It feels like it has been a long time coming, but there’s definitely no going back in Social Work England’s ‘vision for change’ which was first announced in 2016
Social Work England opened its doors at the end of 2019, and is now well into its second month as the specialist regulator for social workers. The new organisation has been established under new legislation which allows it to be ‘a modern, specialist regulator that builds and promotes confidence in the sector.’
Patience and positivity
Social Work England’s Chief Executive, Colum Conway recently thanked the HCPC for collaborating effectively and helping deliver a ‘safe and effective transition of regulation’. He also recognised that registered social workers, those whose registration is not yet complete, and others affected by the fitness to practice process have been patient and positive, and the benefit of that approach.
Transition to Social Work England
Social workers should be reassured that, as long as they had registered with the HCPC and the information held by them was up to date, their data – including registration number – would move from one regulator to the other automatically. Any fees that you may have paid to the HCPC will be transferred to Social Work England – and remaining balances too. Even direct debits set up with HCPC will be redirected and the next payment, due on 1 April 2020, will be taken as usual and deposited with Social Work England.
New focus on CPD
Social workers will notice the new regulator’s a change in approach to CPD. Registered social workers will be required to record their CPD online and this will be used to determine whether individuals continue to meet professional standards.
Thousands of social workers have already created their online account with Social Work England and some have already uploaded evidence of their continuing professional development. Conway states that ‘making sure all social workers set up their online accounts will be a priority for us in the year ahead'.
Social Work England aspires to enable positive change and make sure that regulation is responsive, fair and effective. Conway is also committed to recognising ‘the complex landscape in which our social workers operate.’
He has committed to keeping the conversation about his vision and ambition for social work regulation open in the coming months – lookout for the publication of the first strategic plan.