Practice governance

To develop practice governance that:

August 2008

The draft guidance on the Role of the Chief Social Work Officer has now been agreed with ADSW, COSLA, SOLACE and representatives of NHS Community Health Care Partnerships. The Group will shortly be seeking Ministerial and Cabinet approval to issue the guidance for formal consultation. A team of consultants have been commissioned to help develop a Practice Governance Framework for Social Work Services. Following an initial presentation to the Group, a revised specification setting out a clear vision of what the Framework should look like is being produced. Further work is currently being carried out on the Reserved Functions of a Social Worker paper. The Principles and Standards of Citizen Leadership was published in April.

Next Meeting of Practice Governance Group: 9 September

March 2008

The Practice Governance Group met on 29th January and discussed the principles and requirements of the role of the Chief Social Work Officer. Following discussions with ADSW and SOLACE, the proposals regarding the role of the CSWO will now go out for wider consultation. The group is also commissioning work on populating a Practice Governance Framework that has been developed. December 2007

The Practice Governance Group met on 6 November and discussed the principles and requirements of the role of the Chief Social Work Officer. The requirement that every local authority should have a CSWO is set down in legislation and one of the elements of the 21st Century Review of social work services was a strengthening of the governance and leadership roles of the Chief Social Work Officer. In developing this the group identified a number of key issues that need to be clarified and addressed, including role and function, scope, rights and responsibilities and accountability and reporting arrangements. An initial discussion was held at the National Social Work Services Forum in September and initial discussions have been held with ADSW and SOLACE. An outline for a Practice Governance Framework has been developed and work will continue on populating that.


Practice governance impacts on and relates to every strand of social work services. Changing Lives visualises social work practitioners who are responsible and accountable practitioners. This means that they need to be equipped and supported to make decisions with their clients safely and effectively. This also means that they must have greater freedom to find innovative solutions to complex problems.

This vision creates significant challenges for organisational leadership and management. A clear framework of accountability, responsibility and practice governance will be required to take this forward.