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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 July 2021 2.13pm

Social workers protect millions of people every day and are more important than ever as society faces unprecedented upheaval. Social workers play a vital role in helping communities through the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Due to these exceptional circumstances, we've been given emergency powers by the UK government to allow us to invite previously registered social workers in England who have left the register since 18 March 2018, including those that failed to renew their registration by November 2020, and those who voluntarily left the register up to 29 November 2020, to return to practice should they wish to do so.

During the emergency, people with temporary registration will be able to use the protected title ‘social worker’.

Once the emergency response has ended, we will remove everyone from the register with temporary registration status. When we do this, you will no longer be able to practise as a social worker. This will take around 14 working days. We may also begin to remove temporary registration status before the emergency response has ended.

For these reasons, we encourage you to apply to restore your full registration as soon as possible.

A very small number of social workers who failed to renew their registration between September and November 2020 have also been given a temporary status. This is a temporary measure that will allow social workers to continue to support their communities across Christmas and into the new year.

Temporary registration can be removed at any time and does not give an individual the same rights as a social worker who has a registration status of 'registered'.
We urge any social worker with temporary registration who wishes to continue to use the protected title of social worker after the emergency ends to apply to restore their registration as soon as possible.

List of social workers with temporary registration 

Social workers with temporary coronavirus registration are listed on our public register. The register is updated in real time, so information held on there is always up to date. You can also view a list of social workers with temporary registration but please note that this list is only updated once a week. 

The social worker’s name, registration number and nearest local authority (if known) is included. No address information is included on this list.

Read our temporary registration guidance for more information about our emergency powers, returning to practice as a temporary social worker, our professional standards, employer responsibilities, fitness to practise, and leaving the register after the emergency has ended.

If your name is not on the list but you think it should be, please send an email to [email protected] with your name, registration number (if known) and the date you left the register. 

Social Work Together

Alongside temporary registration, a campaign 'Social Work Together' is being launched in partnership with the Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care and the Local Government Association to allow social workers to express their interest in employment opportunities in these extraordinary times. A website has been launched, which can be accessed at local.gov.uk/social-work-together and will connect those offering their expertise to local employers.

Opt out

You are not obligated to return to practice. The fact that your name is on the list of returning social workers does not mean that you have to return to social work practice if you do not want to.

If you want your details removed from the list, you can complete the opt-out form.

You do not need to apply for temporary registration

Temporary registration works on an opt-out basis and you will be able to practise again if your name is published on the list. However, we will write to your last known postal address to confirm your addition to the list of returning social workers. If you’ve received a letter from us and would like to get in touch, please contact us.

We’ve decided to register people as a group because that is the most effective way to respond to an emergency. If you wish to apply to rejoin the register on a permanent basis during or after the emergency ends, you must restore your registration.

Social work employers will manage recruitment

We are responding to an emergency situation. This means that we will not be making any safe and effective practise checks as we would with new applicants. It will be the employer’s responsibility to ensure that anyone with a temporary registration returning to social work can evidence safe and effective practice.

We know from our ongoing conversations that social work employers are working hard to understand what the local demand might be. As this is a fast-moving picture, we will continue to work closely with them and keep our website updated with information on local needs.

There is no guarantee that being on the list of returning social workers will lead to employment. Employers have asked that you do not contact them directly as they are currently dealing with very challenging and fast-moving conditions. We will continue to update our website with information and advice.

You must comply with our professional standards

Social workers with temporary registration must read and make sure that they meet our professional standards. However, temporary registrants will not need to meet standard 4 which focuses on continuing professional development (CPD).

We expect all registered social workers to meet and uphold our professional standards throughout their registration. Our professional standards set out what a social worker in England must know, understand and do. Compliance with these standards is a requirement for temporary registration, and any failure to do so may result in you being removed from the list of temporary registered social workers.

You will not need to pay a registration fee for temporary registration

No fees will be charged for temporary registration. You will have to pay a restoration fee if you apply to restore your registration to rejoin the register on a permanent basis.

If a concern is raised about you whilst you’re temporary registered

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, referred to as the triage criteria. This will allow us to quickly assess whether the social worker is able to carry out their role safely and effectively, 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. The revoking of temporary registration means we will immediately remove the professional from the list of temporary social workers and they will no longer be able to practice.

If we decide to not revoke their temporary registration, the professional will remain in practice under existing arrangements until the emergency has ended and they are removed from the register, alongside the other temporary social workers.

We’re not currently planning to register students before they have qualified

Students are not currently able to register temporarily, but this could change in extreme circumstances. If we do decide to temporarily register students, we will provide detailed advice and guidance to education providers in line with government advice on workforce planning for broader health and social care settings.

Detailed guidance

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