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Continuing professional development (CPD)

CPD is an important part of our professional standards, which aim to improve public safety and confidence in social work. CPD is the reflection and learning activity that social workers do throughout their career to maintain and improve their practice. 

What you need to do

CPD is the reflection and learning activity that social workers do throughout their career to maintain and improve their practice. You should record CPD on a regular basis to meet our registration renewal requirements.

CPD is not just about attending training courses

Although formal training can be an important part of learning, CPD can be any activity you feel would benefit you and your practice. This can include anything from learning from complaints and understanding where things went wrong, to podcasts, articles and book clubs. It can also be the work you have done through programmes such as assessed supported year in employment.

We will not tell you what CPD you should do, but we encourage you to think creatively about your learning, including the things you’re already doing in your role, so you can demonstrate how you meet the standard for CPD. It is important that your learning is relevant to your role and that it is about the application of your learning in practice.

Read more about CPD you could do to show that you meet the CPD standard.

How much CPD you should do

You must decide how much CPD you need to do based on your personal circumstances and how you’re practising. We can’t tell you how much CPD you should do, but recording CPD at least 4 times a year would be good practice. Our registration renewal cycle is annual, so you must record some CPD every year.

You should try to demonstrate all 8 parts of the CPD standard during the year. You do not need to demonstrate all 8 parts in every piece of CPD. We want to see how you have reflected on your learning and how the CPD has improved your practice.

You only need to record CPD completed after 2 December 2019. There is no requirement to upload any CPD from before that date.

Read more about how to record CPD

Standard 4: CPD

Our professional standard relating to CPD sets out our expectations for what you need to do to maintain your registration.

Maintain my continuing professional development

As a social worker, I will:


Incorporate feedback from a range of sources, including from people with lived experience of my social work practice.


Use supervision and feedback to critically reflect on, and identify my learning needs, including how I use research and evidence to inform my practice.


Keep my practice up to date and record how I use research, theories and frameworks to inform my practice and my professional judgement.


Demonstrate good subject knowledge on key aspects of social work practice and develop knowledge of current issues in society and social policies impacting on social work.


Contribute to an open and creative learning culture in the workplace to discuss, reflect on and share best practice.


Reflect on my learning activities and evidence what impact continuing professional development has on the quality of my practice.


Record my learning and reflection on a regular basis and in accordance with Social Work England’s guidance on continuing professional development.


Reflect on my own values and challenge the impact they have on my practice.

Further information

You may find it helpful to read our guidance on CPD.

If you have any suggestions for how we can make the website work better for you, please do share your feedback so we can continue to learn.

If you have any question or need help, please call us on 0808 196 2274 or email [email protected].


Last updated: 16 June 2020