Implementation of the NI Social Work Leadership Framework

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CES is working in partnership with the Northern Ireland Social Work Council (NISCC), Health and Social Care Trusts and the Community and Voluntary Sector to design the implementation of the newly published Social Work Leadership Framework.

What is the Social Work Leadership Framework?  

The Leadership Framework was developed by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland as part of the Social Work Strategy The framework seeks to:

  • enable social work to participate in collective leadership across all organisations that employ social workers;
  • support social workers to plan and pursue careers in a range of areas including practice, corporate management, academic, regulation or policy;
  • clarify social work leadership capabilities.

It is intended that the framework will underpin the design and provision of professional leadership development and accreditation opportunities.

Read the framework here

Social-Work-Leadership-Framework-final-version-15-April-22.pdf (

What is CES’ role?

We are working with a team of social work employers, leaders and practitioners to develop an implementation plan for the Framework and its practical application, using a systematic approach that is underpinned by implementation science.

To help translate the framework document into implementable action, we developed a logic model. A Logic model or theory of change sets out your theory or hypothesis of why you think something will work. You can read more about logic models here The CES Guide to: Change Management in Social Services (

As part of the logic modelling process, we started by identifying the intended outcomes for the framework and worked back to consider what activities or outputs were required to achieve these outcomes.

There are 4 thematic implementation teams currently taking forward the activities and outputs identified in the logic model.

Communication and engagement; developing key messages for the framework, planning for engagement and dissemination

Education and continuous professional development; looking at ways the framework can be embedded into the continuum of social work education from the undergraduate degree through to ongoing CPD.

Employers; looking at ways to embed the framework into employment practices e.g., job descriptions and ongoing supervision and appraisal.  

Evidence informed practice; looking at opportunities to strengthen use of evidence and research in social work as a leadership activity.

For more information on the Leadership Framework implementation plan and how to get involved in embedding it in your organisation contact Dearbhaile Slane,

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