Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Portfolio Grade 9 to 10

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Portfolio Grade 9 to 10

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Portfolio Grade 9 to 10

Handbook for Social Workers in Children’s and Adults’ Services

  1. Aim

The completion of a portfolio of evidence provides a fair and consistent process by which the social worker can be assessed against the capability statements applicable to an experienced social worker on the PCF. This is a requirement of West Sussex County Council to enable the social worker to advance to Grade 10 Senior Social Worker.


Social workers across Adults’ and Children’s Services who have successfully completed the Assessed and Supported year in Employment or, (prior to September 2012) the Consolidation Module and first year in practice, will plan their continuous professional development using a structured approach based on the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF).

Portfolios may be submitted no earlier than 2.5 years after the candidate has qualified as a social worker (1.5 years after completion of ASYE or PQ Consolidation)

The portfolio is aimed at -

Social Workers across Adults’ and Children’swho have successfully completed the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).

or (prior to September 2012) the Consolidation Module and first year in practice.

or for experienced Social Workers who do not have Post Qualifying Qualifications.

or AMHP Social Workers who are completing or have completed the AMHP modules.

Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHP) will be required to successfully complete 4 set AMHP training modules in order to qualify in this specialist area. Before progression to grade 10 can take place, the AMHP will have completed the 4 mandatory modules, a portfolio for CPD and have a minimum of 2.5 to 3 years post qualifying experience.

Social Workers within Adults’ Services who have completed the Best Interests Assessor route can submit this work within the portfolio to avoid repetition.

Social Workers undertaking the CPD portfolio will be required to produce an evidence file to demonstrate that their practice meets:

The Standards of Proficiencyof the Health and Care Professions Council for Social Workers in England;

The Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics of the Health and Care Professions Council;

The capabilities of an “Experienced Social Worker” as defined within the

Professional Capabilities Framework.

The portfolio will provide evidence of the social worker’s commitment to

continuous professional development and the ability to demonstrate how this has contributed to the development of their professional capability.

It is theresponsibility of the social worker to complete the portfolio, supported by their line manager/supervisor.

As a number of Social Workers will be completing the portfolio within your service at the same time, Learning and Development suggest buddying up with colleagues and/or developing informal support groups. This could encourage wider discussion and debate around theory and social work practice.

3.Underlying Principles

The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) was developed by the Social Work Reform Board, as the single way in which social workers should think about and plan their careers and professional development. It will serve as a backdrop to both initial social work education and continuing professional development after qualification.

All registered social workers have a responsibility, throughout their careers, to maintain their professional development and learning and to keep their knowledge and skills up to date.

Social workers also have a professional responsibility, set out in the PCF, to contribute to the development of the next generation of social workers. You can do this through supervision and support for students on placement, giving feedback on practice, or allowing shadowing opportunities.

Due to the complexity of social work practice, requiring interplay of knowledge, skills and values, the nine domains of the PCF should be seen as interdependent, not separate. Thus there are overlaps between capabilities and understanding what a social worker does can only be complete by taking into account all nine capabilities.

The candidate will contribute evidence for assessment but the professional judgement ofsufficiency must be made by the social worker’s line manager, who must be a registered social worker. In the event that any social worker is not managed by a registered social worker, alternative arrangements will be made for a practice assessor to work with the candidate’s work based supervisor to meet the assessment requirement.

4.Contents of the Practice Evidence Portfolio

The social worker can request reasonable study time to complete the portfolio. This should be discussed at the time of completing the Learning Agreement, including the steps agreed to ensure any possible impact on service delivery and how this is to be managed, is set out. As a guide, a maximum of the 3 study leave days per 12 month period(pro-rata for Part Time staff) may be allocated. The social worker should apply for agreement for specific days through Employee Self Service as usual, as (paid) Special Leave.

The confidentiality and anonymity of all information relating to service users is critical and the social worker must state explicitly how they have ensured this within the portfolio.

The social worker should include a brief personal statement that sets out the context of the portfolio of evidence that they are compiling. This can include:

  • The area of practice in which the social worker is employed
  • The agency and team context of their role
  • Roles undertaken while compiling the portfolio
  • Any previous roles from which evidence has been drawn

The portfolio should include a statement from the social worker describing how feedback from service users and colleagues has been obtained and how this has contributed to their learning and development. (Max. 250 words)

The portfolio will contain the following elements:

