Social workers urged to ‘not leave it until the last minute’ as registration renewal opens

Social Work England tells practitioners to renew as soon as possible following rush to meet deadline in 2020

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

The three-month period for social workers to renew their registration has begun, with Social Work England urging practitioners not to “leave it until the last minute”.

Practitioners who want to stay on the register must renew between 1 September and 30 November by submitting an application, paying the £90 annual fee and recording at least one piece of continuing professional development (CPD).

This is the second time Social Work England has run its annual renewal process. Last year, there was a last-minute surge, with almost 20% of practitioners (18,000) completing the process in the last five days before the deadline. Just over 1,000 then took advantage of a three-week grace period after the deadline to meet the CPD requirement so they could stay on the register.

In the light of that experience, the regulator urged registrants, about 100,000 of whom are eligible to renew, to do so as soon as possible.

‘Immense strain’

“A lot of people left it until the last minute last year, which put immense strain on teams and employers who weren’t sure if their workforce would turn up for work in December – which is traditionally an extremely busy time for social services,” said Philip Hallam, executive director of registration, education quality assurance and legal at Social Work England.

“It may sound harsh that any social worker who doesn’t successfully complete the renewal process will be removed from practice. But it’s essential that the public have reassurance that any social worker in their lives can be found on the public register and will meet the national professional standards.”

Some practitioners, including principal social workers and interim chief social worker for adults Fran Leddra, have taken to Twitter to report their renewals and encourage others to do so.

Renewal process

Hallam said that the regulator had made changes to the process in light of feedback received on last year’s experience.

It expects practitioners to renew through their Social Work England online accounts, though the “small number” of practitioners who are unable to do so can request a paper application form, which takes 10 days to process.

Social workers on extended leave, such as maternity leave, and those who are not currently working, still need to complete the process to remain registered.

Those who want to leave the register can apply for voluntary removal. If they do not, and do not renew, they will be recorded as having failed to renew on the register.

Social workers who join the register between September and November 2021 do not need to apply to renew or record CPD, but do have to pay registration for the upcoming year.

Those social workers who are removed from the register because they haven’t applied to renew by 30 November will be charged a £135 restoration fee to apply to re-join the register.

Former social workers who are on the temporary register – brought in to boost capacity during the coronavirus pandemic –  do not need to renew but are being encouraged to apply to restore their full registration as the government could remove the temporary register at any time.

Support to renew

Community Care Inform Adults and Inform Children users can access their previously completed CPD via the My CPD section of Inform, which is designed to make it easy to copy to their Social Work England CPD form. They can also access guidance, including a short video, on how to use their Inform CPD log to fulfil Social Work England’s requirements – available here for Inform Children users and here for Inform Adults users.

Social Work England has published online examples showing versions of CPD which vary from traditional training courses. There are also guides and information on how to complete the process on the Social Work England website. Its regional engagement leads can also help practitioners with questions.

Social Work England is also running free online workshops until November on registration and CPD,  which can be booked through their website.


26 Responses to Social workers urged to ‘not leave it until the last minute’ as registration renewal opens

  1. Rob September 3, 2021 at 12:56 pm #

    Can’t do mine until after payday and SWE can’t register until I can pay. What was that about standards and ethics?

