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Misuse of title

‘Social worker’ is a protected title. This means that it is illegal for a person to use the title unless they have completed the required training and are registered with us. As the regulator for social workers in England, we have a duty to ensure public protection and dealing with title misuse is an important part of this.

Practising as a social worker without registration (misuse of title)

‘Social worker’ is a protected title. This means that it is illegal for a person to use the title unless they have completed the required training and are registered with us. It is also illegal for a person to falsely use any name, title or description implying that they are registered with us.

As the regulator for social workers in England, we have a duty to ensure public protection and dealing with title misuse is an important part of this. You can find a social worker’s registration status by searching our public register.

Report someone practising as a social worker illegally

If you are concerned that someone may be practising as a social worker without registration, please email us on [email protected] or call us on 0808 196 2274. To help us investigate, we need the following information:

  • the name of the person
  • their contact details, such as phone number or email address, if you have it
  • details of what happened
  • who you have already reported this to and the outcome, if applicable
  • any information to support this, such as emails, social media or professional profiles or mentions in newspaper or online articles

You should also let us know if you consent to us sharing this information with other relevant individuals or organisations. We share this information so matters can be investigated comprehensively.

If you find that a person is registered with us but you still have concerns about them, you can raise a concern.

What we do when we receive information that someone is practising as a social worker illegally

When we receive information that a person may be practising without registration, we will investigate where possible and take appropriate action. Depending on the circumstances, we may:

  • advise the person of the law
  • send cease and desist notices
  • initiate our own prosecution, if we decide it's in the public interest to do so
  • refer the matter to the police

We can’t investigate people who work in other healthcare professions, but these regulatory bodies may be able to help you.