5% of social workers have met CPD requirement as registration opens

Three-month period for practitioners to renew registration with Social Work England begins with large majority yet to submit required two pieces of CPD

registration printed on rubber stamp
Photo: Wolfilser/Adobe Stock

When do you intend to renew your registration with Social Work England? (for social workers registered in England)

  • At the very end of the three-month period (43%, 50 Votes)
  • During the course of the registration period but not at the very end (23%, 27 Votes)
  • I already have (17%, 20 Votes)
  • As soon as possible (12%, 14 Votes)
  • I don't intend to renew (5%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 117

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Just over 5% of social workers have met continuing professional development registration requirements as the three-month renewal period opens.

Social Work England said 5,478 practitioners had submitted two pieces of CPD, detailing learning from reflecting on one of the pieces with a peer, equivalent to 5.5% of the registered population.

More than twice as many – 12,385 (12.4%) – have submitted at least one piece of CPD, which would have been sufficient in 2020 and 2021 to meet registration requirements.

However, this year, the regulator has doubled the amount of CPD practitioners need to submit, while introducing the new requirement for peer reflection on one piece.

CPD guidance

You can find full guidance on the CPD requirements on Social Work England’s website, covering topics including how to record CPD on your online account with the regulator, what counts as continuing professional development and how to submit a peer reflection.

It is also holding a number of online workshops on this year’s CPD requirements, on which you can book a place.

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

No CPD grace period

Social workers will also no longer have a grace period to submit CPD beyond the 30 November registration deadline if they meet the other requirements: to pay the £90 annual fee and complete their renewal application. In 2020 and 2021, Social Work England had given practitioners a 21-day grace period.

The regulator is also, for the first time, asking social workers to answer questions on their protected characteristics during the registration period, to build up a richer picture of the diversity of the profession.

Social workers will be able to opt out of answering any of the questions, while there will also be a prefer not to say option for each question.

In previous years, many practitioners have left completing their registration until the end of the three-month period, but the regulator urged them not to do so.

Its executive director of regulation, Philip Hallam, said: “We are asking social workers to renew their registration now, well before 30 November 2022. About 100,000 people are expected to apply and with this year’s changes to the CPD requirements, we’re advising that they give themselves more time.

“We have used feedback from previous years to make the process as simple as possible and there are step-by-step instructions on our website.”

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38 Responses to 5% of social workers have met CPD requirement as registration opens

  1. Silent September 2, 2022 at 12:16 am #

    My team and I have agreed to submit our CPD as late as possible, as a silent protest against SWE. I know lots of other similar protests are taking place.

    • Go away September 2, 2022 at 8:08 am #

      Yes, Silent – we are with you. We can’t seem to escape the semi-coercive/fully cringe tweets from SWE reps on Twitter though (lol).

      • Penny F September 6, 2022 at 10:04 am #

        Those tweets are awful and shameless!

    • Chelle September 2, 2022 at 12:15 pm #

      Good idea!

    • Violet September 2, 2022 at 1:06 pm #

      What are you protesting against?

    • Anne-Marie September 2, 2022 at 5:13 pm #

      Congratulations to you and your team on making this bold decision. My wish would be for all social workers to refuse to submit CPD. Could SWE strike us all of the register? I don’t think so!!! I am a realist however and realise that some social workers just wouldn’t have the stomach for that sort of action. There is a need however to let SWE and their masters (HMG) know how angry we are re the way that we are treated – and that includes the ridiculous CPD rules as currently constituted.

    • Jack Daws. September 2, 2022 at 5:15 pm #

      Good for you. Respect.

    • Wallflower September 2, 2022 at 11:16 pm #

      Such a good idea
      This is an appalling demoralising process

  2. Sandy September 2, 2022 at 7:56 am #

    They started to pay us to complete this where I work. Just think about that. Still it’s about valuing social workers apparently so it must all be sunny uplands happiness.

    • Anne-Marie September 2, 2022 at 5:15 pm #

      Where I work, we have been told that we need to complete CPD in our own time – outrageous!!!

  3. common sense September 2, 2022 at 8:00 am #

    Well if you renewed today you still wouldn’t be told until 1sr December. Absolutely stupid system. If I complete the all forms. Upload the CPD and pay £90 on the 1st September I don’t expect to have to wait two months for it to be looked at.

    • Anne-Marie September 2, 2022 at 5:19 pm #

      Yes, I agree. Doesn’t the way the ‘system’ works speak volumes about how SWE views the profession?

    • Harry September 2, 2022 at 5:40 pm #

      A very high probability that it won’t be looked at once the fee has been collected actually.