  2. Katherine September 3, 2021 at 2:33 pm #

    I am retiring in December. I am proud to have been a social worker. My values transcend my career. So I have no desire to or need to remain on SWEs register once I am gone. I am lucky that I do not feel pressured to pre-filter my CPD upload to comply with thought police sanctioned ‘values’. So my CPD is a reflection log from reading Julie Bindel on prostitution and what I learning from listening to her call a man accusing her of transphobia a “posh boy”. I assume everything that challenges the orthodoxy of prostitution being work like any other and trans rights overriding women’s rights will fall foul of SWEs definition of social work values. This is an assumption I make given their recent sanctioning of a female social worker for her deviation. As a conscientious social worker my reflections are serious, my learning thought-through and evidenced. Not being reliant on SWE control there would be something rather delicious about being held to be a danger to the public after 32 years of unblemished practice should they decide I don’t meet their standards because of this. So my soon to be ex-colleagues, be sincere but be careful too. Do what you need to do, tell them what they want to hear but be true to what makes us social workers. Safeguard your careers and wellbeing. Care for each other. Practice with respect and always see the person we are working for as worthy of their choices. You are not academics so you don’t need to polish your conversations and decision making starting from the perspective of users of services as “co-production”. Respectful human interaction is always enough. And more meaningful. Own that you have more integrity in a given moment than the myriad bureaucrats, fellow travellers and MBE chasers will have in a long career. “But it’s essential that the public have reassurance that any social worker in their lives can be found on the public register and will meet the national professional standards” hardly stands up to serious scrutiny when there is no transparency, no agreed standard of quality and where as high as 5% of CPD will not be read in the registration process. It is a great “insight” to the bureaucratic mind though.

  3. Sean September 3, 2021 at 7:12 pm #

    The process: log into account, complete application, pay the fee, upload CPD. In that order. Who still believes the yarn that this is about evidencing professional development, improving standards, ethical practice and public safety? In the week that they are back, perhaps an ABBA song as simile for registration is a reflection to upload.

  4. Gary Holden September 4, 2021 at 6:55 pm #

    Is there any evidence that social workers who are registered are significantly more competent or ethical than those who are not?

    • Christine September 6, 2021 at 9:08 am #


      • Trevor September 6, 2021 at 9:41 am #

        None at all. But if you tweet about the unfounded rumour effusively and often, you stand a chance of becoming a ‘leader’.

    • Sandy September 6, 2021 at 9:51 am #

      Of course there isn’t but careers depend on claiming it does. I will never ever waste £90 on anything that is as valueless.

      • Allie September 6, 2021 at 9:55 am #

        There must surely be given it took me 4 minutes to upload my “learning and reflection.”

    • Harry September 7, 2021 at 10:48 am #

      Wrong way to look at it. De-clutter your mind. Validation of self defined truths are the only facts that matter in social work. There are endless blogs and podcasts for reassurance if unconvinced. Some by esteemed leaders.

    • Isabel September 7, 2021 at 11:01 am #

      There must be. Surely they wouldn’t levy £90 just on a whim now would they?

    • Ellie September 7, 2021 at 5:32 pm #

      I crossed the road once but that doesn’t make me a chicken.

  5. Anthony September 5, 2021 at 1:32 pm #

    If social workers saw value in the registration process and beleived it really is about ethics, improving practice standards and protecting the public, they wouldn’t have to be urged not to leave it to the last minute. We would engage in registration with the same committment, motivation and conscientious reflection we bring to our practice. And there would be no need for desperate tweets from PSWs, Chief Social worker and the usual establishment cheerleaders about how “easy” it is to upload CPD logs. Sadly we know what the game is. And it really is a management driven game to curtail autonomy and mould conviction by propogandists far removed from the realities of practice. We tell you what you want to hear whether you are SWE or a PSW because we see evident truths about what happens to our colleagues when they ‘transgress’. So we stump up the cash and those of us not churning out podcasts, make up some vaguely professional sounding story about reflection and learning. Then we try to forget about the farce foisted on us by bureaucrats who see nothing remiss in a process where 5% CPD logs will not be scrutinised. Keep low to keep well but read the room and nod vigorously if you are ambitious my recently retired boss said at our last supervision. A better encapsulation of what SWE and its fellow travellers stand for would be hard to find. Looking forward to the next round of frantic cajoling, misty eyed justifications and not so subtle desperation. And the half-vague threats. It really is the best tragi-comic farce in town.

  6. SpecSavers Queen September 6, 2021 at 12:24 am #

    SWE are the biggest circus act in social work and their cheerleaders don’t even realise they are viewed as clowns!

  7. Craig September 6, 2021 at 10:27 am #

    “I feel proud when I think about ball bearings” will not get you registered at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers but apparently watching an episode of Coronation Street is all the evidence you need to reassure the public that you are a safe and competent social worker worthy of registration with a protected title. Don’t forget that £90 is the clincher though.

