Smart social workers will record their CPD ‘on the go’ and satisfy the new regulator
Being a social worker is complicated and challenging. So is being its regulator, it seems. Social Work England has spent the past year trying to unravel the key factors and identify ways to balance evaluation, measurement, evidence and practice right across the profession.
In the period of consultation, and since taking over from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), continued professional development (CPD) has been in the spotlight.
We know that our social workers are committed to CPD and ongoing improvement. Done well, it will enhance the role an individual plays personally and professionally and engenders development and self-sustainability.
In a regulated environment, such as health and social care, however, this positive activity does more than benefit the individual. Social Work England states that “by understanding and recording CPD” a social worker demonstrates to the regulator and the public that they uphold professional standards “and continue to remain fit to practise”.
Shift in approach
One of the changes Social Work England has implemented is to alter the registration cycle. Rather than being a two-yearly process, registration will take place every year. A central part of the process will be recording CPD evidence on an online account.
Like the HCPC before it, Social Work England will undertake to audit the recorded CPD of 2.5% of its registered social workers, but a crucial difference is that every registered member now has to record a minimum of one piece of CPD on their online account in order to retain their registered status.
Emphasis on learning
It would be hard to criticise the emphasis on continually improving knowledge and practice, but some people worry about adding to social workers’ workload. Social Work England does acknowledge this, and encourages employers to foster a learning culture which includes giving social workers the support they need to carry out CPD duties, and providing adequate time and opportunity to do so.
Social Work England also encourages workers to view their CPD activities with imagination and creativity and this is where it will make sense to work smarter rather than harder. Social Work England says it’s important to acknowledge that CPD takes place during a wide range of activities – certainly not just classroom-based training. Social workers may already be undertaking valuable learning on a day-to-day basis – perhaps through membership of a local safeguarding board or another committee – and as long as it is valid and properly evidenced, this will satisfy the regulator.
- ‘on the go’ recording on a worker’s Social Work England online account
- a focus on reflection and impact on practice
- social workers reporting the learning and reflection they’re undertaking in other post-qualifying activities
Social Work England has also considered the different needs and styles of learning of their members and have designed the online reporting format to accommodate a variety of file uploads and reflection formats accordingly.
More information on Social Work England’s approach to CPD is available on their website: https://www.socialworkengland.org.uk/.