Every social worker must have their renewal form endorsed. But for some types of workers, including independent social workers and senior managers, it may be difficult to find someone to sign it.
Dee Colam was an independent social worker and found herself in that position. So she and colleague Nick Willmore decided to set up a national umbrella organisation, Score, to endorse applications for people who may otherwise struggle.
They charge a basic fee of £149, which is tax-deductible, and the process involves face-to-face interviews and checking professionals’ competence, personal integrity, Criminal Records Bureau checks and PRTL hours.
“There seems to be a lot of confusion about PRTL, but the GSCC has been very flexible about what you can do,” says Colam. “Self-directed learning is a foreign concept to some social workers but PRTL is really the individual’s responsibility.”
She says she is particularly concerned about people being unscrupulous about who they use as an endorser. “One person said they were going to use a solicitor and another said they would use a professor who was their neighbour,” Colam says. “They don’t seem to understand that you can’t just use anyone and the GSCC has a database of acceptable signatories.
“We fought for regulation for a long, long time to bring that professional edge to our work. People shouldn’t now be trying to kick it under the table as arduous.”