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

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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