Preparing for Implementation of the New TCSW Arrangements and HCPC Requirements for Provision of Placements

All placements taking place from October 2013 will be expected to meet the new placement criteria, i.e.

  • First placement of 70 days
  • Last placement of 100 days
  • All placements to be assessed against PCF
  • All placements to meet HCPC requirements and TCSW arrangements
  • New arrangements for supervision and assessment

Criteria for 1st Placement

  • Different experience in 1st and last placement (settings, service user group, ages, methods).
  • Supervised and assessed by stage 1 or stage 2 Practice Educator (ideally registered social worker (RSW) – but do not have to be until 2015).
  • On site supervisor either RSW who meets PCF capabilities at social work level or above and working towards stage 1 or non RSW and using stage 1 as a developmental framework.

Criteria for Last Placement

  • Different experience from 1st placements (as above).
  • Preparation for statutory interventions*.
  • Supervised and assessed  by a RSW stage 2 practice educator.
  • If practice educator is off-site, the on-site supervisor must be a RSW who meets the social work level of the level of PCF and be working towards stage 1.  

Practice Educator Requirements  

New arrangements for supervision and assessment based on the Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) are being introduced. Practice Educators should:

  • Be assessed as having met stage 1 or stage 2 of the practice educators professional standards.
  • Those who hold GSCC practice teaching award (PTA) or the Higher Education Specialist Award in practice education (GSCC PQ framework) and are qualified and registered social workers can continue to be responsible for assessing and teaching students at all placement levels and may be able to act as mentors and assessors for PE candidates. However employers and HEIs need to be satisfied that they have continued to regularly practise as a practice educator. Normally this would mean they have had direct responsibility for at least one student in the last two years or had relevant experience in practice education and have retained and developed their skills, knowledge and value base. They will also have to have met the PEP standard of "observation of their practice assessment".
  • Independent Off-site practice educators are expected to meet the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) at experienced social worker level and to have demonstrated proficiency at stage 2. They must also be a RSW. It is the responsibility of the agency or HEI contracting the independent practice educators to be satisfied that the independent practice educators are competent and suitable to carry out their responsibilities. This would include ensuring that safeguarding checks have been undertaken.

On–site Supervisors

Practice supervisors do not have to reach stage1 proficiency to support and supervise the day to day work of a social work student and do not necessarily have to be registered social workers for the first placement. However, it is recommended that they should be working towards the stage 1 learning outcomes and be supported by their line manager and practice educator. It is for the line manager to ensure that a practice supervisor is competent to provide day to day practice supervision of social work students.

For last placements the practice supervisor must be a RSW who meets SW level of PCF and be working towards stage1 PEPs.

Enabling Others

PEs who have successfully completed an Enabling Others module or pathway within the PQ framework will not automatically meet stage 1. Partnerships will be expected to make a decision as to whether they have evidenced all the learning outcomes specified for stage 1 and have met the assessment requirements, specifically in relation to direct observation of practice. (link to learning outcomes here)

Other PE Training and Qualifications (E.g. 2–5 Day Programmes)

In order to assess whether existing PEs meet the PEPS, partnerships should consider whether the learning and assessment programme undertaken enabled the PE to evidence both the learning outcomes and requirements (specifically in relation to direct observation) within the PEPS.

Partnerships may wish to develop a 'top up' pathway to enable existing PEs to meet learning outcomes or requirements not previously evidenced. An alternative approach to mapping existing programmes against the PEPS is for partnerships to develop an assessment process to enable individual PEs (who may possibly have had minimal initial training but have continued to practise and develop as


* In the last placement there should be opportunities for students to prepare for the statutory aspects of a social worker's role by engaging with formal assessment processes including considering risk and/or safeguarding for child protection, practice in mental health or with vulnerable adults (PCF domains 7, 8) and opportunities to reflect on, discuss and analyse appropriate use of authority (PFC domains 7,6 as required for last placement).

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