Post-Qualifying Education for Social Workers: A Continuing Problem or a New Opportunity?

Jo Moriarty*, Jill Manthorpe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Between 1990 and 2012 there was a national system for regulating post-qualifying social work education in England. Since then social work has been expected to take a more flexible approach to continuing professional development (CPD) which recognises the contribution played by work-based and self-directed learning alongside higher education awards. While universities can continue to offer post-qualifying courses, it is envisaged that they will work more closely with employers in deciding what should be taught and how. This article is based on a scoping review of post-qualifying social work education in England which highlights the paucity of knowledge about the topic. Although achieving a post-qualifying award is associated with improved knowledge and confidence, little is known about the long-term effects on individuals, organisations and service users. There appears to be a complete absence of evidence on cost effectiveness. As yet, we know very little about the extent of self-directed CPD among social workers and current funding constraints are likely to limit the resources that organisations invest in CPD for their workforce. In a rapidly changing context, the article seeks to provide a baseline from which an agenda for future research into CPD among social workers can be shaped.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-411
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Work education
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)
  • Continuous Professional Development
  • Post-Qualifying Education
  • Regulation
  • Scoping Review


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