To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 26W, on child protection, when the General Social Care Council is planning to report on the review of the current framework for post-qualifying training for social work; what the parameters of the review conducted by the General Social Care Council into post-qualifying training are; how many social workers hold the post-qualifying award; and if he will make a statement on the implementation by local authority social services departments of the action plan to effect planned developments. 
It is the intention that the General Social Care Council's review of the post-qualifying training framework will report their findings and recommendations later in the year. The GSCC intends to consult extensively on the future framework for post-qualifying awards during April and May this year. The scope of the review will include the range and design of qualifications within the framework and the administrative framework to support their delivery. Any statement on how recommendations from the review should be implemented will be made after this.
The number of social workers in England holding the post-qualifying award, recorded by the GSCC is 1,875. However, this award is just one of a number of post-qualifying awards that can be gained after social workers have become professionally qualified in both generic and specialised areas. It these are taken into account, the total number of awards issued comes to over 9,500.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he will take against local authority social services departments that have been found to have recruited social workers who have not had their qualifications validated with the General Social Care Council; and how many times this has happened in the last five years. 
Local authorities, as with any other employer of social care staff, should carry out appropriate checks to ensure that the social workers in their employ are properly qualified for the work they are employed to carry out. In September 2002, the General Social Care Council (GSCC) published codes of practice for social care workers and employers. Code 1 of the employers code requires employers to make sure that only people who have the appropriate knowledge and skills enter the social care work force. The codes are taken into account in the enforcement of National Care Standards.All courses in social work are approved by the GSCC, which has been in operation since October 2001. The GSCC is also the awarding body for the Diploma in Social Work and will validate the successful completion of the Diploma programme by an individual. The GSCC also offers an advisory service to employers and internationally qualified social workers, verifying whether or not the qualification is a professional qualification in social work in its country of origin.Prior to this date, the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) was the awarding body for the Diploma in Social Work and offered the same service.However, there is no obligation to validate qualifications with the GSCC, or was there previously with the CCETSW, and no action is taken against those who do not use this service.