More and more social workers are uploading CPD to their Social Work England account but four in five are still to do so, the regulator has said.
As of 4 August, 19.4% of practitioners had uploaded at least one piece of CPD to their account, up from 17.7% on 15 July, and Social Work England said that, following a dip in upload volumes as Covid-19 took hold, practitioners were now logging CPD at a higher rate than before the pandemic struck.
There has also been a significant rise in the proportion of social workers activating their Social Work England account, on which they must upload their CPD, from 72% in mid-July to 80% as of earlier this week.
However, with just three weeks to go until the start of the three-month registration period, from 1 September to 30 November, the low rate of CPD uploads is a cause for concern given that it is a condition of re-registration that a practitioner logs at least one piece of CPD.
Barriers to CPD recording
While many practitioners – including the 20% yet to activate their online accounts – will not have tried to upload any CPD yet, a number of social workers have reported being unable to do so because of system problems they have encountered.
These have included problems logging in, the website crashing and practitioners being timed out while recording CPD – an issue Social Work England is addressing by allowing people to save entries in draft.
There have also been more fundamental criticisms of the purpose of recording CPD, with some practitioners arguing that it lacked meaning and was an unnecessary addition to their administrative burden.
Social Work England is also holding a number of online workshops, supporting social workers to upload CPD and to make the case for doing so. Nine of these currently have tickets available, while Social Work England said it would add further dates. In addition, its regional engagement leads are also holding sessions in their areas to raise awareness, and practitioners are being asked to contact their lead if they want to arrange a session.
Social Work England ‘encouraged’
Commenting on the latest figures, Social Work England director of strategy, policy and engagement Sarah Blackmore said: “While we saw an inevitable drop in recording CPD as social workers responded to Covid-19, in July over 4,200 registrants recorded at least one piece of CPD and we are currently at an average daily rate of 138 new social workers per day recording CPD, which is higher than before the pandemic.
“We are also encouraged to see that although our requirement is for social workers to record at least one piece of CPD, many are recording more than one entry, with over 56,000 individual pieces of CPD recorded to date, an average of three records per social worker.”
She said that the regulator would conduct “further research and engagement with social workers” about CPD requirements in years to come, but added: “For now, our requirement is for each social worker to record at least one piece of CPD in the system to get ready for registration renewal from 1 September. We ask that social workers do not leave this too late and record CPD on their online account as soon as possible.”