Story updated 7 December 2022
Almost 4,000 social workers will no longer be able to in practise in England because they did not renew their registration this year, according to provisional figures.
The number (3,740) marks an increase on last year’s figure (2,869) and represents 3.7% of those who needed to renew, up from 3% in 2021, said Social Work England.
However, it is in line with previous years, which have seen 4,000 to 6,000 people leave the register annually.
Overall, 96.3% (96,886) of practitioners did renew by the 30 November deadline, a 0.7 percentage point fall on the proportion in 2021.
Social Work England said that 428 of the 3,752 who did not renew but did not meet the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.
This is a fall on the 826 who did so last year, despite the tougher CPD demands introduced for this year’s renewal period: to submit two pieces, one of which needed to have been reflected upon by a peer, rather than one piece without a peer reflection.
No CPD grace period
However, unlike in 2020 and 2021, these social workers will not be given a grace period in which to submit their CPD; instead, they will be removed. Last year, most of the 826 in this position met the CPD requirement and renewed, with just 125 being removed.
Anyone removed who wants to stay in social work will need to apply for their registration to be restored, at a cost of £135, and may not practise until their restoration is confirmed.
Following this year’s renewal round, Social Work England’s executive director of regulation, Philip Hallam said: “Thank you to everyone who submitted their registration renewal application and completed the CPD requirements by the deadline. Anyone who didn’t do this and wishes to continue to practise as a social worker must now apply for restoration through our website. It is illegal to practise in England using the protected title of social worker unless you are registered.
Registration ‘about public protection, not professional membership’
“Social work is regulated, in line with the legal framework set out by Parliament, as it a specialist profession that millions of people rely upon. Annual renewal of registration provides confidence to the public that social workers maintain their skills and knowledge and continue to meet their professional standards. Registration is not about having ‘membership’ of the profession; it exists to assure all of us that the public, including some of the most vulnerable people in society, are protected.”
Social Work England said it would email all of those who needed to renew on or after 1 December to confirm their status. It is currently updating the public register, but this will take a few days. Anyone whose status is listed as ‘registered until 30 November 2020’ has not had their entry updated, while those categorised as ‘registered until 30 November 2023’ or have had their status changed, for example, to ‘no longer registered – failure to renew’, will have had their listing updated.