Compulsion needed to make some social workers register

One in seven qualified social workers won’t register with
the General Social Care Council “until forced to”,
exclusive Community Care research has revealed, writes
Ruth Winchester

The survey of 1,800 social care workers found that although 95
per cent of them knew registration would become compulsory in April
2005, 89 per cent had yet to register and three per cent
didn’t intend to.

The findings reveal strong support for the concept of
registration, but widespread concern about the way the register
will work in practice.

More than seven out of 10 respondents believed the register
would improve the standard of social care in the UK, as well as
raising the status of those who work in the sector. And there was
overwhelming support (91 per cent) for social care councils being
able to strike people off the register, and for the idea of
disciplinary hearings held in public (96 per cent).

Yet, worryingly, two thirds of respondents did not have
confidence that the register would prevent unsuitable people from
working. Another two thirds said they were concerned that the
register could be misused to prevent good people from getting a

The introduction of continuing professional development was also
cause for concern. Two thirds said they would find it difficult to
take the necessary time out, while 81 per cent said finding cover
would be difficult. Those working with families were particularly
badly affected, with nearly nine out of 10 reporting it as

Widespread confusion and ignorance still exists about the role
of the GSCC and its UK counterparts. One in five respondents
thought they registered care homes, and one in 10 believed they
would audit local authority spending on social care. Neither of
these are part of the council’s roles.

Despite a large scale advertising campaign to encourage social
workers to register early, three quarters did not know that social
workers could face a fine of £5,000 for failing to register,
and 62 per cent did not realise they have to be registered before
taking a new job.

Research findings in full

Comments from social workers about registration

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