The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requires its registrants to re-register on a set date every two years.
This autumn sees social workers renewing under the new system for the first time.
All social workers will have to prove they meet the HCPC’s standards and keep a detailed record of their continuing professional development (CPD) in order to re-register in the future.
Standards for social workers
Since the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) took over the social care register in England, social workers must adhere to the HCPC’s “standards of proficiency”, which set out what registered social workers are expected to know, understand and be able to apply.
Registered social workers will also need to adhere to the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics. These standards are not specific to social work; they apply to all of the HCPC-regulated professions.
What does the switchover from PRTL to CPD mean?
It’s not just a change of acronym. Under the former system, social workers in England had to demonstrate they’d done at least 90 hours of professional development in order to re-register every three years. The HCPC still wants social workers to record their learning activities, but it doesn’t require them to complete a fixed number of hours. Instead, the incoming regulator is more interested in how learning activities have improved social workers’ skills and helped service users.
How will CPD be measured if the HPC doesn’t count hours?
The HCPC benchmarks CPD against its standards,which you can find out more about here. Registrants must demonstrate that they have kept continuous, up-to-date and accurate CPD records, so cramming in most of the training just before registration won’t do. They also need to show a mix of activities that are relevant to their current or future practice and show how these contributed to the quality of their work as well as how they benefited service users. Finally, registered social workers must be able to produce written CPD profiles backed up with evidence. Find out more about what HCPC expects on its website.
There is no requirement to refer to the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) in your CPD profile, but it can help you plan your learning. Look at the different capabilities for your level; consider which you can already demonstrate and which you need to develop. What does your employer expect of you, based on your specialism and level of experience?
Will the HCPC check every social worker’s CPD profile?
The HCPC will register every social worker in England on the same date every two years, so it’s impractical for it to check every individual CPD profile. Instead, at registration time, 2.5% of social workers will be picked at random and told to submit CPD profiles for auditing. The randomness of the sample means it is possible social workers could go a whole career without doing one, but equally they could end up having to submit one every two years. Newly qualified social workers will be excluded from the audit.
What counts as CPD?
Anything you can justify as beneficial to your work or service users is acceptable. It could be formal training,attending a conference, reading an article onCommunity Care Inform, mentoring someone or joining a professional body. Even watching TV could count, as long as it’s relevant (i.e. not Homes Under the Hammer). There is a list of suggested activities in appendix one of this guide on the HCPC’s website, but it is by no means exhaustive. Basically, if you can prove it helped your practice, it counts.
What do these CPD profiles look like?
If audited, you will have to present a written profile, which consists of a summary of your practice history for the last two years, a statement of how you have met standards of CPD and evidence to support that. You should choose roughly four or five activities (the ones you learned the most from) to evidence your statement.