Social workers face more than 10% rise in registration fees

The HCPC says its hands are tied as increased costs from government have compelled the regulator to consider the fee increase

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Photo: OJO Images/Rex Features

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is proposing to raise its registration fees for social workers by 12.5%, less than a year after the last increase.

The proposal would see registration fees rise from £80 to £90.

The HCPC consultation on the proposed increase follows the government’s decision to make regulators foot the bill for the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

‘Substantial increase’

The HCPC said this decision represented a substantial increase to its costs, and since the regulator derives all of its funding from registrants’ fees, it had no choice but to look into raising them.

The fees charged to regulatory bodies to fund the PSA are calculated based on registrant numbers.

The PSA’s role is to oversee regulators’ decisions. It is designed to protect service users and will only intervene in judgments seen as unduly lenient, not unduly harsh.

‘Disappointed’

HCPC chief executive Marc Seale said: “We are disappointed by the decision because we believe it has a disproportionate impact on our registrants and the fees they pay.

“We anticipate that the PSA funding will initially amount to approximately £1m per annum based on current registration numbers.”

The consultation will run until 6 May and if the proposals are accepted, the higher fees will come into place from August. Existing registrants won’t have to pay the new higher fee until autumn 2016.

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12 Responses to Social workers face more than 10% rise in registration fees

  1. DAVID March 30, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    Do we not have any rights as Social Workers? My employer refuses to accept responsibility for these fees. How can they raise costs by 12 x the rate of inflation?
    I have to pay for my own Police Service. HCPC do absolutely nothing for Social Workers and exist only to make sure we can be judged by the Witch Finder General HCPC.

    • Ian March 30, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

      David has summed up my feeling on this matter. It is a disgrace. I see little use of the HCPC for me and as David states they have become the Witch Finder General. Its time to start supporting Social Workers or at the very least respect them by employers paying for this registration…….no wonder social workers are turning to agencies under the umbrella, Self employed route.

  2. Anon March 30, 2015 at 11:45 am #

    Perhaps the HCPC would care to look at the disproportionate amount of fitness to practice cases bought against Social Workers in comparison to the other professionals it regulates, and consider if them applying thresholds of risk consistently across the professions may reduce costs. HCPC of course would have to do this themselves as there does not seem to be any other realistic way of their practice (which I believe is discriminatory and incompatible with Article 6 Human Rights legislation) being challenged.

    Now it appears this organisation, which quite frankly should make any reasonable person avoid a career in Social Work, is free to set its own costs for self regulated behaviour onto the people whom it discriminates against.

    If never too late to change your career Students – go do something else instead.

    (From a seasoned practitioner with multiple court/police commendations for Child Protection work who found themselves victim of a malicious referral, and an HCPC system that is so stacked against Social Workers it makes a Kangaroo court look credible)

    NB. One full hearing later – no case against me found, though a lot lighter in pocket and a lot more cynical. Well I never – I’m paying for it again with higher fees.

  3. John Deme March 31, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    Great. Yet another stick to beat downtrodden social workers with. Yet another reason to leave the profession. When will the government learn?!

    The HCPC does little or nothing to promote the profession other than add an overwhelming amount of bureaucracy to social workers lives through increased emphasis on excessive accountability and blame. Now we are expected to fork out for another of the governments hair brained schemes which will no doubt add further excessive complication to an already strained profession.

    I’m not standing for it and voting with my feet, have now truly had enough of it all.

  4. Tara March 31, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    when will all this come to an end. I’m truly exhausted!!!

  5. Fred April 1, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    I am so concerned about the impact of the so called social work regulators that i am seriously contemplating doing something about this politically.

    The HCPC and in Scotland the SSSC were supposed to enhance the reputation of social workers and the social work profession.

    In fact they undermine it very seriously whilst costing the tax payers and social work professionals a fantastic total amount of money.

    In the old days a social worker in trouble would face a single disciplinary process. Now they face that and then a tribunal with HCPC/SSSC to decide if they will be deregisted or ordered to do more training etc. Then they face the public trial as the details are then often splattered all over the media. The they face all their friends, workplace colleagues and neighbours whispering about what they read in the press.

    All these Quangos have done is to publicise cases of social work wrong doing, thereby making social work image even worse than the one portrayed by the Daily Mail.

    A huge failure, a massive experiment gone wrong. A catastrophic waste of public money; money better spent on paying for social care for vulnerable people.

  6. Paul April 1, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    Do I hear £100? Sold…and will the last person to leave please turn the lights out….

  7. Tom Hughes April 1, 2015 at 5:23 pm #

    An outrageous back-door pay decrease, a tax on being a Social Worker by any other name. The HCPC are just a Sheriff of Nottingham fee collection agency for the Government who are bleeding Social Workers dry. They don’t represent Social Workers, they just aim to protect the image of Government when issues arise that would otherwise leave them exposed in the press.

    If it was not essential to register with these bandits to work, I would never do this and the HCPC would fold in a week if it was voluntary.

    Whoever we are making rich off the back of these fees, I want them to know that they are not worth the money.

  8. Joy April 1, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    Another nail in the coffin of Social Work…. I doubt any of us are really surprised are we?
    I am sooooooo tired of being in this profession now with it’s change upon change upon change…
    I agree with Tara I am truly exhausted.
    I work for a council where I feel utterly unsupported and chronically undervalued. We are micromanaged and cannot even sign off £5 worth of care without getting agreement from a senior manager.. where has the trust in our professional judgement gone?
    We are so stretched we don’t get time to keep our notes up-to-date half the time and cannot respond in a timely manner to safeguarding concerns.. we live in fear of a fitness to practice case being brought against any one of us..

    Personally I have had enough.. I am on my way out after years and years of exemplary service.
    Early retirement beckons, even though I will be losing out pensions wise I really don’t care because I want a life before I die !

  9. Stuart Holmes April 1, 2015 at 8:09 pm #

    So the PSA is to oversee the HCPC but only when they are ”too lenient”.

    Well it all puts me in mind of the parent (hcpc) who ‘over chastises’ their child, government sends social worker (psa) round to inestigate and says Ah, the thing is you’re not beating your child hard enough – beat them with a bigger stick.
    Does that make sense?

    • Fred April 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

      I would advise the following

      organise maybe through BASW a survey of as many social workers in England as possible.

      Get the survey to ask 2 questions

      1. Rate the usefulness of HCPC out of 10. 1 for useless 10 for extremely useful
      2. So you think the HCPC should be abolished Y/N.

      Publish the doubtless damning findings and start a petition to abolish the HCPC and redeploy the resources into front line services to protect our more vulnerable citizens.

      This is urgent. If something is not done soon this dangerous Quango will wreck social work beyond restoration.

  10. A April 3, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    I totally agree with all the comments from my fellow social work practitioners!

    We are being squeezed by our employer, our unions who also offer no protection and now the HCPC who only add to the pain and of a profession clearly under emence pressure.

    We need to find a way of uniting together as one and Fred’s idea could be a start to make a stand.

    I have been on the receiving end of malicious allegations and a HCPC investigation that resulted in no case to answer. There is no organisation fit enough or with the teeth to challenge Local Authority employers who are ruining the lives of many professionals without good reason.

    Many of my colleagues and I have had enough and my mind is made up to leave and join an agency to least get away from the politics!