Social Work England removes 256 practitioners from register for not meeting final CPD deadline

Regulator places removed practitioners on temporary register, enabling them to practise, and says overwhelming compliance with CPD requirement shows process was 'straightforward and manageable'

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Social Work England has removed 256 practitioners from the register for not meeting the final deadline to submit a piece of CPD in order to renew their registration. The regulator said that the low figure – as a proportion of the 97,000 social workers who needed to renew this year – showed that its controversial requirement for practitioners to submit a piece of CPD in order to renew was “straightforward and manageable”.

The regulator has put the whole group, in addition to the 4,590 practitioners removed for not meeting the original 30 November deadline for renewing their registration, onto the temporary register set up to bolster capacity in response to coronavirus, enabling them to continue practising as social workers.

However, it stressed that those wanting to be restored to the main register – enabling them to practise beyond the pandemic – needed to submit a piece of CPD to do so, in addition to paying the £135 restoration fee on top of the £90 registration fee.

Exceptional circumstances rejected

Social Work England rejected requests from eight of the 256 for “exceptional circumstances” to be accepted as a reason for not submitting CPD. No exceptional circumstances requests were accepted.

This is the first time social workers have been required to submit a piece of CPD as a condition of registration renewal, though the content of the CPD will only be assessed in the case of the 2.5% of practitioners whose submissions will be validated. This group will be notified that they will be validated by email on 5 January.

The CPD policy was criticised by some practitioners as a tick-box exercise or an unnecessary burden during a pandemic, while others faced technical difficulties in uploading their submissions onto their Social Work England accounts.

With five days to go until the 30 November renewal deadline, about a quarter of the 97,000 practitioners who needed to renew had not done so, sparking concerns that large swathes of the profession would be removed at a stroke and prompting the Association of Directors of Children’s Services and Social Workers Union to call for an extension to the deadline.

Last-minute surge

This was rejected by Social Work England, and a last-minute surge saw about 18,000 complete renewal during the final days, with the number removed for not doing so comparable to previous years. That left 1,347 who had completed their renewal application but not submitted any CPD, whom Social Work England gave until 21 December to do so.

Sarah Blackmore, its executive director of strategy, policy and engagement, thanked the “significant majority” of practitioners who had submitted CPD, saying that they had recognised it was “an essential way of keeping their practice up to date and meeting the professional standards”.

She added: “We absolutely appreciate that this has been an extremely tough year for the profession, but the thousands who still made time to submit at least one piece of CPD shows that the new process was straightforward and manageable. As with everything we do, we will be reviewing the process with input from social workers and the sector to consider any improvements we can make.”

Anyone looking to contact Social Work England over the Christmas period should take note of its opening hours.

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22 Responses to Social Work England removes 256 practitioners from register for not meeting final CPD deadline

  1. Mary January 1, 2021 at 8:08 pm #

    You can see the list of people who didn’t re register online. My deceased colleague is on the list.
    We don’t get treated well in social work. I just quit. I don’t want my name there online next year showing I didn’t register.

    • Anne-Marie January 8, 2021 at 6:48 pm #

      I am appalled that people – like your deceased colleague – are on a publicly accessible list. Absolutely no excuse for this.

      Well done SWE. Talk about bringing the profession into disrepute.

    • Sarah Brennan January 8, 2021 at 9:27 pm #

      That is awful Mary, I’m sorry if seeing that caused pain to you and your colleagues. Community Care can you not look at these comments and raise with SWE? Is anyone ever going to advocate for the professionals on the ground? (rhetorical and silly question)

    • Sorry to hear that, Mary.

  2. Althea January 3, 2021 at 9:48 pm #

    My colleague who returned to Canada last February and dilligently informed SWE of this and cancelled her direct debit for fees is also on the register as someone who apparently failed to register. This is what happens when we are saddled with a totally unaccountable regulator more interested in their own image than the well being of social workers.

    • Anne-Marie January 8, 2021 at 6:59 pm #


      SWE are the consequence of sensationalisation by (a chiefly) Tory media when things go wrong, paranoia by the political class and a – not to secret – hard line conservative agenda to marginalise the profession.

