Apply to renew your registration
You must apply to renew your registration between 1 September and 30 November (renewal period) every year or you risk being removed from the register.
What you need to do
To apply to renew your registration, you must:
- Submit a renewal application
- Pay your registration fee
- Record at least one piece of continuing professional development (CPD)
It’s very important that you apply to renew your registration if you want to stay registered. ‘Social worker’ is a protected title. That means it’s illegal to use the title unless you’re registered with us. Anyone who uses the title without being registered is committing an offence and may be prosecuted.
The requirement to renew your registration is set out in our legislation, regulation 13 of The Social Worker Regulations 2018, and Part 7 of the Social Work England (Registration) Rules 2019.
The deadline for applying to renew your registration is 30 November 2021.
It’s a legal requirement for all social workers who want to practise in England to renew their registration annually, including paying their registration fee and recording at least one piece of CPD.
This includes people who are:
- involved in open fitness to practise cases
- on extended leave such as maternity or paternity leave
- unemployed or not currently working as a social worker
- retired (and who want to stay registered)
You do not need to be practising as a social worker to renew your registration. Many social workers are registered while working in different roles such as teaching on social work courses. For example, there are several registered social workers who work for Social Work England.
If you join or rejoin the register during annual renewal
You are exempt from completing a renewal application if you join or rejoin the register during the annual renewal period (1 September to 30 November). However you still have to pay your registration fee for the upcoming year. It is not mandatory for you to record CPD during annual renewal, but it would be good practice.
You must tell us if any of your details change as soon as possible. It’s your responsibility to make sure that all the information we hold about you is up to date and accurate throughout your registration. This includes your personal, contact and employment details.
You can update your personal, contact and employment details on your online account.
If you have not already done so, please provide your equality, diversity, and inclusion information also. This will help us build an accurate picture of the social work profession.
When it’s time to apply, we will send you an email. If your email address has changed, you must update it on your online account as soon as possible. Otherwise you may miss important emails. To avoid any emails ending up in your junk folder, add the following emails to your safe senders list:
If you do not know your online account login details, or you need support, read our online account guide.
Most social workers pay their annual registration fee in 2 payments of £45 (by Direct Debit). These payments are taken on 1 October and 1 April every year.
When you apply to renew your registration, the system will know if you have a Direct Debit set up. If you do not have a Direct Debit set up, you will be asked to pay your fee in full by card or set up a Direct Debit (if you apply before 5pm on 24 September 2021).
CPD is an important part of our professional standards, which aim to improve public safety and confidence in social work. CPD is a requirement of your registration which means you must record at least one piece of CPD every year.
The registration year runs from 1 December to 30 November. This means that to be able to apply to renew your registration, you must have recorded CPD on your online account by 30 November 2021.
Read more about CPD and what you need to know.
How to complete the renewal application
Detailed step by step guide
To renew your registration, log in to your online account and select ‘Apply to renew your application’ in the section ‘Annual renewal is now open’ at the top left of the page.
You can apply to renew your registration from 1 September 2021. When it’s time to apply, we will send you an email. If your email address has changed, you must update it on your online account as soon as possible. Otherwise you may miss important emails.
If you do not know your online account login details, or you need support to update your email address, read our online account guide.
No option to renew on online account
If there is no ‘Annual renewal is now open’ section on your online account, it is likely because you:
- joined the register after 1 September 2021
- had your registration restored after 1 September 2021
If you think you should be able to renew, but you are not able to on your online account, send us an email with a screenshot of your online account so that we can investigate.
The renewal application form was designed with social workers. This year, we have also made improvements based on your feedback from last year. We hope you will find the experience straight forward.
The form should take you less than 30 minutes to complete, but we recommend that you give yourself as much time as possible.
If you have not recorded any CPD when you complete the renewal application form, we will prompt you to do so during the application process. This means it will take you longer to complete the form. You will also have the option to ‘skip’ the CPD step by declaring that you will record CPD before 30 November.
If you need to take a break during the application, you can save your progress and return later via your online account.
If you’re having issues with the online account not working as expected, it may be related to the browser you are using, or your internet settings.
Following the steps in our website support guide may help solve the problem.
You will be asked to confirm or update your personal, contact and employment information in the form.
