Overview of the role

Protecting vulnerable children and adults from harm or abuse, and supporting adults to live independently.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

Social Work is an exciting and fulfilling international profession. Social Workers work in partnership with adults, children, carers, and families in a range of different settings to support and promote positive change in people's lives in order to improve their wellbeing and independence, and to reduce risk and harm.  They protect and promote human rights and strive for social justice. 

Social Workers work within statutory and legislative frameworks, using their professional judgement and building relationships with a variety of individuals and communities, as well as with a wide range of other professionals and agencies. They assess, plan, implement and evaluate complex situations, which requires an ability to critically reflect and make decisions within a clear professional code of ethics.  

This occupation is found in social care services, health services and the voluntary and private sector. Social Workers can work in children’s services or adult social care, and can specialise in areas such as mental health, learning  disabilities, substance misuse or hospital work.

Employers include local authorities, health organisations including the NHS, voluntary organisations, charities, and private businesses.  Some Social Workers work independently, setting up their own companies to contract for work. Examples would include carrying out independent fostering assessment or providing practice education for student Social Workers and apprentices.

Registered Social Workers engage in protecting individuals from harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation. They work in a way which is compassionate and takes account of all aspects of the individual’s life - ensuring their voice is central to decision making. They use their professional expertise to work, assess, plan, implement, evaluate and intervene putting the needs of people first and demonstrate a clear commitment to anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice . 

Throughout their career, they are responsible for ensuring their Continuing Professional Development and will be expected to demonstrate leadership in their work. All Social Workers must register with the professional regulator and adhere to their professional standards.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with individuals, families, communities, and a wide range of other professionals and agencies including but not limited to education, health, housing, care service providers, police and probation. Within their own organisation they interact with the managers they report to and depending on the organisation Heads of Service, Occupational Therapists, support and administrative personnel, amongst others.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for working with a number of people or families at any one time.  Day-to-day work involves assessing people’s needs, strengths and wishes, working with individuals and families directly to help them make changes and resolve difficulties, organising support, making recommendations or referrals to other services and agencies, and keeping detailed records.

Social Workers are usually supervised by a Team Manager. If their Team Manager is not a Social Worker, they must receive professional supervision from a registered Social Worker. Social Workers can be responsible for managing support staff and other staff, both qualified and unqualified, with less experience than themselves.

Social Workers are responsible for making evidence-based judgements and making recommendations.  They must do this within the relevant statutory and legislative frameworks, and practice guidance. Social Workers receive regular supervision to support their professional development. 

Many Social Worker roles require a driving licence; however this will depend on the setting and geographic location.

Social Workers require an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check.

This is a Level 6 apprenticeship.  However, there is an option for the learning to be delivered at an undergraduate or postgraduate level.  The level will be dependent on the employer’s arrangements with the training provider.

Typical job titles include:

Social worker

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Promote the rights, strengths and wellbeing of people families and communities to ensure their voice and expertise is heard and acknowledged.

K1 K3 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K13 K20 K22 K23 K24 K27 K28

S3 S5 S6 S7 S8 S41

B2 B5

Duty 2 Be an accountable professional acting in the best interests of people that use services, by valuing each person as an individual and promoting their rights, and recognising strengths, and abilities.

K1 K2 K3 K5 K6 K13 K15 K17 K18 K19 K23 K24 K25 K26 K27

S1 S2 S5 S6 S7 S8 S10 S15 S17 S18 S28

B1 B4 B5

Duty 3 Recognise differences across diverse communities and challenge the impact of disadvantage and discrimination on people and their families and communities.

K3 K5 K7 K8 K9 K13 K24 K26 K27 K29

S1 S3 S5 S6 S7 S8 S16

B1 B2 B3 B5

Duty 4 Establish and maintain the trust and confidence of people so as to develop professional relationships that ensure they understand the role of a social worker in their lives.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K7 K9 K11 K16 K18 K19 K24 K26 K27

S9 S10 S13 S19 S27 S34 S38 S39

B1 B2 B5

Duty 5 Practise in ways that demonstrate empathy, authority, and professional confidence, and enable people to fully participate in discussions and decision making.

K1 K3 K4 K7 K9 K11 K12 K18 K24 K26 K27 K28

S5 S7 S9 S10 S13 S15 S19 S27 S34 S37 S38 S39

B1 B2 B3 B5

Duty 6 Work directly with individuals and their families through the professional use of self, using interpersonal skills to develop relationships based on openness and transparency .

