The long-awaited registration of home care workers in England by the General Social Care Council has been put on hold because of the problems identified in its conduct system.
The Department of Health said the process, which was due to start in 2010 on a voluntary basis before becoming mandatory, had been suspended while the GSCC tries to improve its conduct function.
The registration of home carers was first announced in 2006 and was due to begin in April 2007 before being multiply delayed, leaving social workers and social work students as the only groups registered with the GSCC.
In April 2009, care services minister Phil Hope announced that home care registration would proceed next year. However, in July, the GSCC identified a backlog of over 200 conduct cases, prompting the suspension of its chief executive, Mike Wardle, and a review of its conduct function by the Commission for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence.
Conduct is priority
In a statement, a DH spokesperson said: “The GSCC’s current priority is to ensure that it has the right systems and processes in place to carry out its statutory duties swiftly and effectively. We will continue to work with the GSCC to ensure that this is the case.
“We have therefore concluded that further work to open a register of home care workers should be put on hold temporarily to enable the GSCC to prioritise work to strengthen its conduct function.”
Unlike the GSCC, the care councils in Scotland and Wales currently register groups other than social workers and students, while in August a consultation was launched on registering all social care staff in Northern Ireland by 2013.