  • Student’s confidentiality statement
  • Social workers Self-Assessmentat start of portfolio: this is a template to enable the social worker to map their strengths and development needs against the Capability Statements at “Experienced Social Worker” level to inform their Personal Development Plan at the start of working towards their portfolio.
  • Learning agreement completed at start of portfolio: the social worker and their supervisor will agree and sign this at the point when the candidate starts to work towards their portfolio. It ensures that the process of learning and assessment, opportunities to meet learning needs are identified and support and study leave are agreed.
  • Critical career review and self-evaluation:this is intended to provide a critical reflection on your career to date, focusing on achievements and strengths as well as how you might have done things differently or to better effect. The emphasis will be on personal reflection on the nature of social work, the mechanisms and tools that the social worker uses to judge the quality of their work, the changing nature of social work nationally and locally and the impact of this on the social worker, tools and methods used to develop practice. This should not be a chronological account of your career, although reference to this is likely to be included. Specific reference should be made to the Professional Capabilities Framework and the HCPC Standards of Practice (1,500 words)
  • Critical self reflection:this builds on and supports the critical career review, but instead of relating your development to the nature of social work and national/local developments, you should critically reflect on your own skills, values and knowledge. You should refer to the Professional Capabilities Framework and the HCPC Standards of Practice; use these as a guide to support your critical self-reflection and also to demonstrate your development. (1,500 words)
  • 3 reflective commentaries: these allow the social worker to provide a critical analysis and reflection on a particular piece of their own practice. Each case study should include:
  • a brief description of the context
  • identification of the key issues,
  • use of theory/legislation to inform practice,
  • current research methods,
  • service user involvement/participation,
  • multi-agency working,
  • anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice.

(1,500 words each - if you have completed the BIA or the AMHP modules,

only 1 reflective commentarywill be required in the portfolio.)

  • 3 direct observations of practice: to ensure a robust and accurate approach to assessment, one observation should be completed by an independent assessor, i.e. a registered experienced social worker other than the main assessor. Assessment of practice will be based on the attached template which includes critical reflection and learning by the social worker in relation to both the practice experience and feedback from the observer.
  • Up to date CPD profile: using the HCPC pro-forma covering the period of the portfolio and describing how your CPD activities improve the quality of your work and the benefits to service users. (HCPC CPD Profile Template)
  • Feedback from Service Users and Carers: as well as some examples of specific feedback, the social worker should include a statement of how feedback from service users and carers has contributed to professional development in line with the PCF
  • Performance Development Review:PDR completed during the period of the portfolio, demonstrating achievement of targets and overall rating of level 3 or above in the latest PDR completed.
  • Supervision Verification Log: Children’s Services social workers should add the Verification Log from their supervision policy guidelines. Those in adult services should provide a list of their supervision dates, unless specific guidance is given by the service at a future date.
  • 2 case file audits:identify two cases that you have worked on which demonstrate that you are working towards meeting the level of ‘Experienced Social Worker’ and request that your supervisor audits these. This is not part of the audit process being introduced to adult services, but supervisors can follow the same guidance they receive about this process. Those in children’s services can follow the system they currently use.
  • Assessment by line manager: relating to “Experienced Social Worker”level on the PCF
  1. Assessment

The assessment and verification of the portfolio (appendix 6) will be conducted by the Line Manager (or agreed registered and experienced social worker where the line manager is not a registered social worker) and Service/Operations Manager.

No external verification is required.

All social works must have a minimum 2.5 to 3 years post qualifying experience prior to verification and progression to Grade 10.

Assessment will be based on the capability statements for an “Experienced social worker” as set out in the Professional Capabilities Framework.

This includes the following over-arching statement:

Experienced social workers are more autonomous in their role. They demonstrate expert and effective practice in complex situations, assessing and managing higher levels of risk, striking a balance between support and control, liaising with a wide range of professionals, including more senior levels. They manage complex caseloads, and offer expert opinion within the organisation and to others. They chair a range of meetings, offer expert support to case conferences, and produce high quality assessments and reports for a range of functions. They model good practice, setting expectations for others. They start to take responsibility and be accountable for the practice of others, mentoring newly qualified social workers and supervising the work of junior staff. They undertake capacity-building with individuals, families, communities, user groups and voluntary organisations, and contribute their views on service provision to commissioners.

