One in five social workers yet to renew registration as deadline looms

Social Work England urges practitioners to apply, pay fee and upload CPD before 30 November

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

Just over a fifth of social workers are yet to renew their registration, a week out from the deadline, Social Work England has said.

Practitioners who want to stay on the register must renew before 11.59pm on 30 November by submitting an application, paying the £90 annual fee and recording at least one piece of continuing professional development (CPD).

With one week to go, 78.2% of the around 100,000 social workers who need to renew have done so.

A spokesperson for the regulator said: “It’s very important that you apply to renew your registration if you want to stay registered.

“‘Social worker’ is a protected title. That means it’s illegal to use the title unless you’re registered with Social Work England. Anyone who uses the title without being registered is committing an offence and may be prosecuted.”

‘Last-minute dash’ in 2020

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 five days before the deadline. Just over 1,000 who had applied and paid for renewal then took advantage of a three-week grace period after the deadline to meet the CPD requirement so they could stay on the register.

The regulator has uploaded a video instructing practitioners how to renew their registration on their online accounts, saying it should take 20 to 30 minutes to do so if you have submitted a piece of CPD already.

Those who were unable to renew through their online accounts could have requested a paper application but it is too late to do so now.

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 join the register, or are restored to it, 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 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.

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 rejoin.

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.

24 Responses to One in five social workers yet to renew registration as deadline looms

  1. Clarke Stevens November 24, 2021 at 10:07 am #

    It becomes something else doesn’t it when a ‘Regulator’ that cannot convince the professionals it oversees of the merits of registration threatens them with prosecution. It really isn’t about CPD anymore is it?

    • Tea November 24, 2021 at 12:04 pm #

      “If you want a job just do it” said the PSW in his response to us so it really isn’t about CPD anymore, if it ever was Clarke.

      • Anonymous November 26, 2021 at 3:49 pm #

        SWE is made up of a few, yes a few, of social workers who cannot be in on the front line and social work but dish out punishment to colleagues. Unqualified staff (majority) and ex Police Officers. Not looking good is it??

  2. A Man Called Horse November 24, 2021 at 11:03 am #

    It never was about CPD it was about tight control of Social Workers. Social Work England exists to protect the public from you. It was also about taking control away from Social workers, it is no accident that now they tell you exactly how you do your job. They tell you what questions to ask and how they should be asked and recorded, it is about having total control over all aspects of how you do the job. It is about saying we the Tory Government through Social Work England have absolute power to hire and fire you, forget about being employed by a Local Authority, we decide if you work or not. You want to work you will follow exactly what we tell you to do or you are out of the door. Imagine a boot stamping on your face forever, well that is Social Work England.

    • Caroline November 24, 2021 at 3:25 pm #

      I keep on reading from some of our social justice champions and leaders that it’s all about good practice and protection so it can’t be about control and ideogical subjugation surely? Isn’t saying we are here for the “peeps” enough liberal brownie points to show how bravely the great and good stand up to the Tories? Why just last week we “celebrated” social work didn’t we? We heard passionate espousing of independence, autonomy, making a real difference, speaking “truth to power”, standing in line waiting for an MBE, (I might have got that bit a little wrong mind.) And didn’t SWE play a big part with support gushing from BASW? Have I really been duped? All the PSW’s, Practice Educators, Team Leaders, Chiefs of this and that can’t just be willing dancers to an Establishment tune can they?

    • Alison November 24, 2021 at 3:43 pm #

      Last word.

  3. Harriet November 24, 2021 at 11:56 am #

    If with less than a week from deadline 20% of social workers haven’t registered for the second year, then either they are too stupid, lazy and incompetent to comply or SWE has no credibility and has failed yet again to instill confidence that their version of CPD really does improve our practice and protects the public. Until they meaningfully engage with social workers, my money is on the incompetence and rabbit in headlights muddle of SWE.

    • Anonymous November 26, 2021 at 3:31 pm #

      Respect to all who do not register. SWE horrible.

  4. Jake November 24, 2021 at 3:41 pm #

    Careful now. You are in dangerous being accused of ‘negativity’ and not being “real” social workers. Being a social worker is a privilege and no one is holding a gun against our heads forcing us to practice I read. Just a pity that we are expected to conform to the kind of social work in which difference of ideas and challenges to orthodoxy are re-framed as coming from inexperienced, burnt out and/or ‘fake’ social workers. Maybe we should put together a podcast of the washed up in need of thought rinsing?

