More social workers uploading CPD but four in five yet to do so, says Social Work England

Proportion who have uploaded CPD up to 19.4%, from 17.7% in mid-July, amid risk that those who do not do so by 30 November will be removed from register

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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.”

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10 Responses to More social workers uploading CPD but four in five yet to do so, says Social Work England

  1. The Watcher August 7, 2020 at 4:10 pm #

    Something tells me that the 80% yet to record CPD will NOT be removed from the register… Who exactly will they have to do the donkey work (bureaucratic social work) and pay SWE’s lucrative wages?!

    *Sits back and gets the popcorn out*

  2. janet August 8, 2020 at 12:41 pm #

    Although I have retired, the past 4 years I have been a Practice Educator for first placement social work students at a local social work charity – this is voluntary on my part and I do not receive payment. I have had 9 students over the years from English Universities and have had some sessions with international students .

    I have emailed SW England several times seeking clarification of my position as to whether I need to complete CPD but never had a reply. Telephone calls are unanswered. Yet they are quick to take registration fee for this year from my bank account.

    • Neil Sanyal August 9, 2020 at 4:24 pm #

      It is regrettable that SWE have not returned your calls. I have found them to be highly inefficient in my dealings with them. I am retired but do a 2 days per week zero hours contract for a local authority.
      My guess is that, because you are acting in a responsible role as a practice educator you will be accountable for your actions and oversee student social workers so, even though you don’t receive payments, I imagine you still need to be a registered social worker. And therefore it is worth registering if you haven’t already done so and completing one CPD as soon as possible.
      CPD stuff is best uploaded using Google Chrome browser but you are better off writing it in a Word document first and copying and pasting just in case the website times you out or crashes.
      Good luck.

  3. Robina Sellwood August 10, 2020 at 9:13 am #

    I was moved across from HCPC to SWE. I can see I am registered. I can be found on SWE. Yet I have had a letter in July (17th) the day school was out and summer break started and our family break- saying i have not activated my account and updated my CPD. I have emailed for months sending my BIA certificate, email for an activation code, I have sat on the phone and got nowhere!
    I qualified in 1997, keep up with training and BASW membership is intact.
    Not due to any fault of mine. I am at risk of being removed. SWE has not got back to me with an activation code for my CPD.

    • Robina Sellwood August 10, 2020 at 11:17 am #

      I have had contact from SWE and am now satisfied and my account is updated. Relief!

  4. jim August 10, 2020 at 11:36 am #

    I thank God am getting out of the profession via retirement by November so I am not going to waste what is left of my precious time in direct contact with service users during a pandemic sitting looking at paper and screens in order to see how many CPD points I can muster or scavenge to evidence that I am competent to practice. So the irony of CPD being mandatory is that means all those thousands of social workers who were employed before registration and mandatory CPD would by todays standards be deemed not fit to practice!!!!

    CPD was always done voluntarily and often the best, most dedicated and most experienced social workers were the ones who may have done the least number of courses because they were working flat out to prevent and assist with crises involving people’s lives. But those who were not so keen for front line demanding work spent more time doing courses and CPD so on paper SWE ironically could view these practitioners as the most competent. Its a nonsense

  5. Grace Easie-Edgar August 11, 2020 at 1:54 pm #

    After reading this article I tried to go on and review the website is out of order for updates !!!
    Really !!

  6. Annette Stevens August 11, 2020 at 10:41 pm #

    I too tried to upload CPD a couple if days ago and was told the website is down. I’ve only been trying to upload it since February. I’m also still waiting for a response from SWE to an email I sent them 3 months ago.

  7. Mel August 14, 2020 at 8:16 pm #

    Is SWE aware that we are in the middle of a pandemic and our teams and services are depleted? Everything is slowing down except the demand for support. Give us a break. You’ll have no social workers left if this continues.

  8. Michael August 14, 2020 at 8:32 pm #

    Not able to upload anything today either! Useless!