The Professional Capabilities Framework and contemporary debates: Implications for social work education in England


  • Martyn Higgins South Bank University



Abstract: The social work reform agenda sought to transform social work education. The aim was to make qualifying social work education effective at producing social workers fit for practice. A number of reforms have been implemented. These include among others the Professional Capabilities Framework. This framework provides a single set of standards for all social workers from initial qualification to advanced practice. The problem for social work reform and the Professional Capabilities Framework is that elements of the reform remain contested. Despite the implementation of the reforms in 2013 differences continue to exist about the nature and purpose of social work. The key message of this paper is that reconfiguring the Professional Capabilities Framework within Sen’s capabilities or human development approach will provide social work education with a more comprehensive foundation with which to engage effectively with contemporary debates about social work education.

Keywords: professional capabilities framework; Sen; Naussbaum; capabilities approach; human development model

Author Biography

Martyn Higgins, South Bank University

Associate Professor, School of Health and Social Care


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How to Cite

Higgins, M. (2018). The Professional Capabilities Framework and contemporary debates: Implications for social work education in England. The Journal of Practice Teaching and Learning, 15(1), 6-23.