Professional Capability Framework

Professional Capabilities Framework

Each resource on The Social Work Toolkit has been mapped against the Professional Capabilities Framework.

We have chosen to map to the level of end of last placement for social work qualifying programmes, which equates to qualifying social work level.

The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) was developed by the Social Work Reform Board (SWRB). It serves as a backdrop to both qualifying social work education, and continuing professional development after qualification. The PCF has been developed by social workers, and is owned by The College of Social Work on behalf of the profession.

The PCF applies to all social workers in England - in all roles and settings, including independent social workers. For Social Workers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland other standards apply.

For more information about the PCF please visit the College of Social Work site.


Click on the links below to access specific resources that relate to particular PCF domains.

  • Effective social work communication and the professional value base
  • ''...she spends most the time gazing around the room...''
  • ''All I could see was a posh woman in a suit...''
  • Meeting a service user for the first time
  • Communicating effectively: what would you do?
  • The dos and don'ts of using the telephone
  • ''Are you ok to talk? I can hear voices in the background.''
  • How well do you think social workers listen?
  • ''...she listened to me, and to my surprise, acknowledged she could see how I might feel that way...''
  • Thedos and don'ts of listening
  • Skills in working with children and families
  • Managing the focus of the interview
  • Confidentiality and accessing information
  • How do you prepare to end your placement?
  • As service users, how are you involved in assessing fitness for practice?
  • Receiving feedback from service users
  • Effective supervision on placement
  • What I expect from our supervision sessions
  • Facing the challenge
  • What does being professional mean to you?
  • What qualities or attributes do you think social workers should have?
  • Putting professional values into practice
  • How has the Code of Ethics influenced your practice?
  • ''All of a sudden, Petra seemed to rush in and completely take over.''
  • Partnership with service users: the legal perspective
  • Overcoming barriers to effective planning
  • Do you feel involved in assessment as a service user?
  • What lessons did you learn from your first assessment?
  • ''I have been asked to meet Brian to review his situation...''
  • Ending intervention
  • Ending intervention: a social worker's viewpoint
  • Why might a service user become dependent on a social worker?
  • Practising critically
  • Using research to inform practice
  • The Compleat Social Worker: the well-rounded practitioner
  • Everyday ethics
  • How well do you listen?
  • ''...you'll always learn something new, so never give up an opportunity...''
  • What do I need to learn from placement?
  • How do you take responsibility for your own learning on placement?
  • The dos and don'ts of creating and using your learning agreement
  • Your placement glossary
  • How will the relationship with your practice educator progress through placements?
  • Adult learning
  • ''...I should try and stretch myself beyond my comfort zone...''
  • What are your hints and tips for creating a portfolio?
  • Reflecting on your evidence
  • ''It really feels like the placement is falling apart around me...''
  • Why might a student fail, or be at risk, of failing a placement?
  • What practical advice would you give a student who was worried about failing?
  • As service users, how are you involved in assessing fitness for practice?
  • Is reflective practice a practical reality
  • Reflecting on practice
  • Receiving feedback from service users
  • Receiving feedback from your practice educator
  • The dos and don'ts of writing a reflective diary
  • ''I am disheartened by the lack of enthusiasm''
  • Effective supervision on placement
  • What I expect from our supervision sessions
  • How do you find group supervision on placement?
  • How can students get the most out of group supervision?
  • Self-assessing your professional development
  • Facing the challenge
  • Working in a multi-disciplinary team: a case study
  • ''It turns out people think I am too single-minded...''
  • Putting professional values into practice
  • Using research to inform practice
  • Effective social work communication and the professional value base
  • Skills in working with children and families
  • Using different question types
  • Handling conflicting expectations in a multidisciplinary setting.
  • What does being professional mean to you?
  • Reconciling your personal and professional values
