guidance on the roles and responsibilities of higher education institutes, their employer partners and us in making sure social work students are suitable for training and professional registration.

The ‘Practice education guidance for the social work degree in Wales’ provides information about the expectations for supporting student learning and assessment in practice.

The ‘Standards for practice learning in the degree in social work’ make sure there is consistency and equity in practice learning for all students. The standards are currently being reviewed and will be published in due course.

Social work programmes must involve people with social care needs in the management and provision of approved programmes. Our standards for involving people are currently being reviewed and will be published in due course.

Post qualifying social work programmes

‘The Approval and Inspection of Post Qualifying Courses for Social Workers (Wales) 2018’ sets out the standards for post-qualifying education and training, and includes:

  • the rules governing the approval and regulation of the social work post-qualifying programmes
  • a schedule that sets out more detailed requirements for the approval of programmes.

There are also specific sets of requirements for some post-qualifying programmes – these are in addition to the overarching post-qualifying requirements.

Raising a concern about a social work programme

Anyone can contact us with a concern about the quality of a social work education programme. This includes:

  • people applying to a programme
  • students
  • people who are in need of care and support, and carers
  • organisations involved in providing practice learning opportunities
  • people involved in providing the social work programmes.

Our statutory powers only allow us to investigate concerns about a programme if it appears the programme has failed to comply with the rules and requirements under which they have been approved.

For more information, take a look at our rules for social work qualifying programmes and post-qualifying programmes.

If you are a student, we would advise you to first raise your concern with your education provider. This is because they are best placed to work with you to address your concerns. You should be able to find information about their complaints process on the university’s website.

We can’t investigate complaints about assessment decisions because this is outside our remit. We also can’t change the outcome of a university’s complaint investigation, because we can only look into if a programme continues to meet the conditions for approval.

If you need guidance about the best way to deal with your concern, you can contact us by emailing regulationoftraining@socialcare.wales.

How to raise a concern

To raise a concern, email regulationoftraining@socialcare.wales with the following information:

  • your contact details including name, address and phone number
  • the programme you have concerns about
  • an outline of your concerns
  • any relevant evidence relating to your concern.

We will contact you within seven working days to let you know if we can investigate your concern. We will then advise you about the next steps in the process. This will involve contacting the programme to let it know about the complaint and establishing a process with them for investigating it. We will let you know the timescales involved and once the investigation has finished, we will let you know its outcome in writing.

Contact us

If you have a question or if you can't find what you are looking for get in touch with us.

First published: 28 February 2019
Last updated: 20 March 2024
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