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Peer reflection

Peer reflection means that you have discussed the content of your CPD activity with a peer, your manager or another professional.

Peer reflection

Contents


Peer reflection requirement

To meet the CPD requirements, you must record:

  • a minimum of 2 pieces of CPD, including
  • at least one piece of CPD with a peer reflection.

The requirement to reflect with a peer as part of your CPD is new for the 2021 to 2022 registration year. It was introduced after consultation with the sector.

How to add a peer reflection

The CPD form has a new (optional) question: “Describe what you have learnt from discussing this CPD activity with a peer.”

The new section is marked with a ‘P’ and has the following text: “By answering this question, you will meet the requirement to record at least one piece of CPD with a peer reflection.”

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You can add a peer reflection to:

  • a new piece of CPD
  • draft CPD (select ‘continue editing’)
  • submitted CPD (remember to resubmit).

You can also watch a video tutorial of how to record CPD using the online form. This includes how to add a peer reflection.

What is peer reflection?

Peer reflection means that you have discussed the content of your CPD activity with a peer, your manager or another professional.

This discussion can be informal or formal, and can take place in one to one or group settings.

It’s likely that you already do peer reflection regularly. For example, when you have:

  • informal conversations with colleagues
  • reflective team meetings
  • supervision with your manager.

When discussing your CPD with a peer, you should talk about:

  • what you have learnt from doing the CPD
  • the positive impact the CPD activity has had (or will have) on your role, practice and the people you work with.

It’s important to seek out a non-judgmental, safe space. You need to feel safe enough to be able to scrutinise your own practice, and be honest about any challenges you’ve faced.

However, whilst peer reflection can be an effective way to address challenges, it doesn’t have to be troubleshooting. Peer reflection can also be a space to learn about good practice by discussing what went well.

The value of peer reflection

Our regional engagement leads (who are registered social workers), shared their views on peer reflection.

“Peer reflection encourages me to develop my reflection skills. It allows me to access different points of view, positive feedback, and constructive challenge.”
“Sharing my experiences and seeking guidance is good for my wellbeing. It is protected time for me to think.”
“It’s an opportunity to consolidate my learning, and get feedback on my practice. This ultimately leads to more thoughtful practice, safer decision making, and a better service for those with lived experience.”

Who counts as a peer?

  • Another social worker registered in the United Kingdom with Northern Ireland Social Care Council, Scottish Social Services Council, Social Care Wales, or Social Work England.
  • Your line manager or supervisor.
  • Other professional who has knowledge of your social work practice.

View list of other professionals that count as peers.

The role of the peer is not to approve your learning, but to support you to think about how you can improve your practice.

The peer you reflect with does not have to be someone you work with. You could attend a seminar, join online reflective sessions, or reach out to someone you know from a relevant profession.

When you record a peer reflection, you should not record the name or other details of who you reflected with. You must anonymise all CPD.

Confidentiality

When doing a peer reflection, you must protect the confidentiality of people you work with. If you are reflecting on a case, make sure you do so with a trusted peer, such as a colleague or your manager.

Remember the professional standards when you reflect with a peer, in particular:

Standard 2.6: As a social worker, I will treat information about people with sensitivity and handle confidential information in line with the law.

Standard 5.6: As a social worker, I will not use technology, social media or other forms of electronic communication unlawfully, unethically, or in a way that brings the profession into disrepute.

If you are not currently working

You still need to meet the peer reflection requirement even if you are not currently working.

This includes if you are:

  • unemployed
  • on maternity leave
  • or taking sick leave.

This is because we believe CPD is an essential part of being a registered social worker. It’s important to nurture your learning and continue to reflect on your practice. CPD can help keep your skills up to date and ensure you feel fully prepared upon starting or returning to work. It can also help you maintain a sense of professional identity and feel connected to social work practice.

Examples of peer reflection

These examples demonstrate some of the scenarios in which you might discuss your CPD with a peer. The examples should not be viewed as best practice. They illustrate a few of the ways which you could discuss CPD with your peer to help you learn, improve and reflect on your practice.