      Anybody remember the ‘good old’ GSCC days and how much (or little) the registration fee was back then.

  3. Out but still In January 3, 2021 at 10:33 pm #

    Here is a direct quote from an email from SWE in response to a request for voluntary removal from the register due to retirement:

    “You were removed from the register due to failing to register. Our regulatory framework does not allow us to update your status to voluntarily removed once you have been removed from the register for failing to register…While your previous registration with SWE has been removed, you have been given temporary registration on the SWE register”.

  4. Nicky January 4, 2021 at 10:24 am #

    Perfect example of a rigidly inflexible authoritarian bureaucracy spouting nonsensical and incomprehensible justifications, underscored by you are the failure not Us.

  5. A Man Called Horse January 5, 2021 at 3:03 pm #

    Social Work England genesis was a strongly held belief that many Social Workers are incompetent at their jobs and that they must be controlled strictly. Not wanted in the profession people who are left of far right politically. Not wanted people who have empathy towards others. Not wanted people who belive Conservative Governments are evil and responsible for the mass poverty in society. Not wanted people who will not share the Tory view of the world. Social Work England has massive power and they are going to make the lives of Social Workers miserable. Once you accept that you are now their property and they own you soul and body you will be an acceptable Social Worker. Welcome to 1984 this Orwellian nightmare has only just started. We are coming for you.

    • JB January 8, 2021 at 6:28 pm #

      With respect, Mr Horse, this is utter nonsense. I don’t see any evidence that SWE are looking to restrict the profession to people who are “far right politically”, have no empathy for others, or “share the Tory view of the world”. Or that SWE are planning to own social workers “body and soul” in some kind of “Orwellian nightmare” where they make our lives miserable. While we all sometimes use hyperbole, it becomes meaningless when you throw around allegations like this.

    • Anne-Marie January 8, 2021 at 7:04 pm #

      Couldn’t have put it bettrr myself.

      Spot on.

  6. Anthea January 5, 2021 at 6:45 pm #

    Well said Mr Horse. Even the deceased and the emigrated are apparently unable to get away from their bullying. The silence on this from supposed social work leaders and the so called Social Workers Union is very telling.

  7. Mary Mary never so contrary January 8, 2021 at 5:55 pm #

    Again we have a regulator in SWE who is more interested in collecting fees and persecuting social workers, particularly those who work in statutory, than supporting, and weeding out the few ‘bad apples’ in the profession – particularly those in middle and upper management in local authorities.

    SWE (like past regulators) have never stopped to ask themselves why the highest number of social worker’s being reported for so-called ‘misconduct’ are Children’s Statutory Social Worker’s – as opposed to those in adults and mental health, and why the concerns are mainly around workload and practise issues. You don’t need to be Einstein to work out the system is broken and not fit for purpose, and is failing both social workers and children in this country, alike.

    That’s why I am ‘selling up’ after almost 3 decades living in the UK, and heading back to Australia to settle. It’s one of the few places (bar NZ and Canada) where one can still achieve good pay, and a work / life balance. Australia also has paid overtime in statutory services for anybody who may be thinking about emigrating.

    The ‘swamp’ (or cesspit) needs to be drained, and I for one will not be handing around waiting for it to happen forever.

  8. Joe Bradford January 8, 2021 at 6:58 pm #

    This has done absolutely nothing to raise the profile of social work or reassure the public. Just buzz words to justify taking our money annually while fat cats get to sit in a nice office in London. Social workers were sold a bunch of lies and pay for the privilege of another level of disciplining. I am so looking forward to leaving this profession behind just can’t stand the bulls**t anymore.

  9. Experto Crede January 8, 2021 at 8:24 pm #

    Help me as someone in a profession required to submit significant CPD to remain on professional register.

