Service users would be put at greater risk if the Health Professions Council does not continue the General Social Care Council’s register of social work students when it takes over as England’s social care regulator in August.
In its response to the HPC’s consultation on the future of student registration, the GSCC warned that abolishing the register “would not protect people who use services”.
“The often vulnerable nature of the people that social work students will work with and the setting in which social work students operate makes it imperative that they are subject to national regulation when undertaking practice placements,” the GSCC said in its consultation response. “They are often unsupervised when they engage with people who use services and may also undertake work in someone’s home”
At present the GSCC’s student register is voluntary but higher education institutions cannot access funds for practice placements unless its students are registered, a condition that ensures almost all students register. The HPC does not run student registers for the 15 professions it currently regulates.
The HPC’s consultation, which ends on 2 March, does not give a view on whether the student register should continue when it takes over from the GSCC.
Social work students set for higher registration fees