Over 800 practitioners apply to rejoin social work register after renewal round

Social Work England says it is prioritising their applications following complaints over practitioners being removed inadvertently due to what they claimed were system errors

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

Over 800 practitioners have applied to rejoin the social work register in the immediate aftermath of this year’s renewal round.

Social Work England said that, as of today, 842 had applied to be restored to the register, at a cost of £135. They are likely to include many of the 1,017 removed from the register on 1 December because they had not completed the registration application form, despite paying the £90 fee and meeting continuing professional development requirements.

According to Social Work England’s figures, 741 of the 1,017 had started the application form but did not complete and submit it, with the others not having started the form at all.

Some of the affected practitioners have blamed errors with the renewals system, saying they had believed they had registered successfully because they received acknowledgement of payment and submitting the required two pieces of CPD, with one having been reflected upon with a peer. They said they were not then directed to the final part of the form – the declaration – and were either not alerted about this in time by Social Work England or were still unable to complete the form having been alerted.

However, in response to the complaints, the regulator said the process had run smoothly.

‘No issues with renewal system’ – Social Work England

Executive director of regulation Philip Hallam said there were  “no issues with the renewal system over the renewal period, including on the last day, that would have prevented social workers from completing their application by the deadline”.

He said most of those who inadvertently failed to register were “completing their application on the last day, which may have led to them not completing all of the steps properly”.

The regulator’s guidance on restoration says practitioners should allow at least 20 working days for their applications to be considered, though Hallam added: “We appreciate that this is a stressful situation for those who wish to continue to practise and are assessing applications for restoration as quickly as possible.

While they remain unregistered, they are unable to practise as social workers, with some agency staff claiming they would lose their jobs as a result.

Departures from register in line with previous years

In total, 3,740 people were removed from the register this year, up from 2,869 last year, but in line with the 4,000 to 6,000 who had left the register annually each year. As well as the 1,017 who did not complete the application form and those who left because they did not want to renew, there were 428 who started but did not complete the CPD process.

Social Work England also revealed that almost twice as many of those removed worked in children’s servicees (43%) as adults’ services (24%) and the biggest group of those whose employment location was known worked in London (15%).

Of the 96,886 who did renew, the regulator said 58% worked in children’s services and 35% adults’ services, with the rest practising in other service areas or not having this recorded.


More from Community Care

18 Responses to Over 800 practitioners apply to rejoin social work register after renewal round

  1. Vanessa December 7, 2022 at 10:46 pm #

    SWE make me ashamed to be a social worker.

    • Greg December 8, 2022 at 11:59 am #

      A regulator ensuring a role with a protected title completes a renewal process, as per other regulated professions, makes you ashamed is probably more a reflection on your professionalism than SWEs ability to regulate.

      • Janet December 8, 2022 at 2:56 pm #

        Really? Tell us how SWE is regulating you being worthy of your protected title? Has it told you the reasons why your CPD meets its high standards and how it has measured that? You are aware only a miniscule sample of uploads are actually scrutinised? Do you know that not every person who ‘reads’ your upload is a social worker or has ever worked as a social worker? So that you know the only new piece of evidence I submitted this year was the peer reflection. I am on the register and I have my precious protected title. I passed apparently. Still confident in SWE’s ability to regulate? If you are I’d reflect on that. I took my chance because I am retiring in 5 months. Nothing SWE, so called leaders or the ultra professionals like you Greg convince me that this process isn’t just paint by numbers regulation. With the primary colours missing.

        • Maria December 9, 2022 at 3:09 am #

          Hi, I agree wholeheartedly with you Janet that the whole thing is a shambles! It’s just a money-maki g racket. I’m slightly miffed that u got away with just putting in a peer reviewed piece. I’m miffed at myself for not trying that clever trick! I re-registered in early November, paid my £90 intending to complete the 2 pieces of CPD on time. Of course I delayed in the CPD as I couldn’t get my head into it for various reasons. I left it too late and began to upload the CPD at the 11th hour.
          Of course the system logged me out after 60 mins and I lost the whole piece. I tried to insert them again and the system accepted it and 2 days later I got an email to say that I wasn’t registered and to be re-registered, I would have to pay £135. I paid this and SWE have been in contact and I could be registered by tomorrow. However, I’m being treated as a complete Newbie and had to submit qualifications , marriage certs, divorce certs etc just for submitting 2 hours outside of the time. I’m fuming at myself for leaving it till the last minute but if I had done your trick on it – I’d certainly be registered today! I’m working as a social worker for the past 25 years. I’m really pissed off with the money-grabbing behaviour of SWE – at least Dick Turpin wore a mask. SWE, Bring back the 10 days grace and give people a chance as nobody knows the reasons why people are delayed at the last minute in submitting the registration forms.