K3 K4 K7 K8 K9 K11 K12 K22 K23 K24 K25 K26 K27 K28

S5 S7 S12 S13 S19 S34 S35 S38 S39

B1 B2 B3 B5

Duty 7 Actively listen to understand people, using a range of appropriate communication methods to build relationships.

K3 K4 K5 K7 K8 K9 K11 K12 K13 K15 K16 K18 K22 K23 K24 K25 K27 K28

S5 S7 S11 S12 S13 S15 S19 S24 S33 S34 S35 S37 S38 S39

B1 B3 B5

Duty 8 Manage situations of potentially conflicting or competing values, and, with guidance, recognise, reflect on, and work with integrity with ethical dilemmas.

K6 K9 K14 K15 K16 K17 K18 K22 K23 K24 K27

S1 S16 S19 S29 S35 S36 S37 S38 S39

B1 B3 B5

Duty 9 Be accountable for quality practice and decisions made whilst working within legal and ethical frameworks, using professional authority and judgement appropriately and respectfully.

K1 K2 K6 K10 K14 K16 K18 K19 K20 K21 K23 K24 K29 K30 K31

S1 S2 S4 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17 S25 S26 S28 S45 S48

B4 B5

Duty 10 Select and use appropriate frameworks to assess, give meaning to, plan, implement and review effective interventions and evaluate the outcomes, in partnership with service users.

K10 K12 K14 K16 K22 K23 K24 K26 K27 K29 K30 K31

S9 S11 S13 S14 S25 S26 S27 S28

B2 B3 B5

Duty 11 Apply knowledge and skills to address the social care needs of individuals and their families commonly arising from physical and mental ill health, disability, substance misuse, abuse, or neglect, to enhance quality of life and wellbeing.

K4 K8 K10 K12 K14 K16 K20 K22 K23 K24 K26 K28 K29

S11 S13 S14 S15 S21 S24 S26 S30 S49 S50

B2 B3 B5

Duty 12 Recognise the risk indicators of different forms of abuse and neglect and their impact on individuals, their families or their support networks and prioritise the protection of children and adults in vulnerable situations.

K6 K13 K14 K21 K22 K23 K24 K25 K26 K29 K30

S8 S11 S16 S24 S29 S36 S43

B3 B5

Duty 13 Work with relevant colleagues and agencies to support people experiencing difficult situations, to gather information and make timely decisions when positive change is not evident.

K4 K15 K16 K17 K18 K22 K23 K24 K28 K29 K30

S8 S11 S12 S13 S27 S40 S41

B1 B5

Duty 14 Maintain accurate and timely records and reports in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols, and guidelines, to support professional judgement and organisational responsibilities.

K2 K6 K17 K21 K22 K23 K24 K26 K29 K30 K31 K34 K35

S4 S42 S43 S45 S46 S47 S48 S50


Duty 15 Recognise professional limitations and how and when to seek advice from a range of sources including named supervisors, senior social workers, and other professionals. Make effective use of opportunities to discuss, reflect upon and test multiple hypotheses.

K1 K4 K9 K15 K17 K18 K21 K24 K28 K30 K31

S2 S4 S17 S20 S21 S22 S27 S28 S31 S36 S40

B4 B5

Duty 16 Maintain and record professional development and knowledge of social work practice. Use supervision and feedback to inform and critically reflect on practice and values, and the impact they have on practice.

K16 K17 K19 K21 K24 K29 K30 K31 K33

S3 S18 S20 S21 S22 S24 S25 S26 S44

B4 B5

Duty 17 Confidently fulfil statutory responsibilities, work within regulatory and organisational remit and contribute to its development.

K1 K6 K13 K17 K18 K20 K21 K22 K23 K29 K30 K31 K34 K35

S2 S4 S17 S18 S23 S25 S28 S31 S32 S42 S43 S45


Duty 18 Social workers must use technology, social media or other forms of electronic communication lawfully, ethically, and in a way that does not bring the profession into disrepute and ensure their skills in this area are maintained and used to improve practice.

K2 K17 K20 K21 K24 K31 K32 K33 K34 K35

S1 S4 S23 S31 S42 S43 S45 S46 S47 S48 S49 S50

B4 B5

Duty 19 Act safely, respectfully and with professional integrity, promote ethical practice and report concerns.

