The Children and Social Work Bill received Royal Assent in April 2017. The Act enshrines in law a series of changes to the social work profession, including:
- The creation of a new organisation, 'Social Work England', to takeover from the HCPC as the profession’s regulator in 2018 (this is a joint Department of Education and Department of Health body).
- A requirement for the new regulator to obtain the education secretary’s approval for professional standards.
- New powers for the education secretary to set ‘improvement standards’ for social workers, and introduce assessments for practitioners.
The legislation includes a wide range of measures, which attempt to give greater clarity to the role that councils play as 'corporate parents' of children and young people in care and care leavers, as well as to safeguarding cases. It requires councils to provide personal advisers to care leavers up to the age of 25 years.