Findings from Community Care survey on the General Social Care Council:
1,750 responses from a range of people including directors, assistant directors, area managers, department heads, senior social workers, social workers, approved social workers and students. All sectors – voluntary, private, statutory. All relevant settings, including care trusts, hospitals, voluntary organisations and charities, local authorities etc. and across all client groups.
1: Have you heard of the General Social Care Council?
92 per cent had heard of the GSCC. 8 per cent had not.
Range went from highest (student 99 per cent) to lowest (76 per cent ‘other’).
2: Role of the GSCC?
Oversee education and training of social work: 84 per cent said this was part of role
Protect the public 64 per cent “
Champion the cause of social work 60 per cent “
Keep a register of care homes 17 per cent “
Inspect homes 12 per cent “
Audit local authority spending on social care 10 per cent “
3: Did you know registration will become compulsory for qualified social workers by April 2005?
Yes: 95 per cent:
No: 5 per cent
4: Did you know most other groups of social care staff may be required to register later?
Yes: 75 per cent (highest knowledge were directors and area managers at 90 and 94 per cent, lowest were students at 66 per cent)
No: 25 per cent
5a: Out of 1,000 qualified social workers:
Just 11 per cent have already registered.
One in seven doesn’t plan to register until they are forced to!
39 per cent expect to register “in the next three months”
20 per cent “in the next six months”
22 per cent “in the next twelve months”
15 per cent “when forced to”
3 per cent “not at all”
5b: Did you know that you will have to be registered before you can accept a new job?
38 per cent YES
62 per cent NO
Social workers were the least knowledgeable (65 per cent didn’t know) and directors were the most knowledgeable (52 per cent did know).
6: Out of the entire 1,750 sample
Is the registration fee of £30 per year reasonable?
Yes: 57 per cent
No: 43 per cent
Range from 80 per cent of area managers thought it was reasonable, compared to just 48 per cent of social workers. Those who earn more – directors, department heads and area managers tended to think it was reasonable. Those who earn less disagree.
7: Is it right to expect everyone to pay the same fee, regardless of role or income?
Yes 35 per cent
No 65 per cent
Most opposed to the same fee were social workers (72 per cent), senior social workers (67 per cent), and students (66 per cent)
8: Did you know you could face a £5000 fine for failing to register?
Yes: 23 per cent
No: 77 per cent
9: Is this reasonable?
Yes: 35 per cent
No – too high: 62 per cent
No – too low: 2 per cent
10: Registration has been introduced partly to raise standards in social care: Will it achieve this?
Yes: 16 per cent
Yes but it will take a long time: 55 per cent
No: 18 per cent
Don’t know: 12 per cent
11: The GSCC believes that registration will also raise the profile and status of social care staff. Will it achieve this?
Yes: 16 per cent
Yes but it will take a long time 54 per cent
No 21 per cent
Don’t know 9 per cent
12: Should some groups be able to work in social care without registering?
Yes: 27 per cent
No: 73 per cent
If YES to Q12
13a: Which groups would you exclude from the registration requirement?
Unskilled / inexperienced staff without qualifications: 47 per cent
Casual or temporary staff 47 per cent
Professionally qualified (eg qualified social workers) 34 per cent
Skilled / experienced staff without qualifications 32 per cent
Vocationally qualified staff (eg NVQ). 23 per cent
Those with no client contact 2 per cent
Those registered with their own body 2 per cent
This is an interesting finding, since many people would argue that the unskilled / temporary / casual end of the workforce are those who should be registered.
13b: Do you have confidence that the registration scheme will prevent unsuitable people (eg someone dismissed for gross misconduct) from working?
Yes: 35 per cent
No: 65 per cent (very high!)
14: Are you concerned that the register could be misused or misadministered and as a result prevent good people from getting jobs?
Yes: 65 per cent (also very high!)
No: 35 per cent
15: Did you know that the GSCC will have the power to strike people off the register?
Yes: 67 per cent
No: 33 per cent
16: Do you agree with this power?
Yes, totally: 25 per cent
Yes, with reservations: 66 per cent
No: 9 per cent
17: Should the GSCC hold conduct hearings in public similar to the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC)?
Yes, totally: 39 per cent
Yes, with reservations: 57 per cent
No: 4 per cent
18: Did you know that a condition of registration is keeping your practice and learning up to date (continuing professional development)?
Yes: 84 per cent
No: 16 per cent
19: Do you agree with spot checks being made and fines being applied to ensure that individuals’ continual professional development is up to date?
Yes, totally: 30 per cent
Yes with reservations: 53 per cent
No: 17 per cent.
20: How difficult would it be to take the equivalent of 5 working days out of your job every year to complete your CPD?
Extremely difficult: 8 per cent
Very difficult: 15 per cent
Somewhat difficult 42 per cent
Fairly easy 29 per cent
Very easy 5 per cent
eg. 65 per cent or two thirds of people would find it difficult to take time to do their CPD. 72 per cent of directors, and 74 per cent of area managers, would find it difficult.
21: How difficult would it be to find someone to cover your workload while you undertook your five days?
Extremely difficult: 29 per cent
Very difficult: 19 per cent
Somewhat difficult 33 per cent
Fairly easy 17 per cent
Very easy 3 per cent
81 per cent of people would find it difficult to find someone to cover for them. Particularly high for people who work with families – 87 per cent would find this difficult – and social workers, at 83 per cent. Directors and area managers would find it slightly easier than the average!
GSCC chief executive Lynne Berry responds:
“Every social worker in England is now able to sign up for registration, and this survey gives us a good insight into the sector’s views. We will work hard to take these on board, to ensure everyone has the information they need to register with us.
“But after a year of social work registration, only 11 per cent of those surveyed have actually shown their support for higher standards by sending in their forms and registering. Most of the rest seem to be putting off filling in their form, even though 95 per cent know about the legal deadline of April 2005. We urge every social worker to get a form and register without delay.
“This survey does show that social care workers believe registration will raise their status and drive up standards. However, this will take time and the sooner you register, the sooner everyone – service users especially – will reap the rewards.”