  5. Alec Fraher November 24, 2021 at 4:37 pm #

    hmmm…. what’s the case law say? the last I looked at this, in the context of workforce development and the integration with health services in Scotland, the argument went as follows ‘if you’re qualified in Social Work, by the various routes available and including vocational certification while managed/supervised in a Social Services Department, especially a statutory body or an organisation with delegated powers to provide an essential social service, as is the case in many drug and alcohol services with third party status, then you are a social worker, registered or not…’ It’s odd that SW is out of step with other disciplines where the NOS frameworks are developing based on the exposure to the differing levels of experiential complexity in the presenting need of the populations served and crucially how best to meet that need. Does registering maintain an outdated and onerous silo mentality rather than fostering the development of organisational and sector level learning…. maybe a differentiated license to practice would be more useful and allow SSDs or other employers to vouch for their staff competency based on actual experience, learning and demonstrable outcomes for the recipients of the services…. Where’s the collective memory gone?

    *I hold 3 vocational masters level accreditations in Social Work, Performance Management and Commissioning. I am not registered as Whistle Blowing didn’t count as CPD*

  6. Tahin November 24, 2021 at 5:16 pm #

    “If you want a job just do it” is good advice. Also “keep your head down” and “don’t say a word your boss won’t like.” Knowing which way the orthodoxy swing is just self care.
    I paid up and drowned the shame of my complicity by devouring a vegan banana bread with Venezuelan coffee.

  7. Sarah Gladwin November 25, 2021 at 1:02 am #

    In a nuclear blast, long after even the cockroaches have lost the will to live, we would still have SWE demanding that we jump through CPD hoops to renew our registration. It’s ironic, that the social work regulator basically extorts and exploits us… and depressing that we let them get away with it.

    • Anonymous November 26, 2021 at 3:52 pm #

      I think CPD is right but anyone can write a piece even terrible social workers and they are out there however SWE pick on the good ones.

  8. Laura November 26, 2021 at 11:21 am #

    I’m in that group because I can’t just find £90 down the back of the sofa this near to Christmas. Need to wait until pay day and I know I’m not the only one in this position. There should be a better option for spreading the cost.

    • Big Ron November 26, 2021 at 4:42 pm #

      Well, Laura, when you do find the £90 it will be interesting to see if SWE pay for an all-expenses paid Xmas jolly for their staff like HCPC did for theirs. Thousands of pounds of our fees on free dinner and booze at a posh hotel. I sincerely hope they don’t make the same mistake.

  9. Tahin November 26, 2021 at 3:18 pm #

    Ah but if they were inclined to allow paying by installments they would “have” to add a surcharge for “administration”. Please don’t give them ideas, though of course it really isn’t about income generation honest.

  10. Anonymous November 26, 2021 at 3:28 pm #

    I will be leaving the profession after 25 years qualified due to SWE and its ‘investigation’ into a colleague I supervised (unqualified) however I was in the dock so it wasnt my practice. It took them 18 months to say there is no issue and our work was actually good social work. 18 months of anxiety/no control. Thats it for me. This delay/incompetence took the soul from me. Thats it Im gone.

  11. Anonymous November 26, 2021 at 3:30 pm #

    Do it. Wish we all could.

  12. Sandra Hope November 26, 2021 at 3:37 pm #

    The narrative of “It’s a legal requirement” and “You may be prosecuted” is not exactly the inspirational leadership that can lead us to better practice and accountability now is it? How about showing us how the first year of CPD reflections have made a measurable improvement to our practice, improved the lives of people we serve and energised us to see merit in our Regulator. Not much to ask is it really?

  13. Rob November 29, 2021 at 9:13 am #

    Personally I am mighty sick of the constant misinformed carping fired at SWE. How on earth are they supposed to know the service and practice improvements in every region, service and team in England?

    • Keith November 30, 2021 at 12:58 pm #

      Forgive them for they know not what they do.
      Or something.

  14. Ben November 29, 2021 at 11:10 am #

    OK Rob if SWE can’t know what’s going on, then tell us how you and SWE can be so unequivocal that the current registration process achieves the positives claimed for it. If SWE don’t know the outcomes, can never know them and can’t ever evidence its claim that practice is improved by CPD uploads, why should we just accept their unverifiable assumption? I might beleive the moon is made of cheese but NASA can disabuse me with evidence that it is not so. Asking us to trust a regulator that on its own admission doesn’t even know the demographics of the social workers it oversees is just not credible. Evidence based practice and all that….

  15. Katherine November 29, 2021 at 2:08 pm #

    I don’t think that’s the resounding vote of confidence in SWE you think it is Rob. I might be a tad dim but if they can’t possibly know about improvements in our practice and in services then they can’t really claim to be “enabling positive change in social work” can they?

  16. Alison November 30, 2021 at 12:53 pm #

    Is it really “carping” to question if a regulator tasked with scrutinising the performance of a profession impacting on the public how it’s doing/failing in that?

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