Fees dispute prompts Unison call for members to delay registration

    Unison is advising its members to delay registering with the UK’s
    social care councils until it resolves a dispute over who should
    pay fees.

    Stephen Smillie, chair of the social work issues group in Scotland,
    said the pubic sector union was pushing for employers to pay the
    £30 annual registration cost.

    Unison is also pushing for the UK’s social care councils to define
    a social worker’s role so that the protection of title legislation,
    which comes in next year, will be workable.

    Owen Davies, national government officer, said the union had
    persuaded about half the Welsh local authorities to pay the first
    year’s fee at least, and some had committed to meeting the cost
    permanently.

    But in England only a few councils had agreed to pay the fee,
    including Tower Hamlets and Bristol.

    Davies said: “Unison has put in a pay claim for registration fees
    with the National Joint Council so that individual social workers
    will pay the fee and then employers should provide recompense. But
    they are prevaricating about giving an answer.”

    He said he hoped the issue would be resolved at a meeting next
    week. “Our advice is to delay registering and that is building
    problems for the General Social Care Council because it will cause
    a backlog.”

    Rows over fees may be responsible for delaying registration by
    thousands of social workers. At Community Care Live in May, workers
    admitted they were delaying registration until next year so they
    would not have to pay the fee twice.

    Members of the British Association of Social Workers have also
    voted to stop the social care councils charging £155 for
    international registration (news, page 13, 27 May).

    In April, it emerged that the Northern Ireland Public Service
    Alliance was advising its members against registering with the
    country’s care council.

    The union, which represents 90 per cent of the social workers in
    the country, claimed its members would be offered less protection
    against complaints than their health colleagues enjoy.

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