    Aside from the apparent leadership issues and political infighting was this new CPD or additional or too proscribed or irrelevant? How is it different to before ( pandemic aside) ? Bit worried about Horse’s description of what would be left…

  10. Rachael Goddard January 9, 2021 at 10:48 am #

    I too did not re-register as I moved to Canada and I retired-I am listed as ‘temporary registration-coronavirus’?? This does not reflect all my years of service or the valuable work we as Social workers do. When I also see the term ‘voluntary removal’ I associate it with ‘leaving before you were pushed’ and does not reflect the real reasons many leave the profession-even when they are deceased. I loved my role as a SW and miss it every day-however I feel very let down that once again the profession is not given the respect and status it so rightly deserves

  11. Norris January 10, 2021 at 7:52 pm #

    I have had numerous e-mail communication and a 45 minute conversation with SWE to remove me from the register as I have retired and will be emigrating. They have me as failing to register and now on the temporary register even though I have filled in their form to remove me. Incidentally, their removal form and their complaints form show ad surveys and there is no.acknowledgent that they have received these. Being told that they can’t remove me from their register as a retiree because I have “failed to register” and that this is in line with “our regulations” is pretty Orwellian JB. If as a retired social worker and a citizen I am not free to come off the register because of “regulations” until SWE decide I can, than I am a subject to the kind of repressive regimentation typical of authoritarian dystopia Orwell describes. Following orders is a frightening ideology for a regulator of social workers. None of this is hyperbole, this is my experience of SWE

    • JB January 11, 2021 at 8:32 am #

      I’m sorry to hear about the problems you had removing yourself from the register Norris, but that sounds overly bureaucratic rather than Orwellian to me. I hope you never have to live under a genuinely repressive authoritarian regime. It also doesn’t sound like this is an attempt to restrict social workers to purely those with far right political beliefs as (ludicrously) claimed by Mr Horse.

  12. Norman January 11, 2021 at 10:14 am #

    JB, repression relies on buraucracy that’s why authoritarian regimes collecti and retain lists. Archivist have always been respected by such regimes. Not that it matters but actually I have lived under tyranny, which is why I migrated to England. This is why I have a very good sense of what a non-thinking following the rules mindset leads to. I don’t need apologies, not that SWE offer any, I just need to get out of their grubby clutches. It’s really strange how hard they are trying to keep social workers who want removal and those social workers who haven’t even bothered to upload CPD CPD don’t you think? How can you defend and have confidence in such a regulator? Horse over eggs no doubt to make the point. But he is right that the contempt SWE have towards social workers daring to challenge their legitimacy is sinister. They are a cabal reliant on their political masters and exist as long as they do their political bidding. This is why they obsess unthinkingly about rules and regulations.

  13. Nihat January 12, 2021 at 11:40 am #

    Today I was finally removed from the register having retired in April 2020 and letting SWE know at the time. By some strange unfathomable logic, I convinced my self that because of this I did not need to upload CPD. Apparently my assumption was wrong. My ‘status’ is now “No longer registered-Failed to renew”. Asked why “did not renew” was not an option, I was told as have many collagues here “our regulations” don’t allow this. I really think CC should ask SWE why they are unable to allow us to leave social work, in my case after 32 years of frontline service, without being tarnished with a “failed” label. In any other profession people are allowed to retire, choose to stop working, can make a life elsewhere, but apparently those choices are not allowed for social workers. I see a very bleak future for social workers with a regulator that refuses to listen, is inflexible, authoritarian and clearly has no real desire to protect the public and ensure competence.I could have remained on the temporary register along with the hundreds who did not comply with the CPD requirements. Selena says it better.

  14. Craig Santis January 12, 2021 at 12:47 pm #

    Whether SWE is Orwellian, Kafkaesque, Machiavellian or any other variant, one thing even JB can’t defend is ther competence. Why are ‘social workers’ who couldn’t bother to or genuinely couldn’t upload CPD on the register? If it’s a pragmatic response to Covid pressures, how are SWE ensuring that those practitioners are safe and competent?

  15. Andrea January 13, 2021 at 10:54 am #

    In Social Work England world the numbers on the Register matter the most. It’s truly shocking that they refuse to listen. Our wellbeing is not their concern. Public safety is just a phrase. I asked them, from my front room in Cyprus, how a former social worker permanetly living outside England is on the register, how they can judge I am a safe practitioner given my “failure” to submit CPD? Answer? You guessed it: “Regulations”. A regulator seeking public and professional confidence in its conduct should explain and defend its positions, not bully and dismiss us. Please ask them for a statement CC? Surely as a publicly funded quango they have accountability?