15,000 social workers renew registration in first ten days but three-quarters yet to upload CPD

Proportion who have uploaded CPD to Social Work England account rises from 22% in late August to 27% as regulator urges majority to do so well before 30 November deadline to avoid risk of removal

November 30 written on a calendar to remind you an important appointment.
Photo: xtock/Adobe Stock

Almost fifteen thousand social workers have renewed their registration in the first two weeks of the process, but almost three-quarters are still to meet the requirement to upload one piece of CPD to keep their registration.

Social Work England said 14.8% of registrants – 14,770 – had renewed since the process opened on 1 September. There has also been a notable increase in the proportion who have uploaded CPD, from 21.7% on 25 August to 27.1%, but that leaves a substantial majority who have not, 12 weeks out from the renewal deadline.

How CPD rate has crept up

15 July: 17.7% of registrants
4 August: 19.4%
25 August: 21.7%
11 September: 27.1%

The regulator said it was happy with the figures but urged practitioners to upload their CPD as soon as possible – which requires the prior activation of an online account with Social Work England – and also encouraged people to renew well before the 30 November deadline.

“We’re really pleased that 14,770 social workers have applied to renew their registration with us in the first ten days,” said Sarah Blackmore, the regulator’s executive director of strategy, policy and engagement.

‘CPD is a requirement’

“The renewals deadline is 30 November but we are asking people to renew as soon as possible, as this allows extra time to sort out any issues.”

She said anyone who renewed before 25 September could pay the £90 fee by director in two equal instalments, in October and April. Those who renew after that point will have to pay in full by card, unless they already have a direct debit with Social Work England.

On CPD, Blackmore said: “It is essential that you upload some continuing professional development (CPD) before 30 November to meet the professional standards. Over 27% of social workers (27,015) have now uploaded almost 80,000 pieces of CPD, which again is very positive. I would urge the remainder of social workers to upload CPD as soon as they can…Social workers need to be very clear that although they can upload their CPD after their renewal application, their application will not be successful if valid CPD is not uploaded by 30 November. CPD is a requirement of registration.”

She pointed to a video and guidance that Social Work England has provided to support practitioners through the process of uploading CPD. The regulator is also sharing its guidance through employers and other organisations and running online training sessions for practitioners, with places currently available on sessions on 4 and 13 November. It has also published guidance on the renewal process.

How CC Inform can help you meet CPD requirements

Community Care Inform users can access support on meeting Social Work England’s requirements by using their CPD log, through our guidance on CC Inform Adults and CC Inform Children.

Covid, Black Lives Matters and CPD

Meanwhile, Social Work England has commissioned research into CPD recording during the first year of registration renewal, focusing on:

  • the experiences, including attitudes, perceptions and barriers, of social workers carrying out and recording CPD;
  • the focus and type of CPD that social workers are recording and its relationship to Social Work England’s professional standards;
  • what lessons Social Work England can learn from its first validation check of CPD, which will cover 2.5% of registrants, and any themes that can be identified across the profession’s learning;
  • the extent to which, and how, social workers reflect on national and global events and social movements in their learning, eg Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter;
  • how Social Work England should develop and improve its approach to CPD, based on specialist research into how and what social workers learn.

Blackmore said Social Work England would use the approach to improve its approach to CPD in 2021, under the new annual system of registration renewal.

“As an organisation we are committed to learning about social work and to gathering data and intelligence about the profession and people’s experiences,” she added. “We know that this has been a particularly tough year for many social workers and we appreciate all the CPD and valuable comments that we’ve already received.”

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12 Responses to 15,000 social workers renew registration in first ten days but three-quarters yet to upload CPD

  1. jules September 14, 2020 at 10:10 pm #

    Why do we need an expensive body paid for by social workers to tell us that we are good enough to practice? I would have thought that our managers are able to sign us off each year as being sufficiently good at our jobs. Where does the money we pay go to?

  2. Fog September 15, 2020 at 10:28 am #

    Somewhat disappointing – given the ability to plan and prevent drift is such a key skill. As a front line SW facing the same pressures as anyone else it really isn’t that hard to complete your registration. It probably takes less time than it does to go online and moan about it. Sorry to be so blunt but this is really not a good look for the profession.

