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.