Let us know if you agree to cookies

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. Please let us know if you agree to all cookies.

Skip to main navigation

Skip to main content

Information for social workers

COVID-19 information for social workers. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information and advice

Last updated on 14 January 2022

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. 

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): 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 and testing 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 testing, 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.

Mandatory vaccinations and testing

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.

In relation to both vaccinations and testing, 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.

Vaccination and testing 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 testing or vaccination is a condition of deployment, we recommend that employers and social workers consult the Department of Health and Social Care’s operational guidance. Social workers should work with their employers to manage any risk.

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.

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 2 pieces 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.

Back to top