  3. Mia Albertson September 16, 2020 at 9:57 am #

    That’s right social workers, do as you are asked however pointless the task is. There are many ways to drift so why not fill in a form that has no purpose nor adds value to good practice. Obedience at all cost, the new unthinking non- reflective practice towards the bureaucrats nirvana.

  4. Abigail September 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm #

    What’s not good for the profession is having a regulator that can’t say how it’s going to measure your personal definition of CPD against which standards. That’s just embarrassing don’t you think?

  5. Fog September 16, 2020 at 2:57 pm #

    Having read the latest response I am even more disappointed a d shocked. SW exists to help maintain and enforce the conventions of society. If SWs refuse to meet their professional obligations in terms of registration why on earth would you expect their clients to at least accept the requirements society places on them – frequently through SWs. It is reasonable to argue that SW England needs to improve but it is unreasonable and destructive to try to use that as an excuse not to register and do what you are required.

  6. Neil Harrison September 16, 2020 at 10:30 pm #

    Following orders without regard to their purpose seems an odd basis for claiming professional status. There are legitimate questions for us to ask and for SWE to answer about how this process improves standards when they tell us they will not scrutinise 98% of CPD ‘evidence’. Social workers have no choice but to participate in a farcical and useless process so ofcourse they will register but that doesn’t mean we can’t criticise. When we read of the tragic deaths in Windsor and Maidenhead and the response from the Director there, its hard to see how practice will be improved by a process eloquently set out by Abigail.

  7. Mercy September 18, 2020 at 6:37 pm #

    The Regulator appears to be more about ‘punishing’ Social Workers, than protecting the public. If the aim was to protect the public, why do Social Worker’s have to pay for that, through mandatory membership? When will the Regulator hold rogue Managers and Social Work Departments not fit for purpose accountable for failure to provide Social Worker’s a safe, supportive, and positive workplace? Statutory Social Work Departments across the UK are not able to protect their own staff, let alone vulnerable children. Shambolical is the state of SW in the UK.

  8. Spike September 18, 2020 at 8:06 pm #

    After 15 years as working as a frontline social worker in Mental Health the last 12 in an Early Intervention Team my local council thought it was a good idea to restructure. They felt I would be best placed returning to adult social care and case management. Well good bye social work . Luckily I was able to be redeployed as a community support worker in mental health . No more paper work small case loads and I can do proper social work instead of pack and wrap. CPD is just another thing that made the job harder with no time to complete at work and fighting to get training with budget cuts and all they offer is some kind of e learning. I am feel sad for the new intake of social workers in the times ahead

  9. vickie minion September 21, 2020 at 9:15 am #

    Registration is important to the social work profession and social workers need to take responsibility for their own practice. We need to recognize the power and influence we have in the lives of the people we work with and objectively evidence CPD and fitness to practice.

  10. Sarah September 21, 2020 at 5:17 pm #

    Genuine question: How will this process objectively evidence continuous professional development and fitness to practice?
    I am the parent of a son supported by a mental health social worker. I have read the information on the website of Social Work England. I genuinely can’t see how they will be able to judge your competence by asking you to self define your professional knowledge and development. Like many others, our family has a vested interest in having honest and competent social workers in our lives. It would be helpful to be reassured that this is a genuine and effective way to improve social workers.

  11. Patrick September 22, 2020 at 12:04 am #

    I am sure my colleagues fog and vickie will want to reassure you that you have nothing to worry about and that everything about this process is positive. Unfortunately I cannot share that optimism. We should not continue to pretend that this process is about improving our competence and bettering what we can offer your family and others. I am saddened by how our regulator has not managed to make this a robust and meaningful process. By persisting in a pretence that it is, they have demoralised many of us. We want to be accountable and to have scrutiny of our competence but this will not achieve this. I am sure that the social worker involved with your family will continue to do their best and work conscientiously inspite of this flawed process.

  12. Alyson Streatham September 25, 2020 at 9:33 am #

    Strange that a user of services asks a question and those advocates of how wonderful our registration process is suddenly fall silent. Why the reticence to engage? Surely you all still believe in the virtue of your convictions? Silence is not a good look when questioned by our public is it?