Social Work England has removed 125 practitioners from the register for not meeting their final deadline to submit a piece of CPD in order to renew registration.
The regulator highlighted that this was less than half the number who were removed in 2020 after failing to submit CPD during the extension period. Last year, 256 social workers were taken off the register for this reason.
It also said there will not be an extension period for renewals in 2022 and recommended social workers record CPD regularly.
The smaller number removed is in line with the higher rate of CPD submission at the 30 November deadline in 2021 than in 2020, which was the first year social workers had to renew registration with Social Work England. It introduced the requirement to submit CPD after it took over regulation of the profession in England from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), alongside an annual rather than biennial renewal process.
In 2020, 1,349 social workers had paid their registration fee but not submitted CPD by 30 November. At the same point this year, 826 had applied and paid, but not recorded CPD. They were given an extension to 21 December to do so.
Overall renewal numbers were also higher at the deadline in 2021, with 2,869 (3%) of existing registrants failing to renew, compared with 4,590 in 2020.
There are currently 97,400 social workers on the register. Social Work England said this was a snapshot figure which changes almost every day due to people leaving and joining.
Social workers who are removed from the register are unable to use the title ‘social worker’ in England or practice. If they wish to rejoin, they can apply through the restoration process which costs £135. They then need to pay the usual £90 registration free if approved.
Last year, social workers who were removed or failed to renew at the main deadline were given temporary registration, a measure that was in place to assist with the pandemic response. The option for temporary registration has since closed, although social workers registered in this way still hold it.
The regulator said the government would decide when temporary registration would end entirely. “We’re reminding social workers with temporary registration that they should apply to restore their full registration as soon as possible if they wish to continue to practise.”
Changes for 2022
Sarah Blackmore, executive director of strategy, policy and engagement at Social Work England said the regulator would like to thank all social workers who submitted CPD and completed their renewal application on time.
Blackmore said next year there would not be a grace period for completing renewals:
“Following consultation with the sector, we have made some changes to the CPD requirements for the new registration year, which can be found on our website. There will not be a CPD extension period in 2022 and we recommend that social workers aim to record CPD regularly and well before the deadline of 30 November.”
For the registration year running 1 December 2021 – 30 November 2022, social workers need to record a minimum of two pieces of CPD (previously it was one piece), and reflect on at least one piece with a peer.
A sample of the CPD submitted by all social workers will be reviewed by the regulator to ensure it meets the requirements. Assessors will consider whether the CPD is relevant to social work practice, and whether there is a clear description of the impact it had on their practice. Blackmore said:
“We will select 2.5% of social workers who have submitted CPD on 5 January. Their CPD will be reviewed by independent assessors. Those selected will not need to do anything, but we will tell them they have been selected. There is full guidance here.”
Anyone looking to contact the regulator can find details and their Christmas opening hours here.