8,000 social workers barred from practising after failing to renew registration

Thousands of social workers removed from register after failing to meet revised deadline to renew their registration with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Over 8,000 social workers can no longer practise in England after failing to renew their registration, the Health and Care Professions Council has announced.

The regulator revealed today that 8,425 social workers have been removed from the social work register for failing to renew their registration despite having had “several opportunities” to do so.

“This means that they can no longer practise as social workers in England,” a statement on the HCPC website said.

Reacting to the news, social workers pointed out that a number of situations could lie behind the failure to renew. These include the fact that some social workers may have retired in the last year, could be out-of-work, or hold roles where registration is voluntary, such as management positions.

An HCPC spokeswoman said that the regulator did not know how many of the 8,425 social workers removed from the register are actively practising. But it appears that some are currently employed, with the HCPC having written to employers to advise them of social workers who are no longer registered.

Where deregistered social workers are employed as practising social workers, employers have a duty to address the situation.

The HCPC is not prescriptive on what form that action should take. Options could include altering the worker’s job role so that they are not practising as a ‘social worker’, or the employee taking a period of annual leave while their readmission to the register is sorted out, the HCPC spokeswoman said.

Registration with the HCPC is a legal requirement for people to practise using the title “social worker” in England. In November, the regulator was forced to extend its deadline for renewals to the 2nd January 2013 after it emerged that a quarter of social workers had yet to renew.

While 90% of the estimated 88,000 social workers in England met the extended January deadline, around 1 in 10 failed to do so and have now been removed from the register. 

Social workers who have been removed from the register will now have to apply for readmission. The HCPC has sent readmission forms to all social workers who failed to renew.

“If a social worker returns a completed readmission form by Friday 1 February 2013, we will put them back on the Register provided they have paid their registration fee [of £76],” the regulator said.

Social workers who submit readmissions forms after the 1st February will be forced to complete a “more detailed” readmission form, which incurs a total cost of £191, the regulator said.

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