Council climbdown over threat to staff who missed registration date

Neath Port Talbot Council has backtracked over threats to demote
nearly a quarter of its social workers who missed the deadline for
registration with the Care Council for Wales.

The council had written to 24 social workers, warning them that
they would be demoted to support worker on less pay or be suspended
without pay until their registration came through.

If they were not registered by 30 April, the letter said, they
could be sacked.

But the council has now agreed to allow the unregistered social
workers to continue in their current roles on the same pay, but
renamed as case and assessment officers until their registration is

The council said in a statement: “We expect registration for the
remainder of our staff to be confirmed by no later than the end of
April. In the meantime we have taken steps to ensure we can
continue to safeguard vulnerable people whilst ensuring that those
members of staff not yet registered are not breaking the law by
offering them temporary re-deployment to other duties.”

Its initial stance – which seemed at odds with other councils’
decisions let unregistered social workers continue working as long
as they could prove they had applied – brought warnings that
services could collapse.

One social worker told Community Care that eight out of nine social
workers in the child assessment team were unregistered, so it would
be unable to function properly.

She said her application had been submitted late because the
council had failed to provide forms until late January.

But the council said it had regularly reminded staff that
registration was their own responsibility.

Mark Fisher, branch officer for public sector trade union Unison,
said the council was within its rights to suspend social workers
but had not thought through the consequences of doing so.

Care council figures show more than 900 of the 4,060 social workers
in Wales who had applied were not registered by 1 April. It said it
expected to clear the backlog of applications by 30 April.

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