The State of the Social Service Workforce 2016 Report: A review of five years of workforce strengthening

Global Social Service Workforce Alliance

Executive Summary

The social service workforce is increasingly being recognized as essential to meeting the needs of vulnerable populations throughout the world. This report assesses the evolution of the social service workforce over the past five years by examining efforts to strengthen and diversify the workforce in eight countries. These countries all participated in a Social Welfare Workforce Strengthening Conference in Cape Town in 2010.

The conference aimed to support country teams in developing plans to strengthen their national social service workforces. Since 2010, significant progress has occurred in terms of the introduction of policies and implementation of strategic plans to strengthen the social service workforce. Greater attention is being paid to mapping and monitoring shifting needs and capacity, thus enabling more effective service delivery. Efforts have been made to provide culturally and contextually appropriate training and education through in-service programs, on-the-job training and college or university curricula. Accreditation in the form of certificates, diplomas and degrees has been expanded. Professional associations and/or regulatory bodies have been launched or revitalized. Broad partnerships comprised of state, NGOs, civil society, academia and development partner representatives have contributed to the transformation that is taking place. While much has been achieved, social service workforce developments have not necessarily been even among countries and critical challenges remain.

This report captures what has been accomplished and highlights areas for future intervention. Progress made to strengthen the social service workforce within these countries is useful when reflecting on global trends and ways forward.