Changing your personal details
If you need to change your name or your nationality you will need to provide evidence of this, for example a marriage certificate, certificate of citizenship or passport. The evidence will need to be a high quality colour image that clearly shows the entire document.
You may have provided information (for example about your nationality) to previous regulators.
However, for us to ensure that the data we hold about you is correct, we may ask you to provide this again. Once you have provided this, you will not need to update this in future years unless you wish to make a change.
The name you apply to renew with (which will appear on the public register) must be the name that you use when you practise as a social worker. If this is different to the name stated on your official documents, you will need to provide a further document that shows the name you wish to use professionally.
If you have dual citizenship
If you have multiple nationalities, you only need to inform us of the nationality you wish to use for the purpose of your registration.
If your gender has changed
If you wish to update your gender identity, please read our guidance on gender identity.
If you have not made any changes but are being asked to provide evidence
You do not need to upload evidence if you are changing your contact details such as phone number, email address or home address. If the form is asking you to upload evidence, this should be because you have made changes to your personal details.
If you have not made changes to your personal details and it is still requiring you to upload evidence, please send us an email with a screenshot of the page so that we can investigate.
During the application process, we will ask you to confirm that we have the correct details of your employment as a social worker for the past 12 months. This should include any social work employment you have had outside the UK.
Your current employer's town will be disclosed on the online register, so please make sure this is up to date. If you are not sure of the exact date that you started your current post, please provide the estimated month and year.
Type of social work
We have added a new field to employment details this year, called "Type of social work". You will also be asked to provide this information if your type of employment has not changed since last renewal. Click on the name of your organisation to add what type of social work you do. Once you save this, it should let you continue.
We have decided to collect this information to gain a better understanding of social work in England.
Why you need to provide this information, including your current employer’s contact details
We need details of your employment history to help ensure public protection. This is to investigate concerns if they are raised about you, or to tell employers about any concerns raised about you or if you have been removed from the register.
When providing email addresses, please type directly into the box, ensuring that there are no spaces or special characters before or after the address.
If you work for an agency
When adding new employment details, you can choose from 4 options:
- Employed by an organisation (for example, a local authority or the NHS)
- Employed by an umbrella company or agency PAYE (contractors)
- Self-employed – sole trader (independent social workers)
- Self-employed – limited company
If you work for an organisation (such as a council) but you are employed by another company, you should use option 2. Option 3 is for people who are registered as sole traders with HMRC. If you’re a sole trader, you run your own business as an individual and are self-employed.
If you are not working/unemployed or have recently returned to work
You do not need to have been employed for 12 months to renew your registration. If you do want to tell us about your situation, you can provide details in the box ‘Additional information’ below ‘Employment details’. You do not need to tell us if you are currently unemployed.
We will also ask you to provide details of any other social work or healthcare regulators which you are currently registered with. You do not need to provide details of your current registration with Social Work England, or your past registration with HCPC.
If you are not registered with any other regulators
If you are not registered with any other regulators, then you just need to confirm that this is correct and select ‘Save and continue’.
Confirm that you have read and understood the professional standards, and that you will continue to meet them.
If you have recorded CPD before you apply
You can continue to edit the CPD you have already recorded or add further CPD records on your online account until 30 November.
If you have not recorded CPD before you apply
CPD is an important part of our professional standards, which aim to improve public safety and confidence in social work. Meeting the professional standard related to CPD is a requirement of renewing your registration.
If you have not recorded any CPD on your online account yet, you will have the option to record CPD as part of your application. If you record CPD as part of your application, your application progress will be saved, and you will be taken to your online account. When you are ready to complete your application, you can return via your account overview.
You can also choose to record CPD after submitting your application. If you do, you will be asked to tick a CPD declaration stating: ‘I want to continue without recording CPD now and I understand that I need to record CPD before 30 November’.
If you do not record CPD by 30 November, we may decide not to renew your registration. This would mean that you would not be able to practise as a social worker in England.
We will ask you if there has been a change to your circumstances which could affect your safe and effective practice. Steps 6 to 9 will ask you about any:
- criminal convictions or cautions that you have not previously declared to us or HCPC (you do not need to declare a 'protected' conviction or caution)
- occasions when your fitness to practise has been found to be impaired by any regulatory body that you have not previously declared to us, or to HCPC
- circumstances that bar you from working with vulnerable groups
- health conditions that may affect your practice as a social worker which you have not previously declared to us, or to HCPC
Read more about what you need to declare.
