This consultation is now closed.

We have revised the Standards in Social Work Education (SiSWE), which underpin social work degree programmes in Scotland, to make sure they reflect the many changes in social work practice since their publication in 2003.

This consultation was to gather the views of the sector, stakeholders and key partners on the draft revised SiSWE and ask whether they meet the needs of current social work practice.

The draft revised SiSWE are a result of the Review of Social Work Education (RSWE), led by the SSSC, which has already had significant stakeholder involvement to get us to this stage.

You can read the drafted revised SiSWE here.

Following this consultation we intend to publish the revised SiSWE during 2017/18 and implement them during 2018/19.


There has been no formal review of the Framework and Standards in Social Work Education since 2003. Since then the social work landscape has changed significantly in response to shifts in policy, systems, demand and demographic changes. Significant reviews of social work education have already taken place in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In 2013 our Council approved a similar review of social work education in Scotland to make sure the qualifying programmes, routes into social work, the first year in practice and career long development for social workers and social service workers reflect developments in social work practice.

The Scottish Government published the Vision and Strategy for Social Services in Scotland in 2015. One of its actions is to: ‘support the implementation of the recommendations agreed as an outcome of the current review of the social work degree’.

To do this a formal Review of Social Work Education (RSWE) group was set up in September 2014, with a remit to report initial findings by April 2015. Membership of RSWE was made up of a broad range of key stakeholders, including social workers, students, people who have used services, carers, public, third and independent sector employers, academics, Scottish Government, the SSSC, representative and national bodies. During phase 1 of the review, the group met monthly and explored a wide range of evidence. The Review of Social Work Education: Statement of progress 2014-2015 describes this work in detail.

Development of the revised SiSWE

In 2014 the review mapped the existing Standards in Social Work Education to the revised National Occupational Standards in Social Work. While the existing SiSWE remained broadly 'fit for purpose', they needed revision to include an increased emphasis on personal capabilities, the wellbeing and resilience of social workers, the role of social work in integrated settings and an increased emphasis on supporting people to take part in decision making processes.

We commissioned further work by the University of Stirling during 2015 to test the proposed areas of revision of the SiSWE with a range of stakeholders. This work informs the current set of draft revised SiSWE which are the focus of this consultation. We will continue to review the broader principles underpinning the Framework in Social Work Education during 2017/18 as ongoing work to implement the wider recommendations of the RSWE. You can read the details of this in The Review of Social Work Education: Statement of progress 2015-2016.

Our Council approved the draft revised SiSWE in October 2016 as the basis of this consultation. The final revised Standards in Social Work Education will become part of the revised Framework for Social Work Education in Scotland.