Standards & Quality Assurance

The NISCC Workforce Development Team carries out quality assurance checks on all NISCC approved social work education/training in Northern Ireland to ensure that it is consistent with our requirements.

NISCC Quality Assurance Framework

The NISCC Quality Assurance Framework for Education & Training Regulated by NISCC outlines the principles and procedures for the approval and regulation of NISCC approved social work education and training (Degree, Practice Learning & Professional in Practice (PiP)). It ensures that:

  • Social workers are trained to the highest standards to provide safe and effective practice linked to the NISCC‟s registration requirements;
  • Teaching, learning and practice is fit for purpose;
  • There is effective service user and carer participation in education and training provision;
  • There is a coordinated approach with regulators of social work service provision for example, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA); 
  • Continuous improvement is evident in education and training provision through monitoring and review including thematic reviews.

Principles underpinning the quality assurance system

NISCC regulation of social work education and training, the NISCC is based on the following principles:

  • Continuous improvement
  • Efficiency and effectiveness
  • Consistency
  • Transparency

Thematic Reviews

NISCC undertakes thematic reviews that will apply across all provision. These thematic reviews may be dictated by, for example, issues raised by employers or issues that have been identified through RQIA inspections and by other relevant inspection bodies. The NISCC may also undertake ad hoc reviews if there are concerns about any area of provision. An independent visitor and a representative of service user or carer interests will be appointed to contribute to thematic reviews. For post qualifying training provision this may include visits to training providers.

Periodic Review

Following initial approval of a provider, the NISCC will undertake regular reviews of provision. The frequency of reviews will depend on the risk assessment of the quality of the provision.


Where annual monitoring continues to be satisfactory, the periodic review period for the Degree in Social Work will be five years. All provision within the NI PQ Framework will normally be re-approved on a five year basis, subject to satisfactory ongoing annual monitoring in the interim period. Where the academic revalidation cycle is on a six year basis, the NISCC will seek to accommodate this timescale

Outcomes of the quality assurance system

The NISCC QA system will ensure that:

  • Regulated education and training provision meets the NISCC‟s Rules, Standards and Requirements;
  • Social work training at qualifying and post qualifying levels is fit for purpose;
  • Action is taken where problems are identified with the process and/or outcomes of provision;
  • An ethos of continuous improvement is promoted. An annual report will be produced for Council on the outcomes of the NISCC‟s quality assurance system.

Associated Resources