Information and advice for registered social workers, education and training providers, employers, students and people with temporary registration.
Information and advice
Last updated: 29 October 2021 15.51pm
We recognise that you may be feeling anxious about coronavirus (COVID-19) and want to thank you for your continued work.
We are working with partners to provide information, signposting and resources relating to COVID-19 to social workers, students, placement providers and social work educators. We would also suggest that social workers discuss COVID-19 matters with their employers in the first instance and that they continue to follow government guidance.
COVID-19 vaccinations for social workers
To protect the public, social workers should always consider their role in the provision of safe care, and their professional duty to assess and manage any potential risks posed to vulnerable individuals when making decisions about their own immunisations and COVID-19 vaccination status.
While there is no absolute duty for an individual to be vaccinated against any disease, there is a potential risk of inadvertently spreading COVID-19. This includes spreading the virus to vulnerable members of the public. We therefore expect social workers to uphold the professional standards and prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of the public and their colleagues by working with their employers and adhering to the relevant legislation and guidance in the settings where they work.
We encourage everyone to take up the vaccine where they can to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Vaccination remains, however, a personal choice. We are clear that a social worker’s decision on whether to have the COVID-19 vaccination, or their exemption from the vaccination for clinical reasons, are not grounds for raising a concern to the regulator.
We expect social workers to uphold the professional standards and prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of the public and their colleagues by working with their employers and adhering to the relevant legislation and guidance in the settings where they work to reduce any risk of transmission of COVID-19 when working with the public. However, deliberate attempts to avoid compliance with employer guidance or legislation, for instance through dishonesty or deception, would amount to a breach of our professional standards and would likely form grounds for a fitness to practise investigation.
Vaccination as a condition of deployment
On 22 July 2021, the government passed the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (“the Regulations”). The Regulations require that from 11 November 2021, anyone working in or entering a care home in a professional capacity in England will be legally required to show proof of vaccination.
Where vaccination is a condition of deployment, we recommend that employers and social workers consult the Department of Health and Social Care’s operational guidance. This guidance includes more information about vaccination as a condition of deployment in care homes for both students and registered professionals. It includes guidance for health and care professionals, as well as more information about situations that may fall outside of this legislation.
Who we're working with
We are working closely with the government, the Chief Social Workers, other regulators and employers on the concerns raised by social workers. We will stay close to this. In the meantime please follow government advice, and exercise the common sense and flexibility around visiting and meeting others that is such a marker of our profession. As the regulator, we do not work in isolation. We are urging all parts of the system we work in to address social workers' concerns and help to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
Workplaces, social work settings and social work courses
We are working closely with the government, the chief social workers, other regulators and employers on the concerns raised by social workers. We will stay close to this. In the meantime, please follow government advice. As the regulator, we do not work in isolation. We are urging all parts of the system we work in to address social workers' concerns and help to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
GOV.UK is the official site for the latest information on COVID-19. The advice is updated regularly by the UK government and we continue to monitor it closely.
We’ll continue to update this page with further guidance as soon as we are able to.