K1 K3 K6 K9 K13 K15 K18 K19 K20 K21 K23 K24 K28 K29 K30 K34

S1 S4 S17 S18 S21 S22 S23 S28 S29 S30 S31 S32 S48




K1: The importance of rights, responsibilities, freedom, authority and use of power. Back to Duty

K2: The importance of maintaining, and the limits of, confidentiality. Back to Duty

K3: That relationships with individuals and their carers should be based on respect, honesty and integrity. Back to Duty

K4: How to develop relationships appropriately. Back to Duty

K5: The impact of different cultures and communities and how this affects social work. Back to Duty

K6: Current legal and ethical frameworks. Back to Duty

K7: The concepts of participation, advocacy, co-production, involvement and empowerment. Back to Duty

K8: The contribution that peoples’ own resources and strengths can bring to social work. Back to Duty

K9: The impact of different societies' views on human behaviour. Back to Duty

K10: The value of research and analysis and be able to evaluate evidence to inform practice. Back to Duty

K11: That experiences and feelings affect behaviour in interactions. Back to Duty

K12: Social work theory, models and interventions; human growth and development across the lifespan and the impact of key developmental stages and transitions. Back to Duty

K13: The impact of injustice, demography, social inequality, policies and other issues which affect the demand for social work services. Back to Duty

K14: How to update knowledge to ensure evidence informed practice. Back to Duty

K15: The scope and limits of practice and when/how to seek advice from a range of sources. Back to Duty

K16: Models of supervision, critical reflection and self-reflection to enhance/change practice. Back to Duty

K17: Your employer’s organisational context and systems and the impact on your practice. Back to Duty

K18: The concept of leadership and its application to practice. Back to Duty

K19: The requirements of the relevant professional body. Back to Duty

K20: Applicable safeguarding/health and safety legislation, policies and procedures. Back to Duty

K21: How to maintain your own personal safety and that of others in complex situations. Back to Duty

K22: Signs of harm, abuse and neglect and the importance of professional curiosity when these are observed and the appropriate risk assessment tools and processes to use. Back to Duty

K23: The role of the Social Worker and roles of others within safeguarding, appropriate to levels of skills and experience. Back to Duty

K24: The range of communication methods available to meet specific needs (both  verbal and non-verbal) Back to Duty

K25: The importance of the impact of verbal and non-verbal communication Back to Duty

K26: How communication skills affect the assessment of, and engagement with, individuals and their families/carers Back to Duty

K27: The range of factors that affect effective communication e.g., age, capacity, learning ability and physical ability. Back to Duty

K28: The full range of interpersonal skills required to work with other professionals and agencies. Back to Duty

K29: The different social and organisational contexts within which social work operates. Back to Duty

K30: The applicable legislation, policies, and procedures Back to Duty

K31: The principles of good recording and record keeping. Back to Duty

K32: The types, and benefits, of assistive technology Back to Duty

K33: How to use relevant software applications. Back to Duty

K34: IT data sharing protocols. Back to Duty

K35: The potential misuses of technology e.g., social media. Back to Duty


S1: Ensure professional ethical standards are developed, maintained and promoted. Back to Duty

S2: Take responsibility for your decisions and recommendations. Back to Duty

S3: Be aware of the impact of your own values on practice. Back to Duty

S4: Exercise authority as a Social Worker within the appropriate legal and ethical frameworks. Back to Duty

S5: Ensure the highest standard of person centred approach, so that people are treated with dignity and their rights, values and autonomy are respected. Back to Duty

S6: Practise in a non-discriminatory manner. Back to Duty

S7: Hear the views of people who use services, carers, their families and communities, recognise their expertise, and enable their views to have validity and influence. Back to Duty

S8: Promote the best interests of people who use services, carers, their families and communities. Back to Duty

S9: Work with people to enable them to make informed decisions and exercise their rights. Back to Duty

S10: Work to promote individual growth, development and independence. Back to Duty

S11: Undertake assessments of need and/or capacity. Back to Duty

S12: Initiate resolution of issues and use initiative. Back to Duty

S13: Gather, analyse, critically evaluate, and use research information and knowledge in your practice to develop an understanding of the individual’s situation. Back to Duty

