Social work registration period opens with just over one-fifth having completed CPD requirement

No concession on removing practitioners from register for not uploading CPD, says Social Work England, as three-month registration renewal period opens

Register Now sign on a desk
Photo: 9dreamstudio/Adobe Stock

The three-month period for almost 100,000 social workers in England to renew their registration opens next week with almost four-fifths not having met the requirement for recording CPD.

The registration period runs from next Tuesday (1 September) to 30 November and all practitioners must complete the online renewal during this time.

This requires them to activate an online account with Social Work England and upload one piece of continuing professional development to it, as well as checking their details are correct, declaring anything that may affect their fitness to practise, such as a criminal conviction or investigation, and paying the £90 renewal fee.

However, as of 25 August, 82.6% had activated their account and just 21.7% had recorded CPD.

Anyone who doesn’t upload a piece of CPD before, or as part of, their renewal by 30 November will be contacted by Social Work England and given 21 days to do so. If they do not, they will be removed.

Social workers have raised significant concerns about the process for doing so, including being timed out when uploading CPD and not being able to access their online accounts, issues which Social Work England has said it has addressed.

In an interview with Community Care this week, the regulator’s executive director of registration, quality assurance and legal, Phil Hallam, said there would be no concession on the 21-day limit – though he was confident that very few practitioners would be at risk of removal.

“It’s a requirement [to complete a piece of CPD] to maintain your registration with us,” he said. “Our rules are clear on that.”

Hallam said that, as people completed their renewal, they would be reminded of the need to upload a piece of CPD, and that those who had not uploaded CPD would be targeted directly by email.

He added: “We are not complacent about it but I am confident that by the time we get to the end of November there will be a very small number of people who haven’t [completed  any CPD]when we’ll have to activate the 21 day process. There are consequences to not doing that at the end of the 21 days.”

Hallam urged people to set up their online accounts and upload CPD before they renew, and to renew early in the three-month process, to avoid the risk of not meeting the 30 November deadline.<

He added: “If people want to hang on until the end of November that’s up to them but we would encourage them to do it early. If there are issues with people’s application, for example if they need to make a declaration, we don’t want people to leave it too late and get anxious.

“Please do create your online account to enable you to renew your registration as soon as possible. Please do your renewal as soon as possible. Please be ready to put some CPD into the system. If you don’t have CPD to upload it should only take you 20-30 minutes to renew.”

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13 Responses to Social work registration period opens with just over one-fifth having completed CPD requirement

  1. ABC August 30, 2020 at 3:20 pm #

    Never mind “no concessions” on removal from the register, what about those of us who have asked to be removed from the register but are still waiting to be.

  2. Stacy August 30, 2020 at 6:05 pm #

    To be honest I was something would come along in this year that would mean I could leave Social Work for a less taxing and more appreciative employment; in the minimum less gruelling. Oh well I guess I will be uploading the CPD I have done and paying a fee for my ongoing abuse while trying to help others.

    • jim September 4, 2020 at 1:57 pm #

      and all that matters in the eyes of some social workers is that they tick their CPD boxes to prove their professional worth as if social workers in pre reg days must have all been not fit to practise because that is what the Reg Body would say now about any social worker who could not ”evidence” their CPD possibly because they were too busy actually doing what social workers do best..helpingand saving people directly and not on paper!

  3. jim September 3, 2020 at 11:31 am #

    The thing that gets me about registration at all is that before it was brougt in a few years ago all social workers who had obtained the basic CQSW were deemed fit to practise, but now post registration if they have not accounted for their mandatory CPD on paper they are deemed not competent or fit to practise. Its as if the CQSW and MSW etc just qualify you to register but not to remain registered

    By todays post registration standards therefore the previous generation of social workers must have all been incompetent regardless of how great they may have actually been on case work! But just as long as we tick the correct boxes and write up a few post dated links to past cases we become worthy of staying in the profession. Pre registration social workers engaged voluntarily in CPD,sometimes through mandatory courses their Councils imposed when they had the time in a profession where they barely had time for a tea break

    Mental Health nurses in Ireland have been registered for decades but do not have mandatory CPD but no one is saying they are not fit to practise

  4. Terry McClatchey September 3, 2020 at 8:42 pm #

    It’s really not very taxing to upload one piece of CPD. I found the “structured” option easier. When you’re done it once, subsequent entries take less time. Advanced IT skills are not required. The minimum threshold of one piece of self-defined learning or reflection is a very low bar for anyone who aspires to describe themselves as a professional.

    • jim September 4, 2020 at 1:50 pm #

      But its not just the mimimum is it? Its the whole ongoing PD process throughout the year being mandatory rather than voluntary as it was before registration! CPD of itself does not and should not define anyone as professional because any so called professional can do all the CPD they want but be pretty crap in practice..but as long as they can fool the Reg Body and appear professional thats all that matters to some!

    • Andrea Topham September 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm #

      Do explain Terry how what you uploaded improves your practice and has value to users of services? The issue is not the ease or otherwise of uploading a piece of CPD but how the bureaucracy will add and improve competence given that SWE doesn’t have any way of checking quality and can’t determine what is to be evidenced as they cannot say what the standard they are judging us against. Typical social work, appearance of doing something when doing nothing meaningful.

    • Nigel September 4, 2020 at 6:52 pm #

      So rather than evidence competence through objective criteria, our regulator demonstrates its ‘commitment’ to professional standards by seriously encouraging self defined learning and reflection as the measure. A low bar indeed. Can we upload how our new learned cooking skills during lockdown enabled us to reflect on how recipes are a metaphor for team working?

  5. Jerry Delgado September 4, 2020 at 4:01 pm #

    “One piece of self-defined learning or reflection”
    That should ensure our practise is enhanced folks.

  6. Terry McClatchey September 4, 2020 at 9:10 pm #

    As with all education, training or learning, it’s the content and personal application that matters. Any exam, qualification, certification or registration is only a proxy for what has gone before.

  7. Andrea Topham September 6, 2020 at 10:13 pm #

    Surely the question to ask Terry is if our competence rests on self defined knowledge, what is the point of pretending we are being appraised? Indeed as Nigel says, why can’t comparing team work to a recipe be a legitimate learning metaphor? No one is asking for exams, just clarity about the criteria SWE is using to appraise our CPD against. If everything is valid, nothing can be questioned can it?

  8. jim downey September 7, 2020 at 12:55 pm #

    Look any social worker can play the game and fire off his or her self defined learning and retrospectively manipulate their practice to the points and evidence tick box that SWE seeks. When highly competent, very experienced practioners are working flat out to do the job, they do not suddenly think when CPD deadline looms ”oh my God if I do not upload that CPD piece I really am not fit to practice as I have not provided SWE with my paper ”evidence” but John down the corridor who is upopular with everyone and causing problems with his service users has got all his CPD done already!” So its not so much what you can do but what you can show which matters

    So I think the CPD as before registration should be voluntary and trust put in social workers that they are doing it. Yes they should be registered to protect title and others abusing the title..and the employers as before need to provide opportunites and set aside time for CPD/courses

  9. Polly Anna September 9, 2020 at 8:54 am #

    Look we need to have confidence that SWE know how to improve standards. They must have our best interest as a priority otherwise there wouldn’t be so many executives putting in the effort I think. We must trust them.