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.
“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.
— tanya moore (@tanya_tavi) September 1, 2021
— fran leddra (@franlc) September 1, 2021
Social Work England Registration nailed. Have you done yours? Remember you need to log into your account, complete your application, pay your fee and log your CPD @SocialWorkEng pic.twitter.com/xzCW7inF06
— Vanessa Hodge (@VanessaHodge) September 1, 2021
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.
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.