  4. Sarah September 2, 2022 at 5:19 pm #

    At times of further social care cutbacks and social workers leaving the profession in droves. What a great idea for the ‘professional body’ to put even more pressure on an already exhausted and deflated work force…what a way to boost morale!!!!!

  5. DMA September 2, 2022 at 6:24 pm #

    If the deadline is the 30th November then do not expect a significant number of staff to submit until that date, it’s how deadlines work. Expecting everyone to submit early is a little naive SWE.

  6. Social worker September 2, 2022 at 7:42 pm #

    What is the purpose of this being the story the week? What is the focus meant to be, or the suggestion?

    Is there panic? What other deadline is so closely monitored? It’s bizarre!

    • Annie September 5, 2022 at 11:43 am #

      Panic? Ofcourse. Every year. Next year, same headline. Don’t beat up CC, ask why it’s always threats that get us over the line.

  7. Patrick September 3, 2022 at 8:21 am #

    If every year threats, exhortation, bribery, frantic flailing is the only way to get conscientious people reliant on registration for their continued employment to comply surely it’s about time our so called leaders ask the serious question why we have such little confidence and motivation to comply with this on our own volition. It can’t just be that most of us are just lazy unprofessional wasters. Yet again the message locally is if you won’t to keep your job just do it. How does that mindset protect the public and improve our practice?

    • Eyes Wide Open September 4, 2022 at 4:44 pm #

      Great point, well made Patrick.

  8. Valerie September 4, 2022 at 7:06 am #

    I don’t understand why people have a problem demonstrating that they have been taking part in some learning. If I were leading SWE I’d make the requirements more stringent to ensure SWs are learning from current research outcomes. If we don’t engage in learning we don’t improve our practice.

    • Killian September 4, 2022 at 4:26 pm #

      Actually if you were to demonstrate real learning from proper research outcomes, SWE would think you were making it up. Expecting non-social workers to appraise social work discourse is like asking a pony to converse with a magpie.

    • Eyes Wide Open September 4, 2022 at 4:43 pm #

      Open your eyes and see the wolf in sheep’s clothing Valerie!

  9. Michael September 5, 2022 at 9:15 am #

    I appreciate that work can be full on sometimes but we all need the time to reflect, whether that’s formally or informally – I don’t think it really matters how we do it, however making it prescriptive defeats the object and makes in artificial. We need to take that time-out as part of our day, week or month. Our managers should support this, and if this is not happening we should have some way to report this – anonymously if people are worried about their jobs. Why doesn’t SWE do a survey about it and then we could get a real sense of how big the problem is.

    On balance I don’t think SW CPD requirements are that onerous (subject to agreeing time), compared to other professions.

    • Face Palm September 20, 2022 at 11:54 pm #

      For heaven’s sake, please don’t ask SWE to organise another pre-determined consultation or survey Michael!

  10. Tahin September 5, 2022 at 9:36 am #

    I don’t have any qualms about being held to account for “taking part in some learning”. In fact I’ve lost count of the number of times I have asked to apply for any kind of training that isn’t of the mandatory “learning” how to fill in a form that my manager has refused to agree to. The question is what “learning” and whether SWE are really capable of understanding the context in which it is “learned”. What I did on my holidays and why sandcastles always get swept sway by waves is a sure fire way of “demonstrating CPD” but I really don’t think that is remotely real, tangible, evidenced learning. I evaluated a book, bought at my own expense, and submitted it to our local” engagement” manager prior to uploading and was told it was too “intellectual” to “paint a picture of our practice”. The book? The Social Work Business (John Harris). Had I understood irony I could come up with a pithy and smart quip but I just despair at what social work “learning” in the “regulatory framework” has been turned into.

  11. peter griffiths September 5, 2022 at 10:51 am #

    With thousands of SW vacancies across England and Wales the government supported SWE may demand 3 pieces of work next year in the attempt to reduce FT SWs in favour of Social Work assistants on lower salaries. This policy is under review but apprenticeships are replacing 3 year degree courses. Alternatively, if you wish to return to practice in the North West you can apply via the University of Manchester for a nice price of £1200 to cover just 30 days training.

  12. just leao September 5, 2022 at 8:45 pm #

    I recently wrote to isabelle trowler about the current crisis in social work and this is the response i received:

    Dear xxxxx

    Thank you for your email of 20/08/2022 to the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, Isabelle Trowler, outlining your concerns on the recruitment and retention of child and family social workers and in particular the use of high-cost agency staff. On this occasion, I have been asked to reply on her behalf.

