Covid-19: Social Work England starts drive to temporarily register up to 8,000 former practitioners

Emergency coronavirus legislation will allow regulator to set up temporary register to provide extra capacity for profession to deal with disease impact

Social Work England has launched a drive to bring up to 8,000 former practitioners back into the profession to deal with the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) on the workforce.

It is setting up a temporary register to ensure local authorities and other employers can continue to deliver services by bringing extra capacity into the profession to counter staff absence as a result of self-isolation or increased sickness.

The emergency Coronavirus Bill, published today, enables the creation of the temporary register in England and an equivalent list in Wales.

Fit, proper and suitably qualified

The bill would allow the regulator to create the temporary register in the event of an emergency – as defined by the government – enabling it to register individual social workers, or groups of practitioners, if Social Work England considers them “fit, proper and suitably experienced”.

This is, in effect, a lower threshold for registration than the standard requirements to join the registration defined by the Social Work Regulations 2018. These are that the person:

  • has qualified within the previous five years or, if not, has met specified training requirements if they are returning to the register;
  • is capable of safe and effective practice in line with professional standards;
  • has the necessary knowledge of English;
  • has not been convicted of a specified offence.

Practitioners on the temporary register will also not be subject to registration fees or requirements to complete continuing professional development.

However, Social Work England will be able to revoke the person’s temporary registration at any time, including if it suspected the person’s fitness to practise is impaired.

Local employer demand

The temporary register will last as long as the emergency. Once on the temporary register social workers will be approached by local employers if their services are needed.

“Social workers protect millions of people every day and are more important than ever as society faces unprecedented upheaval during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Social Work England.

“In the coming days we will contact 8,000 former social workers and set up a temporary register to make sure people across England continue to receive the best possible support when they need it most.”

Welsh register

The Coronavirus Bill also provides for a similar temporary register in Wales, through an amendment to the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2016.

The news came as Welsh regulator Social Care Wales announced a number of measures designed to reduce pressures on the workforce and maintain capacity during the coronavirus emergency. These include:

  • only removing people from the register if they ask for it or if it believes there is a risk to the public;
  • postponing fitness to practise final hearings where it is safe to do so.

However, chief executive Sue Evans said Social Care Wales’s response to enquiries, including about registration, would be slower as a result of the crisis.

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7 Responses to Covid-19: Social Work England starts drive to temporarily register up to 8,000 former practitioners

  1. Daisy March 20, 2020 at 5:30 pm #

    A pity so many dedicated social workers faced punitive FTP hearings under HCPC and left the profession.

  2. carol wells March 20, 2020 at 8:36 pm #

    I am interested in the temporary register. I am currently retired about 3 years . I am fit and healthy.

  3. Cairn Monaghan March 21, 2020 at 1:05 pm #

    I took early retirement age 58 last may after 25yrs in the field I worked for gwynedd council children’s teams and fostering team during these uncertain times in the uk frontline social workers are paramount to the work being undertaken and should be supported as much as possible.i would consider during these period to come out of early retirement to support and protect the vulnerable client groups.

    • jim March 24, 2020 at 1:33 pm #

      Thats kind of you to do that even when your pension would have been reduced on cost neutral basis for retiring early or before the age of 60, plus with you ”only” having 25 years service your pension would be well short of the full service. I know you are doing it for vulnerable people and not the LA but what a pity the LA’s give social workers a relative pittance of a pension when 25 years as an MP for example would get you 3 or 4 times te pension! That says a lot about the value they put on social workers as opposed to politicians

  4. Pratima Mathur March 25, 2020 at 12:00 pm #

    I took early retirement 2 years ago. and l am interested in the temporary register.

  5. Noor March 30, 2020 at 4:57 am #


    I would also be interested. Please can we have more information. Kindest Regards Noor

    • Anne Brocklesby March 31, 2020 at 10:46 am #

      I am 69 retired qualified social worker. Qualified 1974 with CQSW and Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Social Studies. Worked in social and health care and voluntary sector as well as bringing up our 2 children ?. Worked with enhanced DBS in most recent work in mental health.
      Anne Brocklesby