  • How has the Code of Ethics influenced your practice?
  • ''He told me that I had allowed him to be himself...''
  • ''All of sudden, Petra seemed to rush in and completely take over.''
  • Working in partnership
  • Partnership with service users: the legal perspective
  • How can social workers promote good practice when working with gay, lesbian and bisexual service users?
  • What do you feel the attitude to risk is in social work?
  • How does a social worker assess needs without disempowering the service user?
  • Do you feel involved in assessment as a service user?
  • Engaging and assessing in social care
  • ''I have been asked to meet Brian to review his situation...''
  • Why might a service user become dependent on a social worker?
  • How well do you think social workers listen?
  • Do you agree with the centre manager's decision?
  • ''It was difficult to know how far to try and persuade or even coerce Mrs Brown...''
  • How do you approach decision making on placement?
  • Assessment and Intervention
  • Working with involuntary service users
  • Establishing a day in the life of a school age child
  • The care system from the inside
  • Being seen through the eyes of professionals
  • Negotiation and resistance: It's all about the child
  • The Compleat Social Worker: the well-rounded practitioner
  • Effective social work communication and the professional value base
  • Communicating effectively: what would you do?
  • ''...she listened to me, and to my surprise, acknowledged she could see how I might feel that way...''
  • Skills in working with children and families
  • ''These guys were not aggressive, in fact quite the opposite.''
  • How might reluctance or resistance manifest itself in a service user's behaviour or actions?
  • How can you begin to build a relationship with a reluctant or resistant service user?
  • Working in a multi-disciplinary team: a case study
  • What qualities or attributes do you think social workers should have?
  • Do you agree with the centre manager's decision?
  • ''It was difficult to know how far to try and persuade or even coerce Mrs Brown...''
  • Assessing risk: what would you do?
  • What do you feel the attitude to risk is in social work?
  • Assessing needs
  • Genograms
  • The psychodynamic approach
  • The behavioural/cognitive behavioural approach
  • The person-centred approach
  • The task-centred-approach
  • Crisis intervention
  • The solution-focused approach
  • ''I'm beginning to think the day centre is just not as good as it once was.''
  • How did a social worker's intervention support you in taking control of your own life?
  • Lifemaps
  • Ecomaps
  • Culturagrams
  • Psychosocial understandings of resilience and shame
  • Assessing parental care-giving
  • Psychosocial perspectives on the lifecourse
  • Attachment theory across the lifecourse
  • Models of disability
  • Ecological theories of human development
  • A theoretical perspective on social work and substance use
  • Living with a dementia diagnosis
  • Relationships and trust
  • The care system from the inside
  • A positive experience of foster care
  • Safeguarding older people
  • Risk factors in child development
  • Being seen through the eyes of professionals
  • The impact of childhood bullying
  • Attitudes to deafness
  • Observing babies and young children
  • Negotiation and resistance: It's all about the child
  • How have you used your communication skills to build a relationship with a new service user?
  • Effective social work communication and the professional value base
  • ''...she spends most of the gazing around the room...''
  • ''All I could see was a posh woman in a suit...''
  • The practitioner relationship and emotional intelligence
  • Communicating effectively: what would you do?
  • The dos and don'ts of using the telephone
  • ''Are you ok to talk? I can hear voices in the background.''
  • The dos and don'ts of using email
  • ''...she listened to me, and to my surprise, acknowledged she could see how I might feel that way...''
  • ''To begin with, I'd like you to tell me a little bit about what actually happened.''
  • The dos and don'ts of listening
  • Skills in working with children and families
  • Using different question types
  • Skills to check understanding
  • Managing the focus of the interview
  • How have you coped with communication difficulties on placement?
  • Overcoming barriers to communication
  • ''These guys were not aggressive, in fact quite the opposite.''
  • How can you begin to build a relationship with a reluctant/resistant service user?
  • How to conduct an interview with an interpreter present
  • As a person with hearing difficulties, how do you expect a social worker to communicate with you?
  • Communication difficulties
  • Working in a multi-disciplinary team: a case study
  • What does being professional mean to you?
  • What qualities or attributes do you think social workers should have?