  8. Danny September 6, 2021 at 2:46 pm #

    How dispiriting that the unifying motivation from our esteemed PSWs and Chief Officer is how easy it is to upload. How sad that they can’t see the more they big up the registration process the more we see that quality, rigour, objective learning experiences and everything that we should be having to do to be competent is relegated to an afterthought just so we get are names on the register. Register because it’s easy should never be the standard by which to reassure the public we are safe practitioners. I suppose if you spend a year tweeting and blogging and self-affirming in like minded echo chambers it’s not really that surprising that process should matter most to our leaders. Paid my money, got on the register. Am I now better at my job because of it? Am I more competent? Not one single aspect of registration can answer that because if my CPD is read at all, there is no way of verifying its contents. All I have provided is my own belief that I have met the standards I was allowed to choose for myself. I am no diffetent in my committment, I haven’t had a sudden burst of creativity, I haven’t discovered new knowledge. I still have the same rage at the racism, and the woman hate of SWE and at its facilitators. I am still outraged at the marginalisation of the users of services by the self defined ‘champions’ of equality. And by the ‘professional’ “professionals.” I am the same social worker with the same values now as I was before I spent 10 minutes “evidencing my learnig and reflections.” Actually something is different: I am £90 worse off.

  9. Simon September 7, 2021 at 6:32 pm #

    Perhaps SWE could give a “I’ve registered, easy peasy” badge to the quick off the block enthusiasts and a “I am a tardy dullard” glow in the dark pointy hat to those yet to register to wear until they do?

  10. Valerie September 8, 2021 at 12:46 pm #

    Yes the whole pretence is a straw house built on getting numbers on the register to secure government funding, a fee dependent revenue stream, as far removed from improving standards as would submitting badly drawn unicorn pictures be, hopeless flailing by bureaucrats who know nothing about social work practice, out of touch ideologs, self doubting incompetents and male bullies, but coud we not wash our soiled consciences in public please. If we give the game away people might twig that social worker competence is based on our personal commitment, desire to do well, practice with respect, humility and our own independent learning. Be kind. Careers, education system and Ready Brek leadership depend on the subterfuge.

  11. Carly S September 12, 2021 at 2:48 pm #

    Why would I want to make SWE’s life easier, when they make social workers’ lives harder? They can wait until the last minute for my registration money. Dick Turpin had better ethics.

  12. Sam September 13, 2021 at 10:02 am #

    If you stare at the sun long enough you’ll evetually see the moon. Or go blind. Hope that clarifies why we should all register early.

  13. Kelly September 15, 2021 at 11:12 am #

    All well and good Sam but is staring at a computer screen for precisely 21 minutes evidence of my competence?

  14. Simon September 16, 2021 at 1:59 pm #

    21 minutes is evidence of competence once the £90 has landed in the coffers.

  15. Rob September 17, 2021 at 10:56 am #

    Those of you who think this is about money are wrong. Those of you who think this is about being told how you should practice are wrong. Those of you who say this is about telling you what to think are wrong. This is about professional standards. This is about competence and public safety. This is about accountability. This is not the fantasy social work in your head. Frankly if you struggle to evidence one piece of learning in a year, you have no business in social work.

    • Althea September 17, 2021 at 12:21 pm #

      And as Ellie said “I crossed the road once but that doesn’t make me a chicken”.

    • John September 17, 2021 at 12:27 pm #

      Is this what’s meant by strengths based social work Rob?

    • Gary Holden September 24, 2021 at 8:27 pm #

      Rob: About two weeks ago I asked this question in this thread: “Is there any evidence that social workers who are registered are significantly more competent or ethical than those who are not?”

      As you seem to be pro-evidence, can you answer my question for us?


  16. Ian September 17, 2021 at 11:40 am #

    Inconsistent logic though Rob. What is being asked by SWE to evidence our reflections against their stated standards anything but being told how to practice?