Capabilities Statement

This Capabilities Statement (the Statement) sets out the knowledge, skills and values that social workers need to work well with older people. The Statement was developed by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) in partnership with stakeholders, including social workers and older people, those who support them as carers and family members, and relevant organisations. The Statement is owned by the social work profession, through BASW. It is endorsed by the Department of Health and implemented by the adult social care sector.

The Statement sets out enhanced capabilities for five different levels of a social work career, based on the levels in the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) for social workers in England. These are at:

  • Qualification
  • The end of the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)
  • Social worker to experienced social worker level
  • Advanced level
  • Strategic level

The main capabilities are aimed at social workers and experienced social workers who work directly with older people in any setting. This is where particular knowledge, skills and values relating to older people are most required.

The capabilities do not duplicate social work registration standards, the capabilities in the Professional Capabilities Framework or the Knowledge and Skills Statement for social workers in adult services. Instead they provide more specific and detailed capabilities that enhance social work with older people. Many social workers who work with older people also work with younger adults and families. Social workers in any role can look at the capabilities and see how, in particular, they can develop in order to work well with older people.

The Statement aims to enhance social work development and recognition in this essential area of social work. The capabilities reflect what the evidence suggests will promote older people’s well-being. Developing individual capabilities requires a commitment to continuing professional development (CPD) by social workers. It also requires appropriate support from educators, managers, employers and government. Alongside this Statement there is a CPD Pathway that sets out how social workers can learn and develop, and be supported to acquire the capabilities in the Statement.

Use the drop down menu on the Professional Development tab to: