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Professional Capabilities Framework

The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) is an overarching professional standards framework, developed by the Social Work Reform Board and now owned by TCSW. The PCF:

  • Sets out consistent expectations of social workers at every stage in their career
  • Provides a backdrop to both initial social work education and continuing professional development after qualification
  • Informs the design and implementation of the national career structure
  • Gives social workers a framework around which to plan their careers and professional development.

Open the Professional Capabilites Framework


The PCF applies to all social workers in England (including independent social workers), in all roles and settings. For social workers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, National Occupational Standards for Social Work still apply.

In June 2014, TCSW published a set of additional capability statements for social workers involved in fostering and adoption to support high professional standards and best practice in fostering and adoption. Read the new guidance here in prose and table formats.

Whether you are a qualified social worker, a student, academic or employer, you need to know about the PCF - find out more on the following pages:

Together with Skills for Care and Development, we published a PCF app to support social workers in their practice. Find out more about how the app can help you and where to download it here. 

Additional PCF capability statements

Adoption and Fostering capabilities
Adoption and Fostering capability grid

© 2012 The College of Social Work. Updated versions of the PCF will be posted from time to time on our website. These documents or parts of them may be copied for personal, non-commercial use and training purposes, provided the original source is acknowledged and this copyright statement retained.