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Restoration

This guidance is for people who have previously been registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) or Social Work England and who would like to rejoin the register.

Restoration

Last updated: 10 November 2021


About this guidance

This guidance is for people who have previously been registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) or Social Work England and who would like to rejoin the register.

Our register

The Social Work England register is publicly available.

Anybody can search the register to check that a social worker is registered and to find out:

  • their Social Work England registration number,
  • whether they’re subject to any registration conditions,
  • the postal town in which they work,
  • whether they have additional qualifications enabling them to act as an approved mental health professional (AMHP) or best interests assessor (BIA), and
  • whether they’re subject to any fitness to practise sanctions or interim orders.

‘Social worker’ is a protected title, meaning that only people on the register can practise as a social worker in England. Anyone who uses the title of social worker but who is not registered is committing an offence and can be prosecuted.

For more information about our register see:

Professional standards

In order to apply for restoration, you’ll be asked to confirm that you’ve read, understood, and will comply with our professional standards.

These are the standards we expect you to meet and uphold throughout your registration and are necessary for safe and effective practice. They set out what a social worker in England must know, understand and do throughout their career.

Compliance with these standards is a requirement for continued registration, and any failure to do so may be taken into account in fitness to practise proceedings.

Read the professional standards.

For more information about the professional standards see:

Am I eligible to apply for restoration to the register?

You’re eligible to apply for restoration if you:

  • have previously been registered as a social worker with the HCPC or Social Work England;
  • have not been automatically removed from the register as a result of a listed offence (see 'listed offences' section below);
  • have not been subject to a removal order within the last 5 years or, if more than 5 years have passed since your removal order, you have not made an unsuccessful application to restore your registration within the last 12 months; and
  • have not been convicted of a listed offence5 (see ‘listed offences’ section below).

For more information about eligibility see:

How to apply to restore your registration

If you already have a Social Work England online account, you can log in with your existing details and apply to restore your application.

You can also use your Social Work England online account to pay your restoration and registration fees.

Once registered you can:

  • Record your continuing professional development (CPD)
  • Renew your registration annually
  • Update your personal details

If you do not have a Social Work England online account, you can email [email protected] Please make the subject of your email is ‘Request restoration account’.

In your email, you should confirm:

  • the name you were last registered under,
  • your date of birth,
  • your previous registration number, and
  • the first line of the home address we’re likely to have on our system.

This will help us ensure that we’re giving access to the right person. You will then be able to apply online.

You can also download a restoration application form on our website. Please note that this route may take a little longer.

Information you need to have ready

To complete your application to restore your registration, you’ll need to provide the following.

  • Proof of any name changes that have occurred since you were last registered, such as a marriage certificate (this must be a certified colour copy)
  • Details of the qualification that entitles you to join the register
  • Evidence of updating your skills and knowledge (if you have left the register for more than 2 years)
  • Information of your employment since you left the register
  • Information about any other regulators with whom you hold registration
  • Details of any criminal convictions or cautions that you have not yet disclosed to Social Work England, the HCPC or the General Social Care Council (GSCC), except those that are protected (see ‘protected convictions and cautions’ section below)
  • Details of any health conditions you have not yet disclosed to Social Work England, the HCPC or GSCC that could affect your practice as a social worker
  • Details of any occasions when your fitness to practise has been investigated by any regulatory body
  • Up to date evidence of your knowledge of English (in some circumstances)

If you left the register for failure to provide continuing professional development (CPD) we will request your CPD records as well.

Restoration after a removal order

If you are applying to restore your registration after you were subject to a removal order, you must also provide:

  • Certificates of any approved courses that you have completed since the removal order was made, such as a postgraduate social work degree that appears in the list of approved courses on our website.
  • Details of any paid or unpaid employment that you have undertaken since your removal order was made.

In this case, your application will need to go to the adjudicators. You must tell us whether you wish to attend a hearing in person to give oral submissions in front of the adjudicators, as well as whether you wish to be represented.

When you submit your application you should also include any testimonial or other supporting evidence that you wish to rely on.

The adjudicators that consider your case will normally make their decision within 56 days of us receiving all the required information, unless you agree to a postponement.

For more information about restoration after a removal order see:

Your documents

Throughout the online application process, you can upload supporting documents such as your qualification certificate if you qualified in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. These must be certified colour copies.

If you’re unable to upload your documents, you can send your supporting documents to us by post. Please do not send original documents unless we’ve specifically requested them.

To certify your documents, you will need to ask a person of standing in the community to confirm that any copies are true copies of the original documents. The person you ask should not be related to you, living at the same address, or in a relationship with you.

A ‘person of standing in the community’ includes:

  • A lawyer or notary
  • A regulated health or social care professional
  • A bank manager or other bank official
  • A member of the judiciary or other judicial official
  • A minister of the church, rabbi, imam or other recognised religious official
  • A member of a parliament, other legislative body or local government authority
  • A consular officer
  • A teacher or lecturer
  • A member of a regulated profession

To certify your documents, the person must compare each original document with the copy and write on the front of the copy (without obstructing the information):

  • ‘I certify that this is a true copy of the original document seen by me’,
  • Their signature and full name,
  • The date of certification, and
  • Their occupation and professional address.