S14: Make and receive referrals appropriately. Back to Duty

S15: Use social work methods, theories, and models to enable individuals to identify actions to achieve change and improve life opportunities. Back to Duty

S16: Manage and weigh up competing/conflicting values or interests to make reasoned professional judgement. Back to Duty

S17: Work within scope of practice as an autonomous professional. Back to Duty

S18: Maintain high standards of personal and professional conduct. Back to Duty

S19: Manage the physical and emotional impact of your practice. Back to Duty

S20: Identify and apply strategies to build professional and emotional resilience. Back to Duty

S21: Use supervision to support and enhance the quality of your practice. Back to Duty

S22: Maintain your own health and well-being. Back to Duty

S23: Recognise the need to manage workloads and resources effectively. Back to Duty

S24: Keep your skills, knowledge and ongoing professional development up to date. Back to Duty

S25: Show an awareness of current and relevant legislation. Back to Duty

S26: Use a range of research methodologies to inform your practice. Back to Duty

S27: Work in partnership with others Back to Duty

S28: Balance appropriate levels of autonomy within a complex system of accountability Back to Duty

S29: Respond appropriately to unexpected situations, identify and challenge practices which present a risk to, or from, people you are working with, their carers or others in order to uphold professional requirements. Back to Duty

S30: Respond appropriately to signs of harm, abuse and neglect. Back to Duty

S31: Establish and maintain personal and professional boundaries. Back to Duty

S32: Follow health and safety policies and procedures. Back to Duty

S33: Communicate in English at the level required by Social Work England. Back to Duty

S34: Communicate your role and purpose sensitively and clearly, using appropriate language and methods. Back to Duty

S35: Communicate in a way which is engaging, respectful, motivating, and effective, even when dealing with conflict or resistance to change. Back to Duty

S36: Exercise professional curiosity. Back to Duty

S37: Have difficult conversations with empathy. Back to Duty

S38: Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills. Back to Duty

S39: Engage with individuals and their families/carers and sustain effective relationships in order to effect change Back to Duty

S40: Engage effectively in inter-professional and inter-agency working to achieve positive outcomes. Back to Duty

S41: Support networks, groups, and communities to meet needs and outcomes. Back to Duty

S42: Maintain accurate and complete records in accordance with applicable legislation, protocols, and guidelines. Back to Duty

S43: Prepare formal reports in line with legislation, policies, and procedures. Back to Duty

S44: Critically reflect on/review practice and record the outcomes of reflection appropriately. Back to Duty

S45: Present reports in formal settings. Back to Duty

S46: Use technology to manage your work. Back to Duty

S47: Use technology to communicate appropriately. Back to Duty

S48: Maintain individuals’ information security and protect data. Back to Duty

S49: Advise people on how to use assistive technology. Back to Duty

S50: Promote the use of technology to achieve better outcomes. Back to Duty


B1: Communicate openly, honestly and accurately. Listen to people and apply professional curiosity to evaluate and assess the information needed to provide quality advice, support, or care. Back to Duty

B2: Treat people with compassion, dignity and respect and work together to empower positive change. Back to Duty

B3: Adapt approach according to the situation and context. Back to Duty

B4: Commit to continuous learning within social work, with curiosity and critical reflection. Back to Duty

B5: Adhere to the Social Work England Standards of Conduct. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Professional recognition

This standard aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • Social Work England for Registered Social Worker

Additional details

Regulated standard

This is a regulated occupation.

Regulator body:

Social Work England

Training Provider must be approved by regulator body

EPAO does not require approval by regulator body

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 6
Degree: integrated degree
Reference: ST0510
Version: 1.1
Date updated: 31/10/2022
Approved for delivery: 30 November 2018
Route: Care services
Typical duration to gateway: 36 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £24000
Regulated standard:
This is a regulated occupation
Regulator body:Social Work England
Training Provider must be approved by regulator body
LARS Code: 381
EQA Provider: Office for Students
Employers involved in creating the standard: Peterborough City Council Hertfordshire County Council Surrey County Council - Adult Social Care Hestia Hampshire County Council West Sussex County Council Suffolk County Council East Sussex County Council Lincolnshire County Council Durham County Council Norfolk County Council

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.1 End-point assessment plan and funding revised 23/01/2023 Not set Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 30/11/2018 22/01/2023 Not set

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