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The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has announced the launch of APSCo Compliance+, the only best practice quality standard for social work recruitment firms.

The new best practice standard will be available from 1st August and has been developed following extensive consultation with APSCo’s Social Work Sector Group members (formerly ASWEB) and external stakeholders including the British Association of Social Workers (“BASW”) the Health & Care Professions Council (“HCPC”), the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (“ESPO”), representative managed serviced providers (“MSPs”) and leading London Boroughs and city councils. APSCo’s fundamental aim is to produce an industry-wide, best practice benchmark for social work recruitment businesses, that sets the standard for providing high quality, appropriate staff and the safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Commenting on the launch, APSCo’s Head of Stakeholder Engagement Nick Bowles said; “Professional social work recruiters have this unique opportunity to take control of their sector and shape future practices by creating a new benchmark that manages the expectations of all the stakeholders involved. It is a chance to go beyond the statutory requirements and consider more closely the competency and suitability of every social worker placed”. He continued, “Our standard is designed with Ofsted and HCPC criteria in mind and will give local authorities and MSPs confidence that their recruitment partners in the supply chain are working to the highest of standards providing the best suited, best trained and hence, safest candidates. It has been a huge advantage to have so many of the key associations and end clients involved in its development.”

Anthony Francis, Recruitment Manager, HR Service for Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames & London Borough of Richmond also welcomed the development of the new standard, commenting; “Compliance+ for Social Work allows firms in this specialist sector to self-regulate, demonstrate improving quality and evidence best practice. This enhances the credibility to the recruitment profession, permitting those recruitment businesses that are audited to the new strict criteria to be seen as HR partners and actively involved in raising standards.”

With Central Government taking a close look at the potential outsourcing of social work to third-parties, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) acknowledged that it has never been more important for the local authorities using these specialist services to have the reassurance of a substantial standard to help them engage with recruitment partners, whether directly or through their MSP. “The development of Compliance+ is an example of APSCo leading the field in the development of high quality recruitment practices for agency social work staff. It provides security for social workers, the recruitment firm, the teams where they work and the people who use these services. We hope it will become the industry standard.” Bridget Robb, Chief Executive, BASW.

About APSCo

APSCo is the membership body that is dedicated to representing professional recruitment in the UK. It was formed to give all firms involved in the recruitment of professional talent who have a commitment to excellence, the specialist support and distinctive voice they need to be successful. It gives candidates and employers a trusted badge of quality whilst providing member firms with an innovative range of services designed for them by recruitment experts. These services, combined with its growing international profile, commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility and opportunities for professional networking give APSCo members a unique opportunity to develop their businesses and gain competitive advantage (

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