No ‘immediate’ fee hike for social workers under new regulator, says government

The Department for Education said running costs will initially be met through fees set at "current" level and government investment

Photo: Gourmet Photography/Fotolia

Social work registration fees will not “immediately” increase when regulation of the profession is transferred from the HCPC to a new body, the government has said.

In a response to the education committee report into social work reform, the government said the new regulator’s running costs would initially be met through a combination of registration fees –  set “at the current level” – and government funding.

“This government has invested significantly in social work and intends to keep doing so to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are met.

“We would therefore not anticipate any immediate changes to the registration fees paid by social workers. Any plans to increase social workers’ fees in the future will be subject to full consultation and approval from parliament,” the response said.

Ministers plan for regulation to shift to a new government-controlled social work body in 2018. Legislation underpinning the change is included in the Children and Social Work Bill currently going through parliament.

The education committee said it was “unclear” why a change of regulator was necessary so soon after the General Social Care Council was shut down in 2012. “The government has already spent too much money changing regulatory bodies,” the committee report said.

The committee’s report, published in July, raised a series of concerns about the Department for Education’s wider reforms of children’s social care. It said the change programme could destabilise the workforce and did little to address “endemic” retention problems in the sector.

In its response, the government addressed the committee’s recommendations through referencing existing reforms, specifically fast-track training, accreditation and the proposed regulator.

It rejected concerns that the creation of a government-controlled regulator “will further marginalise the voice of social workers” and insisted regulation needed “urgent reform”.

“We need to set credible standards which address evidence of failings in practice and set clear expectations of the profession.”

“Reforming regulation offers an excellent opportunity to address concerns relating to the need for a comprehensive CPD framework for social workers,” the government response said.

It also rejected recommendations that there should be more generic social work elements in the Frontline and Step Up social work training programmes, but said it would research the long-term retention and progression of participants.

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3 Responses to No ‘immediate’ fee hike for social workers under new regulator, says government

  1. LongtimeSW October 14, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    . . . . . . They said the same about transfer from GSCC to HCPC . . . . and what happened the following year? A rate hike

    Just a thought. Wonder what would happen if all social workers refused to sign up to the new regulator en masse? Gonna throw us all in jail?

  2. Stuart Holmes October 15, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    To me the whole concept & practice of social worker registration over all it’s history smacks far too much of demonising and scapegoating those in the profession to divert attention from the failings of others (government, management & funding come to mind).

    Maybe it would be a better world if parents had to be members of a regulatory body, pay a ridiculous fee and be subjected to a CPD regime in order to be allowed to ”practice” (sic) their ‘profession’.

  3. Andrea October 19, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    Brilliant Stuart!! lol