A: 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’ to look at post-qualification, accreditation and CPD. From Monday 2 December 2019, regulation of social workers will be transferred to us from the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Q: Do I need to do anything to make sure my registration is transferred?
A: 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 from Monday 2 December 2019 to reassure you that this has taken place.
Q: Will my registration number stay the same?
A: Yes, social workers who are currently registered with HCPC will retain their current registration numbers.
Q: What will I need to set up an online account with Social Work England?
A: If you have applied to join the register or are already registered with HCPC, you will need to set a new password with us to access your online account. You will need the primary email address that you used with HCPC to do this. We will also email this address from 2 December with information regarding your registration and online account.
Q: What if I don’t hear from you on 2 December?
A: We will begin contacting all social workers and applicants from this date via email. This email will be sent to the email address that you provided to HCPC. If you didn’t provide HCPC with a contact email address, we will send you a letter. If you want to check your registration with us before accessing your online account, the register will be available on our new website from 2 December.
Joining the register
Q: What will I need to do to rejoin the register after a break?
A: Our requirements for restoring your registration will be similar to HCPC’s. If you have been out of practice for 2 years or more, you will need to spend 30 days updating your skills and knowledge through formal study, private study, or supervised practice. If you have been out of practice for 5 years or more, this will increase to 60 days.
Q: What will the registration process be for international applicants?
A: Our application guidance has been out for consultation. We are currently making improvements and it will be available soon.
Q: Can I apply to join the register with spent criminal convictions?
A: We consulted on our guidance for applicants throughout October. The outcomes will be published soon. You can follow us on Twitter for regular updates.
Q: What will happen to the fees I have paid when Social Work England becomes the new regulator?
A: All remaining balances will be transferred to Social Work England around the date of transfer.
Q: Should I cancel my direct debit as I will be transferring to Social Work England in December?
A: If you have a direct debit set up with HCPC you do not need to take any action. Please do not cancel your direct debit. Your payment from 1 October 2019 will be transferred from HCPC to our direct debit provider when we take over as the regulator in December.
The next direct debit payment of £45.00 will then be paid on 1 April 2020. We will work with your bank to update the payment account details and we will let you know once this has been done. Please be assured that you will not be charged twice as a result of the change in regulator.
Q: I’ve heard that HCPC are increasing the registration fee. Does that affect social workers too?
A: 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.
Q: I have a concern about a social worker that I need to raise. Do I speak to HCPC or Social Work England?
A: Until Monday 2 December 2019, please continue to raise any concerns with HCPC. Any work to address your concerns that has not been resolved when we take over as the regulator will be handed over to the appropriate teams here at Social Work England.
Q: Will Social Work England reexamine any serious concerns about investigations currently being undertaken in the transition period by HCPC?
A: Concerns that have been considered and closed by HCPC will remain closed and will not be reviewed or reopened. We would only be able to reconsider a concern if there was substantial new information that wasn’t available at the time that the original concern was made. This would be treated as a new investigation.
For cases that are currently open at the time that we become the regulator, these cases will be reviewed and then progressed according to the rules and regulations that govern our process.