You can upload any supporting documents during the application process. If you’re unable to upload your documents, you can send your supporting documents to us by post. Please do not send original documents unless we’ve specifically requested them.
Annual registration fees are usually paid in full by card (£90) when you renew your registration or by Direct Debit in 2 instalments, on 1 October (£45) and 1 April (£45). We do not accept payments by cheque, or over the phone.
As Direct Debits are taken during the annual renewal period (1 October) you will have different payment options depending on when you apply to renew your registration.
If you do not know if you have a Direct Debit set up, or need support to update your payment details, read our online account guide.
If you complete the application between 1 September and 24 September
If you do not have a Direct Debit in place and you apply before 24 September, you will have the option to set up a Direct Debit or pay your registration fees in full by card.
If you already have a Direct Debit in place and you apply before 24 September, you will be asked whether you want to keep your existing Direct Debit or set up a new Direct Debit. You will also have the option to pay in full by card.
Regardless of whether you choose to keep your existing Direct Debit, or set up a new Direct Debit, your instalment will be taken on 1 October. You do not have to wait until the Direct Debit has gone out to submit your application to renew your registration.
If you complete the application between 25 September and 30 November
If you do not have a Direct Debit in place and you apply after 24 September, you will only have the option to pay your registration fees in full by card.
If you have a Direct Debit in place and you apply after the Direct Debit has been taken, the system will know this and will not ask for additional payment. The only exception is if your Direct Debit has failed. If that happens, you must pay your registration fee in full by card by 30 November on your online account.
If your employer wants to pay your registration fee
Your employer can pay your fee by:
- giving you their card details to make a card payment
- authorising you to set up a Direct Debit mandate to their bank account
- reimbursing you (if you’ve already paid using your card or by Direct Debit)
We do not accept purchase orders.
If you have already paid by Direct Debit, and your employer will not refund this payment, we are not able to help. However, you could cancel your Direct Debit and pay the second half of your registration fee by card in April next year.
If you pay by Direct Debit, you should receive confirmation from GoCardless (our Direct Debit provider) that you have paid the first instalment of your registration fees (£45).
If you pay by card, you should receive an email from GOV.UK Pay that your payment was successful. We will also send a message to your online account inbox to confirm successful payment.
If you have not received either of these, please contact us so we can provide you with a receipt of payment.
Fees and maternity or paternity leave
We are not able to reduce your registration fee due to maternity or paternity leave. To renew your registration, you must pay the full amount. Alternatively, you can request to leave the register while you are on maternity or paternity leave. It does not cost anything to leave the register, but there are fees associated with returning to the register.
Fees if you are on benefits
Paying your registration fee is a mandatory part of maintaining your registration with us. We are not able to reduce your registration fee due to claiming Universal Credit or other benefits. If you need financial support, you may find this list of support organisations helpful.
If you have recently joined the register
Our registration years run annually from 1 December to 30 November.
If you’ve recently joined the register, you will have paid a registration fee for the last part of the 2020/21 registration year. This means that you have only paid until 30 November 2021. To renew your registration for the 2021/22 registration year, you also must pay the annual registration fee of £90.
If you’re a UK taxpayer, you may be able to claim back tax on your annual registration fee. Read more about claiming tax relief on your registration fees, including making backdated claims.
If you are outside the UK
You can use GOV.UK Pay outside the UK. If you need support making a card payment through your online account, please email us and provide screenshots with the issues you are experiencing so we can work to resolve this for you.
Review the information you have provided. If you need to make a change, you can edit the information you have provided and return to the review page.
Continue to the next page, confirm the declarations and submit your application form.
Remember to submit the form
Please note, you must submit the form on the declarations step to complete your application. If you do not submit the form, you are at risk of being removed from the register.
Once we have received your application, we will review the information you have provided.
If you have told us about a change in your circumstances which may affect your safe and effective practice, we may ask you for more information. You must make sure that we receive this information within 14 calendar days, and no later than the end of the renewal period on 30 November.
