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Farewell from Penny Thompson, GSCC Chief Executive

Photo of Penny Thompson, Chief Executive of the GSCC - (c) authors own

Dear reader

As I’m sure you know this is the final edition of your quarterly e-newsletter, Social Work Connections. The GSCC will close on 31 July and our regulatory functions will transfer to the Health Professions Council (HPC). So from 1 August the renamed Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) will be the new social work regulator.

The General Social Care Council (GSCC) was established back in 2001 with the objective of raising standards in the sector and protecting the public. With the introduction of national codes of practice, practitioner accountability and compulsory regulation, the GSCC has made good strides over the past 10 years in achieving many of its aims.

Registering the entire social work profession was quite a challenge but we were committed to establishing a comprehensive register and relished the task. As a result of this work, at the end of July we will hand over a register of over 105,000 social workers and social work students to the HPC. Another key area of our work worth noting is that of our conduct function. This has helped increase public protection by ensuring that only those who are trained, trusted and committed to high standards remain in the profession and those unsuitable to practise are prevented from working with some of the most vulnerable members of our society. In addition, compulsory registration has helped to professionalise social work, bringing it on a par with other regulated professions such as medicine, nursing and law.

In order to leave a positive legacy to the sector, we are in the process of producing a suite of learning and research reports, which draw upon our experience of regulating social workers and students over the past 10 years. You can read more about these reports later in this issue.

We have also played a significant part in sector reforms. Our role on the Social Work Task Force and the subsequent Social Work Reform Board has led to changes in social work education which will improve the calibre of entrants into social work training and the quality and availability of practice placements, as well as ensuring that the social work curriculum meets the needs of employers. The introduction of a career long 'Capabilities Framework' has established a clear set of expectations for social workers, managers and educators. The College of Social Work will play a crucial role in taking forward this work, once we have gone. I hope that social workers embrace The College and its mission of becoming the voice of the profession and the driver of excellence.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say farewell and wish you all the very best for the future. I hope you have enjoyed reading Social Work Connections, and that you found the articles interesting and informative.

With very best wishes

Penny Thompson

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After meeting Penny Thompson and other staff at a GSCC Conference in Leeds a couple of years ago, I must say I was impressed by their commitment to the GSCC, to social work as a profession and to social workers in the field. I did not think I would find myself saying this but I think it will be a sad day on 31st July when the GSCC closes its doors. I do not relish the thought of social workers being "lost" within the HPC. I also sincerely hope that The College of Social Work continues to carry the baton for Social Work and speak up for us much maligned professionals.

Debbie Lewis
06 Jun 2012

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