Documents not written in English

Any documents that are not written in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. This means that the translator should confirm, by writing on the translation, that:

  • the translation is a ‘true and accurate translation of the original document’;  
  • the date of the translation; and  
  • the full name and contact details of the translator or a representative of the translation company.

Our registration managers have had training in document fraud identification. They will review the copies for authenticity. Please ensure that you provide high quality colour images, that clearly show all four edges of the document.

If your copies are not clear enough, or if we are unable to verify their authenticity, we may request to see your original documents, which you should send by secure post or courier.

Verifying your identity

If your name has changed since you were last registered, you will need to provide evidence of this change, such as a marriage certificate. This document will need to be a certified colour copy of the original.

You also must tell us if you have ever been registered under a name different to the one you provide to Social Work England.

Please see the ‘your documents’ section above for more information about providing these documents.

Can I register in a different name to the one on my official documents?

The name that appears on the public register must be the name that you use when you are practising as a social worker. If this is different to the name stated on your official documents, you will need to provide a further document that shows the name you wish to use professionally, such as a certified colour copy of your marriage certificate or birth certificate.

How long will my application take?

If we do not need to request any additional information to support your application, we will normally process your application in 20 working days.

We will be in touch if we need any further information from you to process your application.

We will usually contact you through your Social Work England online account.

Please note, you may wish to add [email protected] to your safe senders list and check that the emails do not go into your junk mail folder.

Fees

Restoration fees

To enable us to assess your application, you’ll need to pay a non-refundable restoration fee of £135. This covers the time and resources it takes to process this type of application.

You’ll need to pay your restoration fee when you submit your application to restore. You can pay this through your online account.

If you choose to send a paper form, we’ll provide you with our bank details, so you can make a bank transfer. We do not offer the option to pay over the phone or by cheque.

For more information about restoration fees see:

Registration fees

If your application is successful, you’ll also need to pay a registration fee.

The amount you’ll need to pay is based on the length of time remaining before the end of the current registration period, as shown below. Each registration period runs from 1 December to 30 November.

Your first registration fee will be calculated based on the length of time remaining in the current registration period, so if your application is approved between:

  • 1 December and 28 February, you will pay £90.00
  • 1 March and 31 May, you will pay £67.50
  • 1 June and 31 August, you will pay £45.00
  • 1 September and 30 November, you will pay £22.50

You must pay this fee in full within 10 working days of our first request for payment. If you do not pay your fees within 10 working days, we’ll close your application.

If you still wish to practise as a social worker, you’ll need to submit a new application and pay an additional restoration fee to restore your registration.

A £90 registration fee will be due annually when you apply for renewal. The renewal period is 1 September and 30 November. Read more about registration fees.

The easiest way to pay your registration fee is through your online Social Work England account, which uses GOV.UK Pay. If you are unable to use GOV.UK Pay, please contact us.

For more information about registration fees see:

Evidence of updating skills and knowledge

Social work is a constantly evolving profession. Often new legislation is introduced, local and national policy is revised and updated, and learning from case reviews and research takes place that may impact on practice. Changing cultural and social factors also shape the work undertaken by social workers and the issues they must be aware of and respond to.

As the regulator, we must ensure that those returning to the profession are fit to practise and can uphold the professional standards.

Applicants often find that undertaking this period of updating their skills and knowledge helps them to prepare and develop confidence for their return to social work employment.

If you left the register in the last 2 years

We may ask to see proof of continuing professional development (CPD). You will need to share at least one piece of CPD with us.

CPD can be any number of activities which help you to learn, improve, and reflect. The most important thing about CPD is that you have reflected on your learning, and demonstrated how it has, or will, impact your practice.

Read more about CPD.

If you have not been registered as a social worker for 2 or more years

If you have not been registered as a social worker in the last 2 years, you’ll need to provide us with evidence to show how you’ve kept your skills, knowledge and experience up-to-date.

If you have been practising due to temporary registration, you will still need to provide evidence of updating skills and knowledge by submitting a return to practice form.

To do this, you’ll need to download the relevant form on the restoration page on your Social Work England online account.

If you left the register between 2 and 5 years ago, you’ll need to show that you have spent at least 30 days updating your skills, knowledge and experience. If you left the register more than 5 years ago, you’ll need to show that you have spent at least 60 days updating your skills, knowledge and experience.

We consider a day to be a minimum of 7 hours. The 30 or 60 days do not need to be continuous, but they must all fall within the 12 months leading up to you submitting your application to restore.

You can use 1 or more of the following 3 options to update your skills, knowledge and experience:

  1. Supervised practice,
  2. Formal study
  3. Private study

However, private study can make up no more than half of the required period.

