Debate on the registration charge for social workers

We asked:- Is it reasonable that everyone has to pay the
same registration fee regardless of their salary?

Here are some of the comments we received:-

“On the whole we have not registered in our authority
following advice from our union and we are awaiting the outcome of
negotiations with our employers about paying the registration

Personally I feel they should be paid by the employer, as they
are benefiting from registration more than individual workers.

I attended one of the workshops and heard nothing that would
improve things for employees, so am reluctant to pay the fees
myself. To me it seems like a pay cut.”

S Lewis

“Yes, it’s not much to pay. Anyone able to register is
able to earn a reasonable salary. Those who are not working need to
decide whether it is of enough value to part with £30. 
Continued professional development will cost much more than this
and will be a bigger issue for most of us.”


“I think there should be a sliding scale of fees dependent on
position and salary”


“Whilst I agree with the principle of registration, I do no
believe individual social workers should meet this cost. I think it
should be paid for by employers as I understand this is what
happens in nursing, teaching and other professional


“No, it is not fair that everyone has to pay the same
registration fee and that is not right in my view.”

Simon Sanders
Southwark Social Services
(personal capacity)

“I feel that paying for registration is something I expected
would happen as part of the regulatory process the social work
profession is experiencing.

I do think that this would be an ideal opportunity for employers
to offer to pay the fees initially to make things easier for
employees. But I feel positive about registration as a way of
policing social work, although employers also need to be informing
the GSCC about bad practice.”


“I am about to get registered with a social work
professional association, which most likely will be GSCC. I believe
it would be fair and reasonable to charge each member a percentage
of her/his income.”

Harald Stölting
(future UK social worker)

“I will hopefully qualify in 2006 but feel that ideally the
registration fee with the GSCC should be paid by the
I will have debts of £10,000 plus as a result of studying and
will be on a starting salary at the bottom of scale, so if the
employer is unwilling to pay I feel that there should be variable
fees relevant to ‘related’ circumstances i.e. salary and amount of
associated debt (which is required in order to qualify as a social
work in the first place).”
Debbie Young
Bournemouth University Student

“The whole idea of registration is the professional
version of vanity publishing. Some people have the misguided idea
that registration will make us seem like ‘proper professionals’
like doctors or nurses, but I have news for them. It

Doctors and lawyers have highly lucrative monopolies to protect,
many work for themselves. But most social care workers are low paid
employees. We are much more likely to end up like nurses or
radiographers paying well over £100 a year for registration.
And for what? To increase the public’s confidence? The public
neither knows nor cares about registration. To protect the public?
Surely that is the point of all the expensive police checks?

As for qualifications, we pay enough to awarding bodies;
shouldn’t they be able to verify our qualifications? Registration
is a nineteenth century solution to a twenty-first century problem.
Just say no.”

Andrew Bolger 

“It’s probably not fair, considering how much some
practitioners are paid.

I am a single parent and qualified in as a social worker in
1999. As a mature student, I’m still trying to pay back the loan it
cost to fund the two years I was away from paid employment. Whereas
some students were fortunate enough to be funded by a local
authority, I was only able to get a mortgage last year.

As my wages are not very high at this stage, I would prefer to
pay the least amount for registration as possible. I stopped paying
my nurses’ registration fee to save money last year,
especially as I was no longer working in that profession, only to
find I now have to pay another. So it may help many workers for
registration to be means-tested.”


“It is certainly not reasonable for everyone to pay the

I moved out of Hampshire where I was paid £7.07 per hour
while trying to complete my DipSW part-time.

I’m now working in Ceridigion in Wales as a support worker for a
large mental health charity earning £5.40 per hour and don’t
finish my DipSW until June 2005. People think the cost of living is
cheaper in Wales. Believe me it’s not.

I’m not here to complain about the pros and cons of living in
different parts of the country, but I certainly can’t see why I,
earning such a low income, should pay the same membership fees as
someone earning thousands per annum!”


“As a social worker employed by a local authority, I feel it
should be the authorities’ role to pay the registration fee
whilst a worker is employed by them.

After all, they are the ones who will benefit from having a very
good, knowledgeable work-force, as the positive side of
registration is that we will all have to practice at a higher
Colin Saunders

“I am currently studying the first year of the new BSc
Social Work degree and have been asked to pay £10 registration
fee in September 2004.
I am aware this is a reduced charge, however, I don’t think it is
appropriate for students to pay to register.  Until we qualify, we
cannot practice as a social worker and it seems ridiculous that we
are given a bursary by the GSCC and then have to pay some money
back to register with them!
I don’t agree with the principle of having to pay to register
anyway. This is a service to the public and the administration
costs should come out of a public money pot – it’s not as though
the social work profession is one where huge salaries are
If the charge is to be made, however, then it should be on a
sliding scale according to income, and students – until they are
able to practice – should be excluded from the charge.”


“I see no reason why everyone should not pay the same
amount to belong to the organisation that is trying to establish
standards for our profession.

Other professions, such as teachers, have a flat rate for
registration and the question is, what value do you put on what
GSCC are trying to do on your behalf? Is it of less value to the
lower paid? Workers’ representatives could try negotiating to see
whether employers would pay the registration on their employees’
behalf. But that would undermine the value for the


“Payment for registration should be on a sliding scale and
local authorities should pay for the social workers they


“Forget a sliding scale. I don’t think anybody
should have to pay to register!”

Paul Ritter
Approved Social Worker
Hampshire Social Services



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