The right kind of scrutiny

July 22, 2010

Good regulation of the rules that govern behaviour and practice may help standardise social work education. However, moves towards more open and transparent regulation run the risk of providing mere window-dressing based on anecdote rather than substantive evidence ("Greater transparency: council exposes social work findings to public scrutiny", 15 July).

It is imperative that professional regulators align themselves with Quality Assurance Agency and university processes if they are not inadvertently to render them nugatory in the eyes of the public; this has implications for public confidence in the academy as a whole. There is an opportunity for alignment rather than fragmentation of regulatory processes, and the potential to enhance internal university powers in respect of regulating professional programmes. One hopes that greater public scrutiny and intervention will not merely increase academic workloads and detract from the educative and research roles so important to social work itself.

Jonathan Parker, Professor of social work, Bournemouth University.

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