Record 100,000-plus social workers renew registration

Social Work England says 97.3% of eligible social workers renewed right to practise during three-month period, the highest rate it has recorded

The word 'registration' in neon lights
Photo: Chris Titze Imaging/Adobe Stock

A record 100,495 social workers in England have renewed their registration with the regulator this year.

Social Work England said 97.3% of practitioners who needed to renew completed the process during the three-month window, which closed on 30 November.

This is the highest proportion recorded in the four renewal rounds since it took over the regulation of social workers in England in December 2019.

3,600 more social workers on register

As a result, England starts the new registration year with 3,609 more registered social workers than last year, when 96,886 renewed.

The regulator reported that the process ran more smoothly this year, citing the positive impact of more tailored communications with practitioners.

In 2022, about 1,000 social workers appeared to have been deregistered inadvertently having paid their £90 fee and completed their continuing professional development requirements.

This year less than half of that number (410) failed to renew as a result of not completing their application form.

Fall in numbers seeking restoration

There has been an accompanying fall in the number seeking restoration to the register following the renewal period, with 319 having done so, compared with 842 last year.

Restoration costs a further £135, on top of the registration fee, and Social Work England can take up to 20 days to process applications, during which time the practitioner cannot work as a social worker.

Overall, there was a significant year-on-year drop in the number of people removed from the register for failing to renew, from 3,740 to 2,256, which was 2.2% of those eligible to renew.

In addition, 1,365 left the register voluntarily during the registration period, down from 1,744 last year.

Social Work England said that it had not yet renewed, or removed, a further 573 practitioners at the time the data was compiled. It said it would provide a further update in early February.

Improvements in communications

Philip Hallam, Social Work England

Philip Hallam, Social Work England’s executive director of regulation

Its executive director of regulation, Philip Hallam, said: “I’d like to thank social workers who applied to renew their registration by the deadline, and I’m encouraged to see that the social work register continues to grow, with more social workers joining the profession.”

He added: “This year we’ve taken additional steps to ensure our communications to support social workers were tailored to individual circumstances and outlined the specific actions that needed to be taken.

“As the deadline approached, this meant that individual social workers knew exactly what actions were required for them to complete their registration renewal application.”

Hallam said that the regulator trialled sending text messages to some social workers setting out the steps they needed to take to complete the process, and that feedback had been positive about the changes it had made to communications.

CPD submitted

The regulator received 222,148 CPD submissions – just over the two per registrant required – with 136,059 including a peer reflection, which social workers must supply for one of their submitted pieces.

The data also showed that, as last year, children’s services practitioners made up the majority of the register, with 54,023 registrants, 57.5% of the total who provided employment data.

Adults’ social workers accounted for 34.8% – 32,653 – with 7,249 (7.7%) working in other services; all of the proportions were similar to last year.

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5 Responses to Record 100,000-plus social workers renew registration

  1. Elizabeth December 8, 2023 at 12:42 pm #

    I am one of those who chose not to renew. Wishing my colleagues and the profession all the very best.

    • Maya December 9, 2023 at 12:55 pm #

      I will likely be joining you next year by not renewing. I have been dissatisfied for years with a profession who is unwilling to change and support it’s staff. Have been a child protection social worker for 25 years, and don’t like the heavy workload, lack of work / life balance, and low pay. We are all slaves to a system, which does not care about us.

  2. Terrence Southam December 8, 2023 at 11:07 pm #

    What is the rate of new social workers registering for the first time, compared to the last couple of years?

  3. Abigail December 8, 2023 at 11:22 pm #

    A regulator serious about learning would be looking at why nearly 3% of practitioners failed to register or removed themselves rather than congrulating itself for managing to almost do the the basic task it’s set up for.

  4. Anonymous December 16, 2023 at 8:49 pm #

    I reluctantly re-registered as i worked so hard to obtain that registration. That said i have recently resigned as a Senior Social Worker. It angers me the amount of useless jargon thrown around and not enough action. I burnt myself out trying to make meaningful significant change for service users to be pushed down by coffee sipping senior management. I came into the profession to make changes for vulnerable people and after working for 6 different LA’s i decided to move into a management role of a charity which does exactly that. Huge caseloads, stress, pressure, under supported, frustration and blame are rife within the profession. It’s no wonder such a huge amount of people leave the profession within 8 months of qualifying. It needs re-looking at and inline with NHS, teachers and all the other professions that have secured pay rises, the government need to stop blaming social workers, pay them more and recruit more to make caseloads more manageable!