      • Maria December 9, 2022 at 3:20 am #

        What an absolute joke. It’s a smash and grab. They regulate nothing. They’re on the side of the employer; we pay money to them, for what exactly?. I just pay them money and get nothing back from SWE. I agree with Janet and Vanessa – SWE is an embarrassment to the profession. To have a negative opinion of the “regulator” is no reflection on the professionalism of those who hold that opinion. It’s an opinion and everyone is entitled to their opinion.

      • Kieran December 9, 2022 at 6:42 pm #

        Unless you know Vanessa you have no way of knowing how professional they are. Does casually spewing gratuitous insults come with the unwavering conviction that SWE is a gold standard regulator? A protected title means nothing without humility and grace but everything when seen through the bureaucratic gaze.

  2. Janet December 9, 2022 at 9:56 am #

    To be clear, I put in the same CPD as last year, only new thing was the peer review. Just to prove to myself that not only SWE don’t read the vast majority of what we all upload but also that they have no record of what is uploaded. If I was wrong I had no thing to lose as I’m retiring. This was to establish a point. Which it has. One for the leaders to ponder on too? And I suggest perhaps as professional and valid an action as the unquestioning belief that not only is SWE a competent entity but a regulator ensuring the right social workers are in and the failures are out. But folks if you are in, continue to play the game, subvert only when you don’t depend on these vindictive bureaucrats. I am still genuinely interested in a response Greg. All social worker experiences matter, don’t they?

  3. Parent December 9, 2022 at 10:03 am #

    Well said Janet. Social workers with your clarity and commitment will surely be missed. Enjoy your retirement. If you take up paint by numbers as a hobby do ensure that primary colours aren’t missing!

  4. L December 9, 2022 at 3:17 pm #

    Why would you need to submitt an application form if you are uploading the required evidence and have paid the fee? I take responsibility for not realising there was an application form to complete. However I utterly resent the 135.00 non refundable fee I have had to pay for having myself reinstated as a social worker 3 days after the closing date despite the CPD being submitted and the fee being paid before the closing date. I cant afford to walk away right now but I would have loved to. Instead I have paid the 135.00 that I cannot afford to pay. SWE is a money making racket it really is that simple.

  5. Hannah W December 11, 2022 at 12:10 pm #

    Good to see Metro has covered this


  6. Paula S December 11, 2022 at 12:14 pm #

    Just read this and it’s all starting to make sense about SWE now


  7. Brian December 13, 2022 at 12:12 pm #

    Given it’s that time of the year for predictions here’s mine. When even the free Metro newspaper reports on the inequity of SWE ripping off social workers we are nearer to the tab where GSCC was binned and SWE starting the same journey. So brace yourselves for a new ‘regulator’ by 2024. Perhaps that’s the reason why two representatives from DfE sit in on SWE Board meetings. Not to mention how SWE can claim to be an independent regulator whilst under the practical scrutiny of the DfE.

    • Mary December 13, 2022 at 5:39 pm #

      I’ve looked at their Board minutes and it’s truly mindbogling how involved DfE are in the operation of SWE. They can never be advocates for social workers given this. The shift from having public safety and improving practice to just plugging public protection as it’s primary function is likely due to this.

      • Face palm December 17, 2022 at 7:53 am #

        Unbelievable that DfE have snuck into SWE through the back door! So social work is basically under direct government control…. No wonder SWE never talk about sw values. Worrying times for sw.

  8. Tahin December 14, 2022 at 9:04 am #

    In other news: 8.6% full time equvilant social workers left our profession with 2.6% of them becoming agency workers. If SWE and their apologists could just spare a moment to honestly reflect on why this might be they might just own that their blaming, slandering, undermining and sniping about our general awfulness if left to our own integrity might have contributed a smidgen to our low morale. I am just a humble social worker, I do social work. I don’t have a podcast, don’t have a YouTube channel, have never written a blog, never organised an ‘event’ for like minded chums so perhaps I’m missing the big grand picture. Leadership that faces away from the likes of me is nothing more than crunching of the gears while reversing from our ordinary realities.

    • Claire December 15, 2022 at 8:09 am #

      You forgot the Establishment stooges masquerading as social justice warriors who only see the newsreel of their own careers and for whom social work is just a phase they are going through in pursuit of an MBE.

  9. Robert December 15, 2022 at 10:34 am #

    SWE takes the fee, confirms the successful submission of CPD, adds another form for luck after doing both. Some social workers assume confirmation means success but are told they failed to register nevertheless. Philip Hallam, not a social worker but good at theater design and “systems” says there’s no issues with the renewal process and if you were chucked off the register it’s because you are thick and lazy. This apparently is regulating a “protected title”.

    • Proud Social Worker December 15, 2022 at 3:31 pm #

      You don’t have to be a social worker to know what makes a social worker safe. I am proud of my protected title. If other social workers can’t be bothered to keep theirs that’s on them not Social Work England. Frankly I’m annoyed at this constant rubbishing of our Regulator that is there to help us have a better image with the public. I don’t care who does this on our behalf. Skills are transferable.