Two-thirds of social workers yet to upload CPD, eight weeks from registration renewal deadline

Social Work England urges practitioners to step up pace on recording CPD, as September targets missed and November deadline looms

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Just one-third of England’s approximately 98,000 of social workers have uploaded CPD to their Social Work England account, eight weeks out from the deadline to do so in order to remain on the register.

The figure of 33,151 practitioners having uploaded CPD as of today falls short of the regulator’s target of 46,880 by the end of September,  prompting calls from Social Work England for practitioners “step up the pace”.

Uploading CPD is a necessary condition for renewing registration, which all social workers who want to remain on the register must do between 1 September and 30 November this year. So far, 30,504 practitioners have applied for renewal, but one-third of these (10,139) have not uploaded any CPD, meaning they have not completed the process.

Anyone who has not uploaded CPD by 30 November will be asked to do so within the next 21 days. If they do not, they will be removed from the register, unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances.

Targets hit and missed

A paper to last month’s Social Work England board meeting set out targets the regulator has established for social workers to activate their online accounts with the regulator and upload CPD onto them. The milestones were based on past trends, previous experience from other regulators and the likely impact of communications sent out to practitioners. While Social Work England is ahead of its target on online accounts, with 90% having now activated, compared with a target of 85% for of the end of September, it has fallen behind in relation to CPD.

Before the 30 September target was missed, the regulator had fell short of its goal of of 38,300 by 7 September, with 26,188 social workers having uploaded CPD by this date.

Sarah Blackmore, executive director for strategy, policy and engagement at Social Work England, said: “We are delighted that almost 90% of the profession have now activated their online accounts. They now just need to take the next important step and upload their CPD on to the system.

“CPD isn’t just another piece of admin. Structured learning and reflection are essential for good practice, benefitting both you as a professional and the people you support. We understand that social workers are incredibly busy, which is why we don’t tell you how much CPD you have to record. We want people to participate in learning that is meaningful to them. We’re committed to embedding CPD into the social work profession, as something that all social workers do by default.”

Social Work England is running a series of online workshops on uploading CPD over the next month, for which places are available, and has also published guidance on how to do so.

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21 Responses to Two-thirds of social workers yet to upload CPD, eight weeks from registration renewal deadline

  1. Fog October 6, 2020 at 11:27 am #

    Am I surprised that so many social workers do not appear to be taking their professional registration seriously? No! As a social worker of more than 30 years with extensive experience both as a manager and front line practitioner (which is what I am currently – outside of the public sector) I have observed a huge variance in the professional calibre of social workers – both academically and also general competence. This is probably true of all professions but I do wonder whether it is more so in social work?

    While SW Englands website and processes can be improved they are not as much of a burden as some are making out and the CPD element is quite flexible in terms of what can be counted as such. A bit of organisation and planning doesn’t make this difficult and I have added more than 10 separate CPDs since October 2019.

    People who work as social workers have to make a decision about whether they want to be professionals and be perceived as so. Those who choose not to complete their registration requirements should not be registered as social workers and asked to find employment as something other than a social worker. Our clients deserve nothing less in my opinion.

  2. Flint October 6, 2020 at 11:35 am #

    Mmm Is it just me ? but who is getting fed up with being chased by yet another regulator as we continue to fight this virus tooth and nail and in some cases with our lives .Yes I know we have to register to pay our tax , I mean registration but could you just let us get on with our jobs please then once this virus has passed chase us then… No , it will never happen so , I have uploaded the evidence and paid my fee as ordered. Just another piece of admin to complete on top of the admin we have daily.

    • Joanne October 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm #

      Flint I absolutely agree with you. I have been working flat out over the past 6 months and submitting my CPD is not high on my to do list every day! I also would have thought there would have been some compassion from our regulator given we are working our socks off through a pandemic! Obviously not!!!

  3. Jacenta October 6, 2020 at 4:43 pm #

    “We want people to participate in learning that is meaningful to them”. What’s meaningful to us is good supervision, validation, quality training and manageable caseloads rather than a meaningless process that by it’s own admission SWE cannot appraise.

  4. Anthea Browngill October 6, 2020 at 8:22 pm #

    My dear colleague Fog, ask yourself this: if you have uploaded more than 10 CPD’s do you really believe that you have enhanced your knowledge, skills and improved your practice when none of the stories you wrote by their own admission will be validated by your regulator? Self defined knowledge never leads to competence really. I think I am a competent surgeon because of reading a few books on vasectomy but sadly I don’t think the Royal College of Surgeons are prepared to accept my self defined competence. The uselessness of the process is in the number 10. The admirable sentiment that “our clients” deserve better is also undermined by the number 10. When we have a regulator that knows how to objectively measure competence we can have pride that we are professionals in a different way than say professional footballers are. The CPD process is a sham route to professional competence. Ask yourself this: if every social worker has an MA degree, why are you lamenting the academic calibre of social workers? Perhaps if we concentrated on improving social work education rather than this useless a smokescreen for collecting registration fees disguised as CPD, you would have more pride in your ‘profession’.

