Between January and April 2011, about half of the 86,000 social workers in England are due to renew their registration with the General Social Care Council. This means that more than 40,000 applications will be processed over the coming months.
This process is not affected by the government’s recent announcement that the GSCC’s functions will be transferred to the Health Professions Council from April 2012. Social workers still need to be registered, and renew their registration every three years, in order to practise.
The GSCC is taking steps to ensure the peak in applications is handled smoothly.
Since 2005, in order to describe yourself or practise as a social worker in England, you are legally required to be registered with the GSCC. This helps to ensure that only suitable people join, and remain in, the social work profession. Social workers must renew their registration every three years in order to demonstrate that they continue to meet the standards required of the profession.
The process for renewal will begin three months before your current registration expires. Given the number of renewals the GSCC encourages all social workers to fill in their forms and send them back as soon as possible. If your form is not returned in time you will be removed from the social care register and you will be unable to practise as a social worker.
Michael Andrews, director of regulatory operations at the GSCC, says: “Registration with the GSCC helps to raise the standing of social work by demonstrating the high standards of practice and continuing development of every professional.”
He adds that the GSCC has taken steps to simplify the process by introducing clearer, less time-consuming forms for renewal.
There are some simple things that social workers can do to ease their renewal:
1 Make sure your contact details are up-to-date
Have you recently moved house, changed jobs or e-mail address? If so it is vital you let the GSCC know. Any changes to your personal details could affect your registration and prevent you from receiving important information from the GSCC. You can inform the GSCC of any changes by logging them on MyGSCC, the online registration tool; e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org; completing the form on the GSCC website or calling its helpline on 0845 070 0630.
2 Don’t leave it until the last minute
It is a legal requirement to be registered with the GSCC so you must send it your renewal application by the deadline given in your reminder letter to ensure you remain on the register.
If you fail to send it back in time you will be removed from the register, making it illegal for you to practise social work. You will receive the application form three months before your current registration expires.
3 Complete your PRTL record and keep it safe
The GSCC has improved its processes to make it easier to renew your registration. You no longer need to send it a full record of your post-registration training and learning (PRTL). However, please complete this and keep it safe because the GSCC will be contacting people at random to request their forms as part of a spot-checking process. You can log your PRTL quickly and conveniently on MyGSCC.
4 Don’t panic
The GSCC will be receiving tens of thousands of renewal applications over the next few months so it may take time to process your form. You can continue to practise during this time as long as the GSCC has received your renewal form by the deadline and as long as your name appears on the register which is updated daily and available on the GSCC website. The GSCC will send you a letter confirming that your renewal application has been received. If you have any concerns or questions about the process, the GSCC is on hand to help so please get in touch.
5 Remember that being registered matters
Renewing your registration is really important. Not only does it show that you are competent and safe to practise, it also sends a message to people who use social work services and other professionals that you work to the highest possible standards. By renewing you also demonstrate that you have continued to develop your skills and knowledge in order to provide people with the best possible service.
This article was provided by the GSCC
This article is published in the 7 October issue of Community Care magazine under the heading How to renew your registration with the GSCC
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