Launch date announced for specialist social work regulator

At a national Association of Directors of Children’s Services conference, the Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi has announced Monday 2 December 2019 as the date when Social Work England will take over from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as the new social work regulator.

In preparation for the announcement, significant progress has been made to ensure a smooth and safe transition for social workers. Social Work England will become the new regulator later this year subject to this successful development continuing.

Speaking about the announcement, Colum Conway, Chief Executive of Social Work England, said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce that we will soon become the new specialist regulator for social workers. As a social worker, I understand the positive impact that professionals have on millions of people. I also understand the complexity of the work and the competing priorities in the role. That is why we are putting collaborative working at the heart of all we do and our recent consultation on rules and standards was just one example of this.

“Over the course of the year we will continue to work with the HCPC to ensure an efficient and smooth transition. We are also committed to exploring new approaches that offer responsive and proportionate regulation – empowering professionals to be the very best they can be.”

Marc Seale, Chief Executive of HCPC, said:

“We will continue to work closely with Social Work England to ensure there will be a smooth transition. Good progress has been made so far, and this will continue until the regulatory functions are effectively transferred. Until that time, we are committed to regulating the profession and delivering our core purpose of public protection. We will also ensure that our work on the regulation of the 15 other professions remains unaffected by our focus on the transfer of social workers.”


Here are some helpful frequently asked questions

  • Do I need to do anything to make sure my registration is transferred?   

No, you do not need to do anything. The transfer, including your payment of fees by direct debit if appropriate, will be automatic for everyone on the register. We will get in touch with you week commencing Monday 2 December 2019 to reassure you this has taken place.   

  • I have a concern I need to raise. Do I speak to HCPC or Social Work England?   

Until Monday 2 December 2019, please continue to raise any concerns with HCPC. Any work to address your concerns that has not been resolved at the point of transfer will be handed over to the appropriate teams here at Social Work England.   

Both HCPC and Social Work England are committed to a smooth transfer and ensuring that everyone continues to experience a good service.   

  • I’ve heard that HCPC are increasing the registration fee. Does that affect social workers too?   

This change will not affect you as we will be your regulator when you next renew in 2020. Should Social Work England consider a change to fees, this will be part of a consultation process before any changes are made.    

  • What will happen to the fees I have paid when Social Work England becomes the new regulator?   

All remaining balances will be transferred to Social Work England around the date of transfer.   

  • Should I cancel my direct debit as I will be transferring to Social Work England in December?   

No. If you cancel your direct debit without setting up alternative payment for the full two-year period before the deadline you will be removed from the register and will not be able to practise as a social worker in England.   

We are working with HCPC to transfer direct debits. This is subject to arranging banking permissions and the transfer of data. We will provide further information nearer the date of the transfer.   

  • Why is regulation being transferred?   

In its January 2016 paper ‘A vision for change’ the Department for Education announced it would set up a new regulatory body for social work in England. The new regulatory body would have a “wider remit” than HCPC to look at post-qualification, accreditation, and CPD.