Social Work England: A regulator worthy of our collective dissent




social work, regulation, Social Work England, continuous professional development, dissent


INTRODUCTION: In December 2019, Social Work England (SWE) officially took over as the regulator of the approximately 100,000 social workers in England. This article explores the foundations and first two years of SWE, suggesting that, as a regulator, it has earned the collective dissent of social workers.

APPROACH: Initially, a brief history of social work regulation in England is provided, before moving on to explore the founding of SWE and the makeup of the organisation. The regulator’s standards and rules, approach to consultation and representative role are also discussed.

DISCUSSION: This culminates in a discussion about the dissent that many social workers in England have already started to demonstrate towards SWE, with a particular focus on the new continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. The potential to translate this largely individual dissent into collective action and mutual support is explored.

Author Biography

Joe Hanley, The Open University, England

Joe Hanley is a soical work lecturer at The Open University, based in England.


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How to Cite

Hanley, J. (2022). Social Work England: A regulator worthy of our collective dissent. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 34(3), 48–60.



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