‘Holistic assessment’ is a recognised approach for assessing practice in these circumstances. This is characterised by:

  • Assessment that is progressive over time
  • Evidence should demonstrate sufficiency and depth across all nine domains
  • PCF capability statements can be used diagnostically to identify learning and development needs
  • The assessment process must be trustworthy, reliable and transparent
  • Evidence includes the ability to reflect critically, including reference to different sources of knowledge and research.
  • Evidence will come from a variety of sources over time[1]

Evidence submitted to the line manager to support the portfolio will include work products that demonstrate the social worker’s ability to manage complexity, risk, ambiguity and increasingly autonomous decision making across a range of situations. This will include:

  • Confidence, underpinned by practice experience, reflection and deepening understanding
  • The ability to work independently and to collaborate on equal terms with members of other professions
  • The quality of judgements made and the ability to explain and justify them
  • Efficacy of the work undertaken and the outcomes achieved, including opportunities for preventive work
  • The ability to take initiative, form constructive alliances and to act as change agent
  • The ability to engage effectively with situations of increasing complexity and challenge, for example those with:

Multi-agency input

Complex family/organisational dynamics

Serious hostility and conflicts of interest

Multiple problems/disadvantages

Multiple/significant risk factors

Need to take into account the public interest

  • The appropriate use of authority and challenge
  • It may include the ability and commitment to educate and provide professional supervision to others, such as in the role of practice educator.[2]

The Line Manager will make a recommendation as to whether or not the social worker has provided sufficient evidence of their practice at the level of Experienced Social Worker and has therefore, met the requirements for a pass. This recommendation will be verified by the Service/Operations Manager.

Subject to the above, the Line Manager will complete the Social Worker Progression Formand submit this to Employment Services. They will arrange for the social worker to advance to Grade 10 on either SCP35 or 36, whichever gives the next incremental pay increase to Grade 10.

Appeal process

In the event of the Line Manager assessing a portfolio as “requires further development” and where the Social Worker has a difference of opinion on the assessment and feedback received, they may submit in writing to their applicable Principal Manager (Children’s) or Head of Health and Social Care Practice (Adults’) setting out the reasons for appeal.

This must be done within 10 working days of receiving notification by the Line Manager who assessed the portfolio. The decision of the applicable Principal Manager or Head of Health and Social Care Practice will be final.


Appendix 1: Resources/electronic links and suggested reading

Appendix 2: Portfolio checklist

Appendix 3: Social Worker’s self-assessment

Appendix 4: Learning agreement

Appendix 5: Template for direct observation

Appendix 6: Template for assessment by line manager report

Appendix 1:

Resources from the College of Social Work:

The College for Social Work:

The Professional Capabilities Framework:


Developing your social work practice using the PCF; Integrated Critical analysis and reflective practice:


Progression between PCF levels:


Understanding what is meant by Holistic Assessment:


Principles for gathering and using feedback from people who use services and those who care for them:


PCF Capabilities, experienced social worker level:


Table showing capability statements for different levels:


Sources of further information and guidance:

Department for Education:

Skills for Care:

Health and Care Professions Council – CPD pages:

Social Care Institute for Excellence:

Centre for Excellence in Outcomes for Children: policy and practice examples:

Research in Practice:

Department of Health:

West Sussex Learning and Development Gateway:

Appendix 2:

Portfolio Checklist

Evidence / Included
Yes/No / Standard
achieved / Comments/further
evidence needed
Confidentiality statement
Social worker’s Self-Assessment (Appendix 3)
Learning agreement (Appendix 4)
Critical career review
(1,500 words)
Critical self-evaluation.
(1,500 words)
3 x reflective commentaries
(1,500 words each)
(if you have completed the
BIA, or AMHP modulesonly 1
reflective commentary is
3 x direct observations of practice, including one by an alternative assessor (Appendix 5)
Up to date CPD profile
Feedback from Service Users and Carers – minimum of 3 plus statement by social worker
Performance Development Review
Supervision verification log
2 case file audits
Assessment by line manager (Appendix 6)

Appendix 3:

Self-assessment template for social workers prior to embarking on CPD portfolio

This form is intended for electronic completion. Answer spaces will expand to accommodate text.

Professionalism - Experienced Social Worker - Social workers are members of an internationally recognised profession, a title protected in UK law. Social workers demonstrate professional commitment by taking responsibility for their conduct, practice and learning, with support through supervision. As representatives of the social work profession they safeguard its reputation and are accountable to the professional regulator.
Capability Statement / Options for meeting identified learning needs
Be able to meet the requirements of the professional regulator / HCPC registration and CPD profile
Model the social work role, set expectations for others and contribute to the public face of the organisation.
Expect supervision that covers practice, organisational and management aspects of role, applying critical reflection throughout
Model and help others to demonstrate professionalism
Model and help others with effective workload management skills
Model and help others to maintain professional/personal boundaries and skilled use of self
Maintain awareness of own professional limitations and knowledge gaps. Establish a network of internal and external colleagues from whom to seek advice and expertise.
Contribute to a learning environment for self, team and, colleagues
Recognise andseek ways to promote well-being for team and colleagues