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Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF)

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

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 - in all roles and settings, including independent social workers.For Social Workers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland National Occupational Standards for SW still apply.

The PCF is currently made up of 9 domains, all with 9 levels within it. Find out more below:

The HCPC Standards of Practice for Social Worker (SoPS) in England and the PCF

The College and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) have jointly mapped the HCPC standards against the PCF expectations for social work students at the end of their last placement/qualifying level, to demonstrate the inter-relationship between the two.

How the SoPS and PCF relate to each other  

Download the PCF mobile app

PCF App hand

To download the Apple version, search ‘PCF’ in the App store. Download the Android version here.

  © 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.