Over a quarter of social workers have uploaded CPD four weeks into registration renewal process

Social Work England confirms practitioners will be given 21-day grace period after 30 November deadline to submit CPD if they have completed rest of registration renewal process

Person pushing register key on keyboard
Photo: momius/Adobe Stock

Twenty eight per cent of social workers have met the requirement to submit CPD as part of renewing their registration, four weeks into the renewal process.

Social Work England welcomed the figure, dated 29 September, but urged others not to leave it until the last minute, following an eleventhhour rush to submit CPD last year that resulted in 256 social workers being removed from the register for not having done so.

Last year, 27.1% of social workers had uploaded their CPD by 11 September and 34% by 5 October.

The regulator confirmed that, as last year, social workers would be given a 21-day grace period to submit CPD after the 30 November deadline for registration renewal, if they had paid their £90 fee and completed their renewal application. Over 1,000 social workers retained their registration by submitting CPD during last year’s grace period.

Help with CPD

Social Work England has produced a suite of guidance on its website to help social workers meet their CPD requirement.

Community Care Inform has also produced a guide to how users can upload CPD to their Social Work England accounts from Inform.

To renew registration, a social worker needs to supply one piece of CPD this year, though this requirement will double for the 2021-22 renewal year. So far, social workers who have submitted CPD have, on average, uploaded 2.8 pieces to their Social Work England accounts.

As well as submitting CPD, social workers are expected to update the information Social Work England holds about them. For the first time this year, social workers can voluntarily include equality and identity information in their profile. This follows changes introduced by the regulator following concerns that problems with discrimination in the sector were being hidden by a lack of data.

‘Don’t leave it to the last minute’

In an interview with Community Care, Sarah Blackmore, Social Work England’s executive director of strategy, policy and engagement, urged practitioners to renew as soon as possible.

“There may well be a spike towards the end as there was last year,” she said. “We will work with the sector as we did last year to ensure that people complete their registration renewal in a timely manner.

“Again, my call would be to encourage people not to leave it to the last minute. It is straightforward, it doesn’t take long, and it is absolutely essential if you want to continue to hold that title to practise as a social worker.”

Blackmore also responded to some of the criticisms of the process. In comments posted below the Community Care article on the launch of the renewal process, some social workers said they felt the process was valueless or lacked rigour in evidencing their learning.

‘Not an administrative process’

She said: “This isn’t something that is a kind of additional piece of bureaucracy, this isn’t an administrative process although I know for some social workers it may feel that way. We know how busy social workers are, we know some of the challenges that they’re up against on a day-to-day basis.

“This is part of a much broader context. This is part of us really trying to embed the importance of social work in England, the importance of social work being recognised for the profession that it is and for the significant impact it has on people’s lives every day.”

Blackmore also addressed issues raised by practitioners about Social Work England’s role, adding: “We do need to come back to the fact that we are a regulator; our primary objective is the protection of the public. We’re not a membership body, we’re not a lobbying organisation, we’re a regulator.

“We have committed to ongoing engagement and collaboration and dialogue with social workers and we’ve done that since day one, and we will continue to do that. But social workers have an individual professional responsibility if they want to continue to practise to build on their knowledge, to build on their skills and to demonstrate that to us.”

Blackmore’s own CPD experience

Blackmore, who remains a registered social worker, has submitted three pieces of CPD. One of these was based on a women in leadership event she had spoken at as part of Social Work England’s week-long virtual event, Social Work Week, in March.

She said she reflected on “experiences of social workers who are from backgrounds with protected characteristics and the differences that they’ve experienced; inequality of opportunity, inequality of access to leadership opportunities, to promotion to training, which is one of the things that we’re talking to the sector about at the moment”.

Of her own background of more than 20 years in children’s services and child psychology, Blackmore said: “You know I’ve been there, I’ve had the really difficult experiences, I’ve had the threats, the very uncomfortable encounters that sadly a lot of social workers face in the course of their day-to-day activities that nobody should be expected to have to deal with. Social work can be very difficult, but you know it can be hugely rewarding.”

, ,

More from Community Care

6 Responses to Over a quarter of social workers have uploaded CPD four weeks into registration renewal process

  1. Nigel October 1, 2021 at 2:05 pm #

    So CC asks Ms Blackmore to comment on people like me seeing the process as lacking rigour in evidencing learning and her answer is to reframe it as us moaning about being busy. For all her indignation that registration is not an administrative process, her bureaucrats perspective hamstrung her from telling us how our “evidence” is judged to ensure we are safely practicing professionals. Where is the data to give us confidence that social workers are meeting the practice standards we are supposedly needing to meet?How telling also is her reframing of our criticism that all SWE seem to stand for is registering and repriminding social workers but never promoting social work as if we want it to be an even poorer version of BASW. We aren’t asking SWE to be a membership organisation, we ask that they emerge into the public domain and show some leadership on behalf of a profession she claims to want to embed the importance of. Just have a go at promoting social work in the proactively engaged way the NMC and GMC do for their registrants. Not much to ask is it really?

  2. Alison October 2, 2021 at 1:39 pm #

    Astonishing that you still dont get what you are being told. Ever the optimist I’ll have another go and keep it simple.
    It’s not that we are too busy, it’s not that we don’t want to improve our practice, it’s not because we are shirkers, it’s not that we are complacent, it’s not because we don’t want to learn, it’s not any of the reasons you want to conjure up from who knows where. We don’t beleive in you. We don’t see any evidence that you are about improvement and safety. We don’t even think you understand what social workers actually do. We do what you ask us to do but we don’t want to collude with you. Show us how this process improves us. Tell us how your reflections on your speech ensures public protection. Show us how NOT reading and NOT verifying our CPD does the things you claim. In my world tangible, evidence, truth, transparency, committment, learning, verification, thinking, change, listening mean something. Tweets and cricked necks from affirming podcasts by mates not so much.

  3. Alice October 3, 2021 at 10:52 am #

    Could the uncomfortable encounters and the really difficult experiences social workers have be maybe just a tiny bit due to understaffed teams and budget driven services? Isn’t that a tad relevant to regulating safe services. SWE cannot say they are exercised by how our practice impacts on peoples lives but claim advocating for better services is not for a regulator. Making experiences more positive for users involves better trained, more skilled and safe practitioners so why does SWE regard that as only being appropriate for professional associations?

  4. Carlton October 3, 2021 at 11:11 am #

    Of course the registration process is an administrative exercise. How can it not be when SWE shies away from engaging with the realities of underfunding, badly supervised workers, budget driven decision by managers unconcerned with adverse consequences, punitive cultures, low morale and the like. If the regulator only becomes visible when it is registration time and when exercised by FtP issues, than it has nothing to tell me about social work in the round. Ergo if that is all you publicly do than what you are asking me is nothing more than to engage with administrators and bureaucrats. To boot, do you know how demoralising it is to know most of the staff SWE employs are not social workers? Trusts us, employing more of us will not turn you into a professional association. Even your chums at BASW struggle being one of those.

  5. Caitlin October 5, 2021 at 11:25 am #

    I admire the commitment of colleagues who want to engage with SWE but I fear our ‘Regulator’ is not that bothered about hearing from social workers.

  6. Joe October 7, 2021 at 9:08 am #

    You’ve got to be in the twitter affirming gang to be heard. There is an approved list of the worthy. Ability to switch opinions and vehemently denounce previously ” passionately” held opinions essential.