Gaining Approval


In order to become an Approved Social Worker (ASW) the requirements are as follows

undertake a course of sixty days training (a mixture of lectures, seminars and supervised practice in a placement setting )

apply for a warrant (after some more supervised practice, written work and an interview) which lasts for five years, from the local authority. There is a requirement for ongoing training throughout the time that the warrant is held.

So the usual process is that after I submit my portfolio of work – I return to my usual workplace and am asked to complete a certain number of assessments in conjunction with an experienced ASW.  I have to produce a report reflecting on these assessments and take it, along with my portfolio (marked) to a panel made up from the Trust (usually, the Trust lead for ASWs and the Director with overall responsibility for Mental Health Services) where there is an interview of sorts to determine whether I will be issued a warrant.

I have to say I was somewhat reluctant to attend the course in the first place. I understood that it would be expected of me, but didn’t feel quite ready. In the process of discussing these concerns with my manager, I was reassured when I was told that there would be no rush to warrant me after the course. I should go and study so that the training part was out of the way and then I would be given as much time as was needed before I was actually warranted.

Yesterday I was informed, indirectly that the date for my warranting panel has been set, and it will take place next month.

This is somewhat surprising as a relatively conservative guess of when it would be taking place was August at the earliest.

Of course I could refuse and ask for more time but I’m not sure it would serve any purpose at the moment.

There are more than a few political issues going on behind the scenes and I can’t help feeling like a bit of a pawn. There is a massive shortage of ASWs  in the team that I currently work in. There is a lot of annoyance in some other teams that they are ‘taking’ our work on. They have attempted to refuse to carry out assessments that have been asked for but have been railroaded by management to do them.

I expect that is why I am being rushed to warrant. I feel a bit ambivalent at the moment about it. I don’t feel as insecure as I did – the training was extremely thorough and I had excellent experience in practice through my placement that could not have been more supportive. I suspect the idea is that it will provide a better quality service to the people I work most closely with which can only be a good thing.

In some ways, I want to just finish off the process so I don’t have to think about what I need to do next.

I am also aware that my position in the team has changed ever so slightly. I mentioned to my managers something vague about not being happy and they immediately became ever so defensive and concerned about me wanting to leave. I am not desperately surprised as the cost of the course I have just completed would enter into thousands of pounds.  I don’t really have any intention to leave. I like a lot of aspects of where I am. But things seem to be changing around me and very quickly.

Interesting times, indeed.

2 thoughts on “Gaining Approval

  1. ok, so you provided the context of gaining the ASW certification but what do you think of the pending changes to the MHA which will be ammended where the ASW role will be exchanged for ‘mental health professional’? At present my feeling of the ‘INDEPENDANT’ role of the ASW not being linked to the ‘MEDICAL OR DISEASE MODEL TO MENTAL HEALTH is a healthy and one that was hard fought for. I must addmit that i am sceptical as there are now many ‘reconfigurred CMHT’ that are based in ‘hospitals’ and the panoptican is ever being re-inforced by the medics. I also feel that Social Workers specific skills and training is not being recognised and valued and that social work as a whiole has not promoted itself and the ‘professionalism’ that is often practiced. Are Social Workers being devalued and potentially Phazed out?What are your thought is any?

  2. I wrote briefly about it here.. https://fightingmonsters.wordpress.com/2008/04/30/the-last-of-the-new-asws/

    Basically, I think it was possibly inevitable because of the lack of social workers available but as you say, I think it was an important function of the ASW that the basic professional training is from a sociological framework as opposed to the medical framework as it promotes independence.
    So basically I completely agree with you. I know the new course will have a much heavier emphasis on sociology but there is a very different culture between social workers and CPNs (as I imagine it would mostly be CPNs that undertake the training).
    The main hope is that as the GSCC is going to retain the responsibility for the training it will continue to emphasise the social.
    As for social workers being devalued – well, I think it is one of the unique roles that social workers had in adult services so there is that possibility. Phased out? I don’t think so as there is most definitely a role for social work.

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