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Information for social workers under investigation

A guide intended to help answer questions about the fitness to practise process and what to expect.

Our fitness to practise process

Last updated: 10 February 2021

We understand the challenges involved in social work and we recognise that mistakes will sometimes be made. Wherever possible, we will work collaboratively with you to support you with any problems.

You can find more information about how to find support

Only a small proportion of social workers will ever be involved in fitness to practise proceedings.

We only investigate concerns that are serious enough to raise doubts about a social worker's fitness to practise. 

When we say that someone is ‘fit to practise’ we mean that they have the skills, knowledge, character and health to practise their profession safely and effectively without restriction. The professional standards set out the requirements that we expect all social workers to meet. 

Fitness to practise is not just about professional performance. It also includes conduct which may damage public confidence in the profession, such as your behaviour outside work.

If we decide that your fitness to practise is impaired, it means that we have identified serious concerns about the suitability of your character or your ability to practise safely and effectively.

In those cases, we may suspend or place conditions on your practice, or for very serious concerns, remove you from the register permanently.

You may find it helpful to read our guide to fitness to practise.

The following pages are intended to help answer questions about the fitness to practise process and what to expect. Click 'next' at the end of each page to read more about what happens after each fitness to practise stage. 

If you have any questions or need help, please talk to us. You can find contact details for named contacts in our letters or you can call us on 0808 196 2274. You can also send an email to [email protected].  


Read more about what happens when we first receive a concern

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