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Social workers with temporary registration (COVID-19)

Information about why we have temporary registration, how it works, who has temporary registration and how to opt out.

Temporary registration (COVID-19)

Last updated: 23 May 2022

Social workers play a vital role in helping communities through the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

In March 2020, Parliament gave us emergency powers to temporarily register previously registered social workers in England. Anyone with temporary registration can return to work as a social worker and use the protected title of social worker, however there is no obligation for them to do so.

People with temporary registration are those who left the register from 18 March 2018, including those who failed to renew their registration by November 2020 and anyone who voluntarily left the register up to 22 December 2020. People who were removed from the register because of a fitness to practice concern were not given temporary registration.

Temporary registration can be removed at any time.

We expect all social workers to meet and uphold the professional standards throughout their registration. Compliance with these standards is a requirement for temporary registration.

Social workers with temporary registration can be removed from the register if there are concerns about their practice without a fitness to practise process. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that anyone temporarily registered returning to social work practice can evidence safe and effective practice.

When will temporary registration end?

As most of the Coronavirus Act 2020 has now been repealed, we no longer have the power to add anyone to the register with temporary registration. We expect that our powers to provide temporary registration will end in September 2022. This means that we will remove temporary registration as a status in September 2022.

Social workers with temporary registration should apply to restore their full registration as soon as possible if they wish to continue to practise. Otherwise, they may be removed in September 2022 and will no longer be able to use the title ‘social worker’.


People with temporary registration are not obligated to return to practice.

If you would like to opt out and be removed from the register, you can complete the opt-out form.

If a concern is raised about a social worker with temporary registration

We will immediately assess the nature and extent of the risk to public safety by applying the criteria in rule 3 of the Fitness to Practise Rules 2019, referred to as the triage criteria. These criteria allow us to quickly assess whether the social worker’s fitness to practise may be impaired, or whether continuing to allow temporary registration would undermine trust and confidence in the social work profession.

Once we have reviewed the evidence, we will revoke the temporary registration of an individual if necessary. We will immediately remove the individual’s temporary registration status and they will no longer be able to practise.

If we decide to remove temporary registration, a person will remain able to practise under existing arrangements until they are removed from the register, alongside the other temporary social workers.

Detailed guidance

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