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Transition FAQs for social workers. 

Transition FAQs

Your registration

Q: Why is regulation being transferred?
A: In its January 2016 paper 'A vision for change', the Department for Education announced it would set up a new regulatory body for social work in England. The new regulatory body would have a ‘wider remit’ to look at post-qualification, accreditation and CPD. From Monday 2 December 2019, regulation of social workers was transferred to us from the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Q: Do I need to do anything to make sure my registration is transferred?
A: No, you do not need to do anything. The transfer, including your payment of fees by direct debit if appropriate, was automatic for everyone on the register. We will get in touch with you from Monday 2 December 2019 to reassure you that this has taken place.

Q: Will my registration number stay the same?
A: Yes, social workers who were registered with HCPC will retain their registration number but the format will appear slightly differently. If you currently have zeros at the start of your number (e.g. SW000***), these will now be removed (e.g. SW***).

Q: How do I set up my online account?
A: Your new Social Work England account is a space to interact with us, manage your registration and upload your continuing professional development (CPD). From the 2 December we’re rolling out email instructions to social workers and people who have recently applied to the register on how to activate it.

To get started, visit the account log in page and use the primary email address you supplied to HCPC to create your password. Once set up and logged in, please review your contact details. If you are newly qualified and would like to register with us for the first time, you can set up a brand new account via this page.

Q: What if I don’t hear from you on 2 December?
A: We will begin contacting all social workers and applicants from this date via email. This email will be sent to the email address that you provided to HCPC. Please check your junk or spam folders for this email. If you didn’t provide HCPC with a contact email address, we will send you a letter. If you want to check your registration with us before accessing your online account, you can search the online register

Joining the register

Q: What will I need to do to rejoin the register after a break?
A: Our requirements for restoring your registration will be similar to HCPC’s. If you have been out of practice for 2 years or more, you will need to spend 30 days updating your skills and knowledge through formal study, private study, or supervised practice. If you have been out of practice for 5 years or more, this will increase to 60 days.

Q: Will applicants receive a discount when they first register?
A: We do not offer a discount on initial registration. However, we don’t charge an application fee for UK applicants. Additionally, when you first register, your registration fees are calculated based on the length of time remaining until the end of the current registration period, so you only pay for the time that you are registered.

Q: What will the registration process be for international applicants?
A: Our application guidance has been out for consultation. You can find the guidance here.

Q: Can I apply to join the register with spent criminal convictions?
A: We consulted on our guidance for applicants throughout October 2019. You can find the guidance here


Q: What happened to the fees I have paid when Social Work England became the new regulator?
A: All remaining balances were transferred to Social Work England around the date of transfer.

Q: Should I cancel my direct debit as I transferred to Social Work England in December?
A: If you have a direct debit set up with HCPC you do not need to take any action. Please do not cancel your direct debit. Your payment from 1 October 2019 will be transferred from HCPC to Social Work England.

The next direct debit payment of £45.00 will then be paid on 4 May 2020. It should appear as ‘SocialWorkEngland’ on your bank statement. We will work with our direct debit provider GoCardless to manage all future payments and will email people to confirm the change in the coming weeks.

Please note: the Direct Debit payment date has been changed from 1 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Next year, the second registration fee instalment will be taken on 1 April as normal.

Please be assured that you will not be charged twice as a result of the change in regulator.

Q: I’ve heard that HCPC is increasing the registration fee. Does that affect social workers too?
A: This change will not affect you as we will be your regulator when you next renew in 2020. Should Social Work England consider a change to fees, this will be part of a consultation process before any changes are made.


Continuing professional development (CPD)

Q: How do I find out what the requirements are for continuing my professional development with Social Work England?
A: You can find out more about our requirements on our CPD pages.

Q: Why do I need to record my CPD with Social Work England?
A: Our registration rules say that you must maintain an up to date record of your CPD to demonstrate that you’re eligible to renew your registration each year. This should be recorded on your online account which will be accessible when we are the regulator. We believe that this is the easiest way to make sure you can demonstrate that you meet the CPD standard.

Q: How much CPD do I need to do?
A: We’ve not specified an amount of CPD that social workers should do in the first year, but we would expect to see at least one learning activity. We encourage social workers to decide how much CPD to undertake, taking into account their personal circumstances, their learning needs and how they’re practising.



Q: I raised a concern about a social worker with HCPC before 2 December. Do I speak to HCPC or Social Work England?
A: Any work to address your concerns that was not resolved when we took over as the regulator, was handed over to the appropriate teams here at Social Work England.

Q: Will Social Work England reexamine any serious concerns about investigations previously undertaken in the transition period by HCPC?
A: Concerns that have been considered and closed by HCPC will remain closed and will not be reviewed or reopened. We would only be able to reconsider a concern if there was substantial new information that wasn’t available at the time that the original concern was made. This would be treated as a new investigation.

For cases that were open at the time that we become the regulator, these cases will be reviewed and then progressed according to the rules and regulations that govern our process. You can read more about this in our just disposal of transfer cases policy.

Q: Will you be informing employers of any social workers that are part of a fitness to practise investigation?
A: We are at the start of our journey and are working hard to develop our database. Currently we do not have the details of every employer in England but if you would like us to keep you informed of any issues with your employees then you can email us at [email protected] with the name of the organisation and a specific contact.

Education and training

Q: Will my social work course still be an approved course?
A: All courses that were approved by HCPC will remain approved by us. We will begin work to reapprove these courses against our own education and training standards from late 2020. Any courses going through an approval process with HCPC were transferred to us on 2 December to take forward the remaining actions.

Q: When will I find out when my course will be reapproved?
A: All qualifying social work courses will need to be reapproved once every six years. We will be sending out the details of this first reapproval cycle in December 2019 to allow course providers as much notice as possible to prepare.

Q: How should I prepare for the changes to the education and training standards?
A: There is guidance available on our website which gives details about the standards for both 2019 and 2020. We will contact course providers months before they are due to be reapproved to check that they are making preparations and to answer any queries.


If you have any questions, please call us on 0808 196 2274 or email [email protected]

Last updated: 18 March 2020

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