Scenario 1: reflecting on practice

You chat with a colleague about your day. You both work in frontline practice, and sharing and comparing your experiences allows you to learn from each other. These conversations also help you to reflect on your work. For example, what you feel has gone well, what could be improved, and how you might approach situations in the future. Perhaps they suggested a different approach, or offered a new perspective. Or, perhaps listening to their experiences has given you insight that you could apply to your own work. Later, you write down some reflections about the conversation you had with your colleague, and add them to your CPD record.

Scenario 2: discussing feedback in supervision

You’ve recently received some feedback from someone you work with. You decide to use this feedback as the basis for your CPD.

First you write a reflection on what you have learnt from the feedback, and how it will impact your practice. Where relevant, you might like to bring in some further reading or research. For example, if the feedback was that the person didn’t feel listened to, you might research some active listening techniques, and consider how you could use these techniques in your future interactions.

Next, you take the feedback, and the reflection you have written, to supervision with your manager. You could use this opportunity to reflect with them about how the feedback made you feel, the impact it had on you, and how you can improve the situation. You could then reflect on your discussion, considering how your manager’s support benefited your practice.

Scenario 3: sharing learning whilst not practising

You are on long-term leave from work and not currently practising. However, you would like to record CPD so you can remain registered as a social worker.

For your CPD, you reflect on a thought-provoking documentary you watched, that has given you a new perspective on a current issue in society. Later, through an online community or social media, you start talking to another social worker who has also seen the documentary. You decide to have a discussion over an online video call platform (such as Zoom) so you can reflect together.

You add details of this discussion to your CPD record, describing how sharing your learning with another social worker has kept your skills and knowledge up to date, and how this might impact your future practice.

Scenario 4: shared learning from a book

You’ve been reading a book in your personal life that has themes and topics that are relevant to your practice.

You decide to make some changes to your practice based on what you’ve read about, and find they are effective. In a casual discussion with a colleague, you share your new approach, and they decide to try it as well. A few weeks later, you chat with the same colleague about your experiences of implementing the changes, reflect on the benefits and challenges, and discuss potential further changes.

Later, you write a CPD record about what you learned from the book, and how sharing your learning with a colleague helped both of you to improve your practice. You might also consider how your colleague’s experience differed from your own, or how you might influence change across your organisation.

Scenario 5: participation in an event or training

You attend an online event or training course about a topic relevant to your practice. The session might include other social workers, or professionals from a range of disciplines. At the end of the session, the facilitator asks each participant to discuss what they have learnt with another participant.

Following the session, you record the session as CPD in your online account. You include details of what you have learnt and how this will impact on your practice. You also reflect on the discussion that you had at the end of the session with the other participant, and what you learned from their perspective. If you are an independent social worker, or don’t regularly work with other social workers, you could consider how these opportunities to meet other professionals enrich your work.

CPD consultation with the sector

We have been clear from the start that we wanted to use our first years of regulation as an opportunity to learn more about social workers and their CPD. We also said that we wanted to raise the bar on what CPD is required of social workers to retain their registration.

In 2021, we held a 12-week CPD consultation, and proposed some changes to the CPD requirements, including the requirement to reflect on CPD with a peer. The proposed changes were based on insights gathered during our first year as regulator, and findings from CPD research we commissioned with YouGov. We also tested our proposals in pre-consultation workshops, attended by social workers, people with lived experience and representatives of national organisations.

During the consultation period, we offered a number of ways for people to feedback on our proposals. We:

  • asked targeted questions in an online survey
  • encouraged feedback by email and post
  • held 10 public online events with people from across the country
  • held 2 workshops with professional regulators
  • consulted with our regional engagement leads.

We received 618 responses to the consultation, 29 of which were from organisations. As well as the survey, we collated and analysed feedback received from workshops, events, and by email. All of the consultation feedback was considered and formed the basis for our decision-making.

Following the consultation, we decided to introduce the peer reflection requirement. We introduced this requirement to reinforce the importance of peer reflection and supervision. It also reflects two parts of the CPD standard, using supervision (4.2) and contributing to an open learning culture (4.5).

Social workers continue to highlight to us directly, and to our independent research partners, the importance of supervision with managers and peers as they reflect on, challenge and progress their work. We believe that this requirement will have a positive impact and encourage peer working and supportive networks.

Read the full CPD consultation response here.

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