Assessed and Supported Year of Employment Advice for Newly Qualified Social Workers – England – Source BASW 2013-05-28

BASW_UKThe Assessed and Supported Year of Employment (ASYE) was a recommendation of the Social Work Reform Board (SWRB). The ASYE followed on from a previous scheme called NQSW. The ASYE is designed to support social workers who have recently qualified improve and develop their practice.

There is a lot of information about ASYE available on the Skills for Care web site and the Department of Education web site. The Skills for Care site provides information for qualified social workers working, or wanting to work in adult services and the Department of Education web site information for those wanting to work or working in children’s services.

Skills for Care also have regional offices – look at the Skills for Care web site for your nearest regional office.

Because there is so much information contained on the above sites the following questions and answers are designed to highlight key aspects of ASYE, based on questions that BASW members have raised with the BASW England team.

Questions raised by NQSWs and other BASW members:

Q1. Is ASYE compulsory and if I don’t do it will I still be a qualified social worker?

ASYE is not compulsory, social workers are qualified when they complete and pass their degree in social work. However in time it may be that some employers will look more positively on those who have completed the ASYE

Q2. I can’t find a job as a qualified social worker; does that mean that I cannot undertake the ASYE?

You do not need to be employed in a post with the title “social worker” to undertake ASYE. It is perfectly possible to undertake the ASYE whilst working in a job that hasn’t got the title social worker. For example work in social care, education, housing, health. What has to be demonstrated in order to achieve the ASYE is that you are able to evidence capability in all the domains of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). BASW were involved with a range of organisations in the development of the PCF – more information on PCF is available on TCSW web site and on the BASW web site.

Q3. I qualified as a social worker in 2011, but wasn’t able to find a job as a social worker until 2012/ 2013, should I be doing ASYE?

The technical answer is that as you qualified before the ASYE programme came in then it is not necessary to undertake the programme. Whether you do consider undertaking ASYE will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • What you have been doing since qualifying. If you have been working in a post that has enabled you to develop your social work skills then ASYE may be less relevant
  • Whether your employer thinks doing ASYE may be of benefit to you (and if you think ASYE would be of benefit to you)

However is you don’t undertake ASYE and you are asked in the future why not you can simply say that when you qualified ASYE wasn’t available. What you should do however is to make sure that you keep on top of your CPD – have a plan and ensure that you will be able to meet the requirements of HCPC

Q4. My employer hasn’t heard of ASYE, what can I do?

This is a common problem, particularly for NQSWs who are not working in local authority adults or children’s departments. (And even if you have a job as a social worker in a local authority your manager may not have heard about ASYE)

What you should do is gather information about ASYE and then ask to speak to your manager or someone in the organisation with responsibility for continual professional development.

The response of employers will be variable. Some may say that they are not interested; others may want to know more. Don’t give up at the first attempt and if you are a BASW member we can advise you on this and if appropriate we can take up with your employer. At the end of the day employers – both those who are employing you as a social worker, or as a support worker do not have to let you undertake ASYE. However BASW are finding that many employees who explain the scheme well to employers are getting a positive response

Q5. My employer wants to know what they will get out of it by supporting me on ASYE?

There are a number of real selling points that you can make to your employer. These include:

  • £2,000 that goes to the employer for each person undertaking ASYE
  • The employer gets the assurance from knowing that NQSWs have to demonstrate their continued professional development, their capability and the increased learning and knowledge that comes with that
  • The employer can demonstrate that it is a good employer that supports staff with their CPD

Q6. My employer wants to know what are the costs to them of supporting me on ASYE?

ASYE can be undertaken in a variety of different ways. Ultimately ASYE is about ensuring that NQSWs receive opportunities to learn and reflect and apply that learning to practice, so there is no one model of how that can be achieved. Some employers will support ASYE to attend a “programme”, which a number of universities and employers have developed, or are developing. These programmes may have some input on particular issues from say a university department, or they may provide opportunities for those undertaking ASYE to meet together in groups and learn from each other. The £2,000 can be spent on access to these types of programmes. It is not compulsory that social workers undertaking the ASYE have to attend a designated programme

The recommendations for ASYE are that those undertaking it have a reduced case load, (this is referring to those people in designated social work posts who are undertaking it), and time for reflection and quality supervision. Reduced workloads and time for reflective supervision should be the right of newly qualified social workers anyway, so it can be argued that this should not be seen as a cost to the employer. We know that employers who invest in NQSWs reap the rewards of loyalty and commitment from staff. If you are working in a support worker role then some of these recommendations will need a degree of interpretation. For example if you are supporting a group of individuals or groups then it may not be possible to “reduce” the workload and it maybe that more aspects of the ASYE will need to be undertaken in one’s own time

Q7. Professional supervision – my employer is not able to provide me with a qualified social worker to provide professional supervision that can support my development and assess my capability against the PCF standards, what can I do?

An essential component of the ASYE is that NQSWs are given access to professional supervision and assessment from a qualified social worker. This can be given by a line manager, from someone else in the organisation, or if no one is available within the organisation from someone from outside the organisation

The £2,000 that the employer can receive for supporting an employee on ASYE can be used to buy in professional supervision from a social worker. BASW can help you find a social worker willing to undertake that role

Q8. I am on an ASYE programme and I am finding problems with it, for example I am not getting a reduced case load, or reflective supervision. What can I do about it?

This is a difficult question because lots of people in NQSW positions feel vulnerable. You may be worried that you will not be deemed competent, or that you will not receive a permanent contract if you complain. However it is not wise just to ignore problems. It maybe that your employer is not aware of your concerns and it maybe that talking to them dispassionately may help. Your employer also may not fully understand ASYE and again try and inform them about the scheme. However if these actions don’t work then do seek advice. If you are a BASW member you can talk things through with us and consider possible courses of action

Q9. Do supervisors / assessors for ASYE have to be Practice Assessors?

No they don’t, the only stipulation is that that the person assessing must be a qualified social worker. Many practice teachers are considering getting involved in assessing, but it is not a requirement. If your manager is a qualified social worker then they can do the assessment. However this may cause problems for some managers in terms of their time and their knowledge of the process. It maybe that the assessment can be shared between the manager and someone else, or that assessment is entirely undertaken by someone other than the manager

Q10. Is there a time limit for starting or completing the ASYE after graduation?

The recommendation of the SWRB is that NQSWs should complete ASYE within two years of qualification, unless there are specific reasons such as extended leave, or working part time. However BASW are of the view that the two year time table is only a recommendation. Many NQSWs are not getting work in a suitable post for say two years after qualification, or are finding that their employer is not supporting ASYE. BASW recommends that you talk to your employer about ASYE even if you are say two years post qualified. And to repeat you qualify to be a social worker on completion of your degree, not after ASYE.

Q11. I am employed by an agency, can I undertake ASYE?

A lot will depend on the views of the agency. Some agencies have supported social workers undertaking post qualification programmes in the past, and others haven’t. It is certainly worth talking to the agency and explaining ASYE to them.

Q12. Where can I get more information and advice from regarding my particular situation?

If you are a BASW member then please contact the England team on Ask BASW or email: If you are not a BASW member and are considering joining then we can also advise.

If you are not a BASW member then look at The Skills for Care (Adults) or Department of Education

Joe Godden is a Professional Officer of BASW.

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