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Information for social workers

COVID-19 information for social workers. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information and advice

Last updated on 8 January 2021 5.21pm

Information for social workers

Our regulatory standards are designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision making in a wide range of situations. They support professionals by highlighting the key principles which should be followed, including the need to work cooperatively with colleagues to keep people safe, to practise in line with the best available evidence, to recognise and work within the limits of their competence, and to have appropriate indemnity arrangements relevant to their practice.

We recognise that the individuals on our register may feel anxious about how context is taken into account when concerns are raised about their decisions and actions in very challenging circumstances. Where a concern is raised about a registered professional, it will always be considered on the specific facts of the case, taking into account the factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working. We would also take account of any relevant information about resource, guidelines or protocols in place at the time.

Please note that social workers with a temporary registration status do not have the same rights as those with a full registration status. Social workers with temporary registration can be removed from the register at any time. If a concern is raised about them that meets our triage test whilst they have temporary registration, they will automatically be removed without an investigation.

As you will be aware, social work as a profession spans across the two government departments of health and social care. Below is a list of guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education in response to COVID-19 that you may find useful. 

Care Act Easements – this guidance sets out how local authorities can use the new Care Act easements, created under the Coronavirus Act 2020, to ensure the best possible care for people in our society during this exceptional period.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for children's social care services – advice for local authorities and their partners to help support and protect vulnerable children.

Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care​ – ​preventing and controlling infection, including the use of PPE, in education, childcare and children's social care settings during the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19: guidance for the public on mental health and wellbeing – advice and information on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

COVID-19: ethical framework for adult social care – a framework to support the planning and organisation of adult social care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): looking after people who lack mental capacity – the Mental Capacity Act (2005) (MCA) and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on isolation for residential educational settings – advice on managing isolation for individuals or groups, in the event that a child, young person or staff member has coronavirus or shows symptoms.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on vulnerable children and young people – guidance for those working with vulnerable groups, including those with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult social care action plan - how the government will support the adult social care sector in England throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

A full list of GOV.UK guidance related to coronavirus can be found here

COVID-19 vaccinations for social workers

We have not yet been notified that social workers will be prioritised in regards to the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

We would suggest that social workers discuss this matter with their employers in the first instance, and that they continue to follow government guidance.

We have continued to discuss the role of social workers and their key worker status with our partners throughout the pandemic, and will share further information in regards to this once we have more information.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

We recognise that COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on social work. As social workers consider new and different ways of supporting people, it is important to consider, reflect and take account of what this means for your practice.

Your online account has a dedicated space for you to record CPD as your work, and the context in which you practice, changes. We ask that for this year, you record at least one piece of CPD in your online account. This demonstrates to us and the public that you uphold our professional standards and continue to remain fit to practise.

We will not tell you what your CPD should look like. We appreciate it may not take the form of training or formal learning but could well be an important opportunity to reflect on the challenges you face in practice, including the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about CPD.

How to get involved if you’re not currently practising

We’re getting a lot of enquiries from registered social workers who are not currently practising about how they can help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Social Work Together campaign

The Department for Education, the Department for Health and Social Care, Social Work England and the Local Government Association are delighted to introduce the Social Work Together campaign. Designed to support former social workers return to the frontline to support people in need, this scheme will provide returning social workers with the opportunity to interact with councils that need their skills and expertise. They will also be offered free online resources to support their development.

If you are currently registered and want to help communities through the COVID-19 outbreak, you can express your interest for the scheme. 

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