    Isabelle is committed to improving social work, a view shared by government, and that is why the government commissioned a far-reaching independent review of children’s social care and we are working with stakeholders on producing an implementation strategy by the end of the year.

    It is encouraging to note that the number of children and family social workers in the workforce is increasing every year, up 2% in the last year from 31,000 in 2020 to 32,500 in 2021, with average caseload numbers falling from 17.8 in 2017 to 16.3 in 2021.

    While we recognise this may not be the picture some local authorities are seeing on the ground, we are working closely with local authorities to recognise and understand their workforce pressures and using central programmes and funding to respond to local authority needs.

    Local authorities are responsible for the development of their workforces. To support child and family social workers to continuously improve their practice, the Department for Education has developed the Post Qualifying Standards for child and family social work which set out the skills and knowledge social workers need to protect vulnerable children.

    The quality of the work environment is the key to recruitment and retention, including effective professional supervision, wider support and caseload levels. Our reforms seek to address a number of these points directly.

    We are supporting the recruitment and retention of social workers through our investment in the fast track and professional development programmes to improve leadership. We are also seeing some innovative practices from local authorities that are driving down agency rates and stabilising their workforces.

    We are aiming to stabilise and strengthen children’s social care as we transition out of the pandemic, so we deliver well for children and young people and provide a strong foundation for longer-term reform, informed by the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care and National Panel review.

    I hope that you find this response helpful.

  13. Alison September 6, 2022 at 10:40 am #

    I am one of those who will renew on the last day even though I have actually drafted my reflections and peer reviewed CPD already. Thoroughly unprofessional and spite driven i accept but I sit next to a colleague who was persecuted to the point that he developed severe anxiety symptoms prompting a referral to a mental.health team. No sympathy from SWE let alone any acknowledgement or taking responsibility. They nipped at him even when they were told of the possibility that he might be hospitalised. He was ofcourse totally innocent of the malicious allegation by a disgruntled service user. After an 11 month ‘investigation’ he was cleared. I have permission from my colleague to write this. So in the spirit of doing things for my convenience and to echo the tardiness of SWE last possible minute for me.

    • Fee Fee September 6, 2022 at 7:36 pm #

      Ditto Alison. I’ve had my CPD ready for weeks. I won’t be pressing the send button until the final day. Social work needs to make a stand.

  14. Tarkan September 7, 2022 at 8:20 am #

    Where I work our esteemed betters advise us to read these articles but never the comments below presumably because uncomfortable truths are a tad grating against the pretence that social work actually values difference and cares about diversity. In that spirit I doubt SWE will bother to take a moment and reflect on why so many of us say the things we do. Easier to dismiss us as disgruntled never beens who are just lazy and “unprofessional”. Here’s another one pressing the send key just prior to the last midnight.

  15. Lisa G September 7, 2022 at 6:29 pm #

    Last minute registration renewal and CPD submission for me. Jog on with those EDI questions too SWE.

  16. Glenn September 7, 2022 at 9:42 pm #

    Given the level of disdain and lack of popularity SWE have across social work, I’m surprised CC haven’t run an article on this yet. I bet there are lots of social workers willing to talk anonymously.

    • Face Palm September 21, 2022 at 12:00 am #

      I agree Glenn. I’ve learnt more about SWE from the comments section in recent CC articles than the guff they circulate and the Twitter PR machine.

  17. Adult September 8, 2022 at 9:09 am #

    In my part of Yorkshire if we dare to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy that SWE is a positive for social workers we get slapped down for our insubordination. Bigging up SWE is relentless verging on the ridiculous with suble but unmistakable hints of ‘consequences’ if we dissent. All done under the claim of promoting good practice naturally. So no takers here anonymously or otherwise Glenn. Cowardly I admit but prudent given the bullying and vindictiveness that would be unleashed on us here. As they chant at Leeds United “follow follow follow”, so we do. While our bossess preen and beguile us with e-mails about how much they value “rights based social work”.

  18. Terri September 17, 2022 at 9:01 am #

    I learnt how to tie my shoelaces before my first day at little school. All by myself. I have never been told I “need” training to sit in front of a computer screen. I figured out how to comply with pointless bureaucracy all by myself. So why do social workers “need” workshops and events to tell us what CPD is? Can I please have the two hours stolen from me.

  19. Paulie P September 25, 2022 at 9:56 am #

    Great article here about the ulterior motives of SWE and their destruction of social work – Social Work England: A regulator that has earned our collective dissent – https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/article/download/925/838