Employers and the NQSW Supported Year

In response to policy and research findings, the Scottish Government commissioned the SSSC to provide recommendations on the design, implementation and delivery of a sustainable and accessible Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) Supported Year. 

The Scottish Government will determine if the NQSW Supported Year is to become a national approach, however, the Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser (OCSWA) has indicated support for this to be a mandatory year with Scotland-wide implementation in the financial year 2022/23.   

The NQSW Supported Year outlines the approach NQSWs, supervisors and employers will follow to meet their respective responsibilities in addressing the minimum support, continuous professional learning (CPL) and development requirements of NQSWs at this stage of registration. 

Core elements of the NQSW Supported Year have been identified and defined by the Implementation Group who oversee this work. Both OCSWA and Chief Social Work Officers have indicated support for this approach. 

Employers and senior leaders will have a critical role to play in the successful implementation and delivery of the NQSW Supported Year and in achieving the aim of a consistent and robust appropriate experience for NQSWs joining the social work profession. 

Given the current context, it is more critical than ever to have a nationally agreed approach to supporting the professional identity of social workers and retaining them within the workforce. 

The project is currently involved in early implementation of the NQSW Supported Year with several organisations in Scotland which you can find out about here.

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Early implementation

For the first time in Scotland, we have identified and defined the minimum supports required to be in place for NQSWs joining the workforce.  These core elements have been consistently identified through evaluation and research.  

It is recognised by the Implementation Group that some core elements of the NQSW Supported Year may prove challenging in operation and will require to be resourced.  

Funding has been allocated by Scottish Government to support a small-scale early implementation of the NQSW Supported Year which will inform any further refinement of the approach and the final recommendations with aligned costs to be submitted to the Scottish Government in March 2022  

This funding will support some employers to build capacity within their organisations or in partnership with others that results in positive change and improvement in the arrangements for support and development opportunities offered to NQSWs in line with the NQSW Supported Year.  

Successful employers will utilise their grant in a flexible way to meet responsibilities and embed the core elements of the NQSW Supported Year within local arrangements and systems. We have encouraged applications from a range of employers of varying sizes in urban, rural and semi-rural locations and also those working in partnership with other employers including the Third and Independent Sector.    

We will share the learning from the early implementers with you and continue to populate the website with good practice tools and resources. Find our more on our dedicated early implementation page.

Developing an accountability framework for employers 

The national work will also set out the responsibilities and support for employers to develop and/or sustain good practice, cultures of learning and support for NQSWs and wider staff teams.  The NQSW Supported Year is intended to support and sustain consistency of best practice. Employers have a central role in supporting NQSWs as part of their commitment to promoting professional social work practice.  

Within the Implementation Group, we are at the early stages of scoping out recommendations on an accountability framework for employers and we will keep you up to date with any significant developments.  This work will link with the review of the Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers (Scottish Social Services Council, 2016) and other reviews or developments.  

Support for employers

We have included information for organisations, managers and supervisors on this website. You will also find a range of information and learning material for NQSWs. You can explore below the specific information we have included for employers. 

We have also developed a suite of resources for organisations to support effective supervision and professional development for NQSWs which include downloadable training materials that can be used in organisations. You can access all these materials through the Managers and supervisors page.

Employers and organisations may wish to consider revisiting the CLF to consider how they can support learning, development and improved practice through supervision, improvement methodology and performance management.  

The Continuous Learning Framework (Scottish Social Services Council, 2009) highlights the need for the right culture and working conditions in an organisation to support workers to practice to the best of their ability. 

Learning together

NQSWs work in many different types of organisation in Scotland. Different people in organisations have a key role in support, supervision and working with NQSWs. We will keep you updated here about the work of the national project and provide clear information for employers across different types of organisation.

Find out more more about the national project and approach to the NQSW supported year in Scotland.