  5. Anita October 6, 2020 at 9:43 pm #

    I showed the requirements for our registration to my architect friend and am still recovering from his mocking it as describing “what I did on my holidays”. When our regulator makes us a laughing stock it’s really very difficult to take the registration process seriously.

  6. Tim October 6, 2020 at 9:58 pm #

    Apparently SWE regard “structured learning and reflection” as “essential for good practice”. A period of reflection on the continued missed CPD targets and learning from why so few social workers are enthused by the CPD process might help the bureaucrats understand the shambles they keep plugging.

  7. Stephen October 6, 2020 at 10:18 pm #

    So Fog let me get this straight, SWE with the collusion of BASW will look at 2.5% of submitted CPD documents, set the competency standard on our ability to give our narrative a title, let us determine what we did and ‘reflect’ on what we say we learnt and you think that’s a professional benchmark of competence? Strange times indeed.

  8. HappyFat October 7, 2020 at 9:45 am #

    We have an 80% chance of our CPD not being checked. Good enough for me to upload my shopping list and reflect that a lifetime of eating crisps probably isn’t doing me much good. But have I learnt to give up the mighty potato staple? I am sure that can be my next CPD upload.

  9. Finton October 7, 2020 at 9:58 am #

    Desperation and embarrassment redefined as a route to competence. Fog my dear dear colleague, just give up the pretence: our betters don’t know how to make you the proud ‘professional’ you rightly want to be. Participate in a pointless exercise but please don’t encourage them in their delusional beliefs. We all know that this is about collecting the fees and nothing more. If you really value your ‘clients’ just be honest, better for the soul.

    • Fog October 11, 2020 at 1:00 pm #

      I certainly don’t need SW England to motivate my own professional development – after obtaining multiple degrees and postgrad diplomas + more than 30 years experience I know I can do that myself. I do however understand that sometimes to maintain professional registration you have to comply with requests to evidence at least something – even if you don’t agree with it. The CPD is very basic and I have already asked SW England to make it more demanding and ideally with some level of grading so we can separate out the everyday level SWs from those who have achieved mastery. As for the idea of adding on your shopping receipt onto the CPD which someone suggested – I think that comment epitomises the differences we have in SW to what we consider is professional.

  10. SG October 9, 2020 at 7:47 pm #

    A futile exercise

    • SG October 9, 2020 at 7:50 pm #

      It appears no one likes to undertake it. But it would stay on

  11. Dotun October 12, 2020 at 1:09 am #

    One person’s belief in their self defined mastery is another person’s shopping list. Social work is not a profession. Social work education has no rigour and so called leaders are intellectually bereft. We need to reclaim our Vocation from the smug self serving geniuses that think asking you to tell them a story makes you a competent and safe practitioner. Don’t believe the nonsense you are fed and don’t convince yourself that you are part of a meaningful process Mr Fog.

  12. James Appledore October 12, 2020 at 9:09 am #

    Dear Fog, just a thought, you may not be the master of social work you believe yourself to be. Very strange that you are so preoccupied with proving you are superior to mere ordinary social workers. Not that it matters but your multiple degrees can probably be bested by someone else. I qualified as a social worker in 1979, I have a PhD in Pedagogy, I have an Msc in Applied Statistics, I have a Diploma in Mental Health Studies, I have a Diploma in International Social Work, I have a Bsc in Social Sciences, I merely have a CQSW, and I am lucky to have worked in times when employers valued post qualification training so have attended many quality training courses. Does any of this make me a good and competent social worker? Not my decision to make. Self reverence might feel good but opinions of others mean more. The only thing I know is that humility is a better route to insight than any of my qualifications.

  13. Julia October 13, 2020 at 9:10 am #

    So its seems to be professional or perceived as such social workers just need to upload a puffed up Twitter standard comment on their own worthiness and job done. Fog, thank you for exposing that all that’s required is the lowest of standards to maintain registration even as I suspect that wasn’t your intent. Pre-school story telling does not make for competence but it does ensure SWE collects the registration fees to continue the pretence of professionalism.

  14. Filiz October 13, 2020 at 8:27 pm #

    “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less” said Humpty Dumpty. “The question is, replied Alice, whether you can make words mean so many different things” “The question is said Humpty Dumpty, which is master- that’s all”.
    One is a parable, the other is a pretence. Hadn’t realised SWE world was ‘Through the Looking Glass” without the literary merit. Thank you for the education Fog.

  15. Ozdemir Altan October 14, 2020 at 8:52 am #

    Desperation must be unbearable if the Chief Social Workers are wheeled out to proclaim their pride in being social workers and to encourage us all to upload CPD.

  16. Sandra Barnett October 17, 2020 at 4:23 pm #

    Oh dear, has deperation to ‘prove’ professionalism reached such a nadir that we are asked now to “evidence at least something”.

  17. Ian October 20, 2020 at 9:31 pm #

    Could we have an update please, 4only 42 days to go.

  18. James October 22, 2020 at 8:56 am #

    Tic tock, tic tock, tic tock. Don’t panic. There’ll be a tweet along any minute now no doubt.