Regulation, Registration and Social Work: An International Comparison

Worsley, Aidan Richard clive orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3925-3297, Beddoe, Liz, McLaughlin, Ken and Teater, Barbra (2020) Regulation, Registration and Social Work: An International Comparison. The British Journal of Social Work, 50 (2). pp. 308-325. ISSN 0045-3102

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The anticipated change of social work regulator in England from the Health and Care Professions Council to Social Work England in 2019 will herald the third, national regulator in seven years for the social work profession. Social Work England will be a new, bespoke, professionally specific regulator established as a non-departmental public body with a primary objective to protect the public. Looking globally, we can observe different approaches to the regulation of the social work profession—and many different stages of the profession’s regulatory journey between countries. Using a comparative policy analysis approach and case studies, this article looks more closely at three countries’ arrangements and attempts to understand why regulation might take the shape it does in each country. The case studies examine England, the USA (as this has a state approach, we focus on New York) and New Zealand, with contributions from qualified social work authors located within each country. We consider that there are three key elements to apply to analysis: definition of role and function, the construction of the public interest and the attitude to risk.

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