  • Preparing to meet with service users
  • The psychodynamic approach
  • The person-centred approach
  • The task-centred approach
  • Crisis intervention
  • The solution-focused approach
  • Professional writing in social work
  • Communicating with children
  • The community dimension of working with an interpreter
  • Establishing a day in the life of a school age child
  • Asking informed questions to build a relationship with a service user
  • How have you used your communication skills to build a relationship with a new service user?
  • Effective social work communication and the professional value base
  • ''...she spends most of the time gazing around the room...''
  • ''All I could see was a posh woman in a suit...''
  • Meeting a service user for the first time
  • The practitioner relationship and emotional intelligence
  • Communicating effectively: what would you do?
  • The dos and don'ts of using the telephone
  • ''Are you ok to talk? I can hear voices in the background.''
  • The dos and don'ts of using email
  • How well do you think social workers listen?
  • ''...she listened to me, and to my surprise, acknowledged she could see how I might feel that way...''
  • How well do you listen?
  • The dos and don'ts of listening
  • Skills in working with children and families
  • Using different question types
  • Skills to check understanding
  • Managing the focus of the interview
  • ''To begin with, I'd like you to tell me a little bit about what actually happened.''
  • How have you coped with communication difficulties on placement?
  • Overcoming barriers to communication
  • ''These guys were not aggressive, in fact quite the opposite.''
  • How can you begin to build a relationship with a reluctant/resistant service user?
  • How to conduct an interview with an interpreter present
  • As a person with hearing difficulties, how do you expect a social worker to communicate with you?
  • Communication difficulties
  • How do you prepare to end a placement?
  • Working in a multi-disciplinary team: a case study
  • What qualities or attributes do you think social workers should have?
  • Putting professional values into practice
  • Reconciling your personal and professional values
  • ''I felt this blurred the professional boundaries...''
  • Working in partnership
  • Partnership with service users: the legal perspective
  • Social work values and working with difference
  • How can social workers promote good practice when working with gay, lesbian and bisexual service users?
  • Preparing to meet with service users
  • Overcoming barriers to effective planning
  • The psychodynamic approach
  • The person-centred approach
  • The task-centred approach
  • Crisisintervention
  • The solution-focused approach
  • Ending intervention
  • Ending intervention: a social worker's viewpoint
  • Why might a service user become dependent on a social worker?
  • Assessment and Intervention
  • Working with involuntary service users
  • Managing professional boundaries
  • Communicating with children
  • Living with a dementia diagnosis
  • Relationships and trust
  • Asking informed questions to build a relationship with a service user
  • Communicating effectively: what would you do?
  • ''Are you ok to talk? I can hear voices in the background.''
  • Using different question types
  • Skills to check understanding
  • Managing the focus of the interview
  • ''To begin with, I'd like you to tell me a little bit about what actually happened.''
  • How have you coped with communication difficulties on placement?
  • Overcoming barriers to communication
  • ''These guys were not aggressive, in fact quite the opposite.''
  • How can you begin to build a relationship with a reluctant/resistant service user?
  • Communication difficulties
  • Working in a multi-disciplinary team: a case study
  • Putting professional values into practice
  • Working in partnership
  • Risk assessment
  • Assessing risk: what would you do?
  • ''...I had to be critically aware of the processes involved in making sound decisions...''
  • What lessons did you learn from your first assessment?
  • Effective assessment processes
  • The assessment task and process: factors that promote and inhibit child focus
  • The psychodynamic approach
  • The behavioural/cognitive behavioural approach
  • The person-centred approach
  • The task-centred approach
  • Crisis intervention
  • The solution-focused approach
  • ''I'm beginning to think the day centre is just not as good as it once was.''
  • ''I barely had capacity to spend significant time on my other cases.''
  • Helpful areas of work and useful interventions with carers
  • ''I have been asked to meet Brian to review his situation...''
  • Genograms
  • Lifemaps
  • Ecomaps
  • Culturagrams
  • Asking informed questions to build a relationship with a service user