Almost a third of agency social workers in England feel their current training does not equip them to meet the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) requirements for continuing professional development.
Social care consultancy Caritas Recruitment asked 460 agency social workers for their views on the new approach to CPD, which came into effect after the HCPC took over responsibility for registering social workers in August 2012.
Many respondents praised the new approach, saying it offers individuals and employers greater flexibility to design training schedules around their own professional requirements.
Just over half (54%) felt that being part of the HCPC would improve the professional standing of social workers.
But 30% expressed concern about the quality of the training currently on offer to locum staff. Many said councils were reluctant to invest in temporary social workers; some found they were not eligible for in-house training schemes, while others had to pay for their own.
Furthermore, several management-level social workers said they had found it increasingly difficult to fulfil their training requirements after moving into senior positions.
“Once you reach senior management level, the opportunity to undertake formal training is very limited,” said one respondent.
The survey also suggested that not all agency social workers are aware of the new CPD requirements. Caritas said: “Local authorities, private sector organisations and agencies will need to work closely with their staff and contractors to ensure they have the support and training they need.”
A spokesperson for the HCPC said: “It is encouraging to hear that individuals welcome the HCPC’s approach to continuing professional development. Our standards have been designed to be flexible and specifically focus on outcomes and benefits rather than points and hours.
“We understand that individuals can have concerns about what to include in the CPD profile and we have developed guidance to support people when they are audited. This guidance includes video presentations and sample profiles as well as publications. In this guidance we emphasise that a CPD profile is not just about formal training but rather a mixture of learning activities that are relevant to current and future practice.”