This means that you can undertake private study for up to 30 days if you are completing a 60-day period, or 15 days if you are completing a 30-day period.

Supervised practice

What counts as supervised practice?

Supervised practice involves working under the supervision of a registered social worker in a social work role either in the UK or another country. Your supervisor must be registered with the relevant regulatory body for the duration of your supervised practice and have been registered as a social worker for at least 3 years continuously. They must also not be subject to any fitness to practise sanctions or interim orders.

We do not specify the activities that applicants must undertake. It could include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Providing information, support and guidance to service users and their families
  • Undertaking or shadowing assessments
  • Care planning
  • Applying legislation
  • Signposting and liaising with other agencies
  • Attending team and multi-disciplinary meeting
  • Case recording
  • Training sessions
  • Shadowing social workers and other professionals
  • Any other activities relevant to the setting

Applicants are not expected to carry their own caseload.

For each period of supervised practice you undertake during the 12 month period, you’ll need to provide:

  • details of the setting where you have undertaken your period of supervised practice;
  • the contact details of your supervisor;
  • the name of the regulatory body they’re registered with;
  • their registration number;
  • the dates and number of hours of your supervised practice; and
  • details of what your supervised practice involved.

We’ll contact your supervisor to confirm this information.

Does the supervised practice need to be undertaken in a statutory social work setting?

We recognise that social work skills and knowledge are used in many settings. This includes organisations that provide services and support to improve the lives of vulnerable people.

Supervised practice can be undertaken in local authorities and other settings in the health and social care sector, such as a family support service, mental health project, women’s refuge or charity that provides the opportunity to practise social work skills and knowledge. It does not have to be undertaken in a statutory social work setting.

It could be a placement you have arranged or paid employment in a role related to social work, for example support worker, advocate, social work assistant or similar, as long as the period of practise has been undertaken with the supervision of a registered social worker.

The supervising social worker does not necessarily have to be based where you undertake your practice, but you must negotiate with them how they will supervise and assess the work you undertake. We would expect that your workplace supervisor or manager is aware that you are working with a social worker to update your skills and knowledge, and that they contribute to the process. We may contact your workplace supervisor or manager to confirm the work you have undertaken.

How do I arrange supervised practice?

We do not arrange supervised practise for applicants. You may choose to contact local authorities, former employers and colleagues or other organisations in the voluntary and charity sector to arrange to undertake a period of supervised practise.

Some return to social work programmes, such as the one run by the Local Government Association, may offer supervised practice placements as part of the programme, however we cannot recommend programmes or assist you in finding one.

Guidance for supervisors

We do not set detailed requirements for the level of supervision needed, or the tasks that applicants need to carry out. We believe that this is best decided between the applicant and supervisor, based on the learning needs of the applicant, the type of service and the expertise of the supervisor.

We rely on the supervisor’s assessment, as an experienced registered social worker, of the applicant’s knowledge and skills, and their capability to undertake a social work role in line with the professional standards. We do not ask supervisors to provide a report, though it is good practice to maintain records of supervision sessions to share with the applicant.

Once we receive an applicant’s return to practice forms, we will contact the supervisor to confirm in writing that the supervised practice has been completed satisfactorily.

If social work is not regulated in the country where the applicant wishes to undertake the supervised practice, they can be supervised by another social worker, but they must provide full details of the supervised practice.

We will then make a decision about whether the supervised practice is enough to update the applicant’s skills and knowledge.

Formal study

A postgraduate course (whether a degree, diploma or shorter course) will be accepted as formal study, as long as a qualification in social work was necessary to enrol on the course. We must be confident that the course content and quality assurance processes and governance are of a sufficient standard. Return to social work programmes, such as the one run by the Local Government Association, can count towards formal study.

You’ll need to send us a certified copy of your certificate or upload a scan of the original so we can verify your qualification. We may also contact your course provider for confirmation.

You can contact us before you enrol and pay for a course to see if we will accept this as formal study. CPD completed in the workplace and online learning that is not provided by a university does not count as formal study, although it can count as private study.

Private study

Private study is a method of updating your skills and knowledge through self-structured learning. Some examples of the types of activities that you may include in your period of private study are:

  • reading journal articles or books on social work
  • reading information on relevant websites
  • observing or shadowing a social worker (which is different from supervised practice as there is no formal supervision arrangement)
  • attending training courses
  • reflecting on and recording your learning

Private study can make up no more than half of the required period. You’ll need to keep a record of the activities you undertake throughout any period of private study.

When you apply to rejoin the register, you’ll need to demonstrate how each aspect of your private study has contributed to your learning and enabled you to meet our professional standards. In relation to each day or activity that makes up your private study, it’s important that you keep a record of:

  • the date
  • the number of hours spent
  • what you did
  • how this helped you meet our professional standards

Your responsibility

It’s your responsibility to make sure what you learn during a period of updating your skills, knowledge and experience is enough to meet our professional standards

If