Social workers want compulsory registration of students

Social workers have given strong backing to the compulsory registration of students with the regulator, a survey has found.

Social workers have given strong backing to the compulsory registration of students with the regulator, a survey has found.

Seventy three per cent said the Health Professions Council should force students to register, and thus comply with the social care code of conduct, when it takes over the regulation of social work in England in August, a survey by recruitment consultancy Liquid Personnel found.

Currently, registration of students by the General Social Care Council is technically voluntary, but higher education institutions cannot access funding for practice placements unless its students are registered, which means almost all students register.

The HPC recently finished consulting on whether students should be registered and, in its response, the GSCC warned that service users would be put at risk were student registration not enforced. In the past, HPC chief executive Marc Seale has suggested that student registration would be completely voluntary, though the consultation document did not propose one option or the other.

“Registration for social work students instils a sense of responsibility and belonging from the moment they start their training,” said Jonathan Coxon, managing director of Liquid Personnel.

“Students often work directly with vulnerable people, and this can sometimes be unsupervised, so registration is important to guarantee the safety of the public and provide accountability.”

Liquid Personnel surveyed 125 social workers last month. It also found that:-

The target has been criticised the British Association of Social Workers and by children’s services directors, who warned that it would discourage councils from placing children for adoption. This point was echoed by respondents to Liquid Personnel’s story.

“Placing children with families quickly is definitely desirable, but the priority should be making the right placement, not sticking to arbitrary time frames,” said Coxon.

The finding comes with the government having announced a separate target for councils of finding prospective adopters within three months of a child being recommended for adoption. This has also been criticised by BASW.

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