House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Care Standards Bill [H.L.] - continued          House of Commons

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Nurses' Agencies Act 1957

330. The current arrangements for nurses' agencies are set out in the Nurses Agencies Act 1957 and associated regulations. In order to operate, agencies have to be licensed. The licensing authority is the County or Borough Council, and in many cases this duty has been delegated to District Councils. The principal requirement regarding conduct of an agency on the face of the 1957 Act is that the selection of each nurse for each placement must be made by, or under the supervision of, a qualified nurse. The Nurses Agencies Regulations 1961 (as amended) set out the classes of nurse that agencies can supply, the form that applications for registration should take, the records agencies should keep and the registration and annual fees payable.

Regulation of Professional Social Work Training

331. There are approximately one million people who work in social care. The large majority have no recognised qualifications or training, and there are no nationally agreed standards of practice or conduct. A relatively small number of these million or so workers are employed as social workers. The majority of social workers have a professional qualification, which may be the Diploma in Social Work (DipSW), the current qualification, or its predecessors, the Certificate of Social Services and the Certificate of Qualification in Social Work. The training of social workers is currently regulated by the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW).

332. CCETSW was originally established under the Health Visiting and Social Work (Training) Act 1962, under the name of "the Council for Training in Social Work". It has undergone two major changes since then, and was established in its present form under section 10 of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983 (the HASSASSA Act).

333. CCETSW's functions are concerned with training in relevant social work, with some additional functions. 'Relevant social work' is defined in section 10(16) to mean such social work as is required in connection with health, education or social services provided by local authorities, voluntary organisations and certain Northern Ireland bodies, or in connection with the probation service. The functions are set out in section 10(3) of the HASSASSA Act as follows:

    10 (3) To promote training in relevant social work by:

    (a) seeking to secure facilities for training persons in such work,

    (b) approving courses as suitable to be attended by persons engaged, or intending to engage, in such work; and

    (c) seeking to attract persons to such courses.

334. Approvals for courses are made in accordance with the CCETSW's rules, which are made by CCETSW and approved by the Privy Council. The approval process may include specifying subjects to be included in the course and specifying the conditions for admissions to the courses. Section 10(6)(a) empowers the Council to conduct examinations for approved courses. Section 10(4)(b) gives CCETSW the power to make a professional social work award to students who successfully complete one of the courses it regulates.

335. If CCETSW considers that the provision of training is inadequate, it has power in section 10(5) to provide or to secure provision of courses for this purpose, although in practice sufficient courses have come forward seeking CCETSW's approval. There is a further power in section 10(6)(b) to enable the Council to carry out, or assist others in carrying out research into relevant social work training.

336. In order to attract people to the courses, section 10(7) enables the Council to make grants and pay travelling and other allowances to people resident in Great Britain, to enable them to take up training. This power extends to Great Britain only; the Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland continues to award grants directly to residents of Northern Ireland who undertake social work training.

337. Section 10(11) enables the Secretary of State to confer additional functions on CCETSW by regulation. This has been exercised once, through the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (Functions) Regulations 1991 (SI 1991 No 1123). The effect of these regulations is to extend CCETSW's powers to include responsibility for training in the private sector.

338. Schedule 3 of the HASSASSA Act sets out the constitution of CCETSW, including membership of the Council, its committees, proceedings, staff, payment of allowances to members and arrangements for accounts and audit. CCETSW is funded by grant-in-aid to cover approved

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Prepared: 10 April 2000