Add or change information after submitting
You cannot make any changes to your renewal application after you have submitted it. The only exception is CPD. You can continue to edit CPD after you have submitted your application through ‘Your CPD’ on your online account.
To edit a CPD record, log in to your online account and go to ‘Your CPD’. Find your CPD overview at the bottom of the page. This will show the CPD you have recorded. Select ‘Edit’ to open the CPD record. You can also delete or upload attachments in this way.
Remember to submit the CPD record again. CPD will only count towards your application to renew your registration if it’s submitted.
There are 3 possible outcomes from an application to renew:
- accepted with conditions
We will contact you after the 30 November with our decision. This information will also be published on our public register.
Read more about what happens after you apply to renew.
Failure to renew
If you do not submit your application by 30 November, your registration will lapse. This means you need to apply to restore your registration if you want to continue to practise as a social worker.
If your registration lapses, you must not use the protected title 'social worker'. As the regulator for social workers in England, we have a duty to ensure public protection and dealing with title misuse is an important part of this.
At the end of the registration period, we will check all social workers’ accounts to see whether they have recorded CPD in their online account. We will then randomly select 2.5% of social workers for CPD review.
Read more about the CPD review process.
Voluntary removal (leave the register)
If you want to take a break from registration
You do not have to leave the register if you stop practising. Many social workers choose to stay registered while working in different roles such as teaching on social work courses.
If you stop practising but stay registered, you still have to meet the professional standards, including the standard on CPD.
Your decision to leave the register should take into account whether you plan to return to social work practice. You may want to consider staying registered. It does not cost anything to leave the register, but there are fees associated with returning to the register.
If you have or are planning to move abroad
If you are moving to a new country, you may want to leave the register as your registration only allows you to practise in England. It is up to you whether you want to remain registered with us if you plan to practise as a social worker in another country.
Your decision to leave the register should take into account how long you will be abroad and if you plan to return to social work practice in England. If you are only away for a short amount of time, you may want to consider staying registered as there are fees associated with returning to the register.
If you are not sure when you will return to England, you can either renew your registration or request voluntary removal. It is not possible to pause a registration.
If you're involved in an open fitness to practise investigation
You will not be able to leave the register if your fitness to practise is currently being investigated. You can find more information for social workers under investigation.
If you submit a request to leave the register while under fitness to practise investigation, we will get back to you to explain why we cannot process your request.
If you want to leave the register, you can make a request on your online account.
The online form will ask you to provide a leaving date. Your actual leaving date will be at least 10 working days from the date you provide. This delay is in the public’s interest. When we receive your request for voluntary removal, we will hold it on file in case a concern is raised about you, and so we can hold jurisdiction of your registration.
Once we have processed your request to leave the register, you will receive confirmation. This will include the date you will no longer be registered as a social worker.
Whilst you will no longer be registered after this date, your name will stay on our public register. Your new registration status will be: ‘No longer registered – voluntary removal’. If you leave the register by not paying your fee (rather than requesting to leave the register), your entry will say ‘No longer registered - failed to renew’.
Please note, we are not able to amend your status to voluntary removal once you have been removed for failure to renew.
We do not accept partial payments. We will not refund part of your registration fee should you decide to leave the register part way through a registration year.
You will not get a refund of your fee if you choose to leave the register. If you have a Direct Debit in place, we recommend that you cancel it before 24 September (last date before the first Direct Debit instalment is taken) as this is not refundable.
Because you are still registered with us for some time after submitting a request to leave the register, you will continue to receive communications and will still need to pay your registration fees while you remain registered.
There are 3 things you need to do as part of your application to renew:
- Complete and submit the online renewal application
- Pay the registration fee via Direct Debit or as part of your application to renew your registration
- Record your CPD
If you have completed all of the above, you will be able to find a reference number beginning ‘RN’ on your online account overview. If you have not fully completed your renewal application, it will say what you need to do on your online account.
For example, you may have recorded CPD and paid your registration fee but not completed all 12 steps of the application form.
The system will only recognise your CPD record if it has:
- been submitted
- correct dates (CPD must be dated between 1 December 2020 and 30 November 2021)
If you have received an email saying that you do not have any valid CPD on your online account, read our guidance on how to identity and fix invalid CPD.