In an article published today in Community Care, we are told that Hackney director Alan Wood recently suggested social workers should be graded individually as part of inspections, and that social workers should learn from models in education.

Not unsurprisingly, the recommendation upset the social work sector, with some taking the view that it was not Ofsted’s job to monitor individuals, and that this kind of grading had been unsuccessful in other sectors. Others though, disagreed, and felt individual grading, however implemented, would force the sector to look at their practice across the country and would drive standards up.

We happen to agree.

Looking carefully at individual social workers would allow for improvements not only for individuals inside the system but for the sector as a whole. It will highlight ongoing cultural and practice-based weaknesses and if the grading system is constructive and positive, would bolster social work and allow service users to benefit too.

Crucially, we also happen to think that it will create pride within local authority and social work teams, something which has been missing inside the sector as a whole. Social work deserves the same level of scrutiny and support as every other sector working with vulnerable adults and children. It also needs to work on gaining nationwide respect – it is not good enough that a few excellent teams continue to carry the entire profession.

Do you agree?

Keep calm