Social work re-registration: the basics

A simple guide to what's new and what you need to know to renew your registration with the HCPC this autumn

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The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requires its registrants to re-register on a set date every two years.

This autumn sees social workers renewing under the new system for the first time.

All social workers will have to prove they meet the HCPC’s standards and keep a detailed record of their continuing professional development (CPD) in order to re-register in the future.

Standards for social workers 

Since the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) took over the social care register in England, social workers must adhere to the HCPC’s “standards of proficiency”, which set out what registered social workers are expected to know, understand and be able to apply.

Registered social workers will also need to adhere to the HCPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics. These standards are not specific to social work; they apply to all of the HCPC-regulated professions.

 What does the switchover from PRTL to CPD mean?

It’s not just a change of acronym. Under the former system, social workers in England had to demonstrate they’d done at least 90 hours of professional development in order to re-register every three years. The HCPC still wants social workers to record their learning activities, but it doesn’t require them to complete a fixed number of hours. Instead, the incoming regulator is more interested in how learning activities have improved social workers’ skills and helped service users.

cpd profile sample

A sample CPD profile Photo: HCPC UK – click here for more samples


How will CPD be measured if the HPC doesn’t count hours?

The HCPC benchmarks CPD against its standards,which you can find out more about here. Registrants must demonstrate that they have kept continuous, up-to-date and accurate CPD records, so cramming in most of the training just before registration won’t do. They also need to show a mix of activities that are relevant to their current or future practice and show how these contributed to the quality of their work as well as how they benefited service users. Finally, registered social workers must be able to produce written CPD profiles backed up with evidence. Find out more about what HCPC expects on its website.

There is no requirement to refer to the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) in your CPD profile, but it can help you plan your learning. Look at the different capabilities for your level; consider which you can already demonstrate and which you need to develop. What does your employer expect of you, based on your specialism and level of experience?

Will the HCPC check every social worker’s CPD profile?

The HCPC will register every social worker in England on the same date every two years, so it’s impractical for it to check every individual CPD profile. Instead, at registration time, 2.5% of social workers will be picked at random and told to submit CPD profiles for auditing. The randomness of the sample means it is possible social workers could go a whole career without doing one, but equally they could end up having to submit one every two years. Newly qualified social workers will be excluded from the audit.

What counts as CPD?

Anything you can justify as beneficial to your work or service users is acceptable. It could be formal training,attending a conference, reading an article onCommunity Care Inform, mentoring someone or joining a professional body. Even watching TV could count, as long as it’s relevant (i.e. not Homes Under the Hammer). There is a list of suggested activities in appendix one of this guide on the HCPC’s website, but it is by no means exhaustive. Basically, if you can prove it helped your practice, it counts.


Read our list of CPD activity ideas


What do these CPD profiles look like?

If audited, you will have to present a written profile, which consists of a summary of your practice history for the last two years, a statement of how you have met standards of CPD and evidence to support that. You should choose roughly four or five activities (the ones you learned the most from) to evidence your statement.

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8 Responses to Social work re-registration: the basics

  1. Ken August 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    I am due to reregister in Deember 2014 but retire in the middle of March 2015 and have been told that I will have to pay a full years fee for those 2.5months. I now wonder what benefit if any the hcpc has had to me nothing as I see it but take my money. They robbed us when it 1st started by not refunding money from our GSCC subscriptions and now they want me to pay a full year. This cant be right.

    • Rachel Schraer August 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

      Hi Ken, we asked the HCPC and they say: contact our Registrations depart to discuss: 0845 300 4472 – now would be a good time before renewal opens next wk

      • Ken August 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

        Hi Rachel I spoke to Adam Mawson Registration adviser. They want a full years fee but they said to let them know when I retire so they can deregister me. ( and supposedly trouser my money) The bare faced cheek!

  2. Barbara kirk August 28, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

    I hope the HCPC takes into account people like me who had a career break 9 about 2 years ) due to my husband’s health and then returned for about 2 days a week doing sessional work every few months ! ( Assessing potential foster carers )

  3. Wendy August 28, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    You say the same date every year but my card says November 2014 and the previous comment talks about December 2014 and your article talks about September? Do we get a reminder fromHCPC? Does our DD from last time work again unlike with the early days of GSCC where you had to keep filling in the same details over again?

    • Rachel Schraer August 29, 2014 at 9:14 am #

      Hi Wendy,
      Thanks for your comment.
      re: “The HCPC will register every social worker in England on the same date every two years, so it’s impractical for it to check every individual CPD profile”- this means all social workers will be re-registered during the same time period, rather than it being staggered. It won’t necessarily happen on the same date every two years though.
      The re-registration period this year opens on 1 September and closes on 30 November. I’m not sure where the December date is from (unless the commenter means, need to re-reg by December ie it closes on 30 Nov). You will need to re-enter your DD on this occasion since it’s the first time in the new system but I couldn’t answer for whether that will be stored for future re-registrations. You can contact the HCPC registrations department on 0845 300 4472 for more info about this.

  4. Ken August 29, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    The comments here from the HCPC appear reluctant to metion their fee structure. The young lady working two days per week will still have to pay the same fee as a full time worker but will not earn the same. As I see it the HCPC is just a rip off organisation providing less nenefits if any. I feel if I have problems I go to Unison

  5. Jacqui August 29, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Will I receive notification from HCPC about re registering or am i just supposed to do it? and does everyone have to submit the profiles and CPD evidence for each new registration?