Social workers must register or face fines for committing criminal offence

Social workers who do not register with the General Social Care
Council by April 2005 could be fined up to £5,000, the
government has confirmed.

Legal changes that will protect the social worker title will come
into force from that date and mean anyone describing themselves as
a social worker without being registered will be committing a
criminal offence.

Community care minister Stephen Ladyman told the annual conference
of social care training body Topss England in Nottingham last week
that the protection of title would mean social work would be seen
as a “profession that will not tolerate unqualified people
pretending to be among its number”.

He added that social work “will ruthlessly distance itself from
people who don’t meet their high standards”.

But delegates said there was a danger that professionals who were
carrying out jobs that were essentially social work but not
described as such would not be covered.

Ladyman said he hoped councils would see the benefit of the
protected title, which would elevate the profession’s status to
that of doctors or lawyers, and would be “horrified” if employers
looked for ways to avoid having registered staff.

The GSCC is urging all social workers to apply as soon as possible
to avoid a last-minute rush to process all applications.

Ten months after registration began, details of fewer than 5,000 of
the estimated 60,000 social workers have been entered onto the

All new starters will have to have at least applied to be on the
register before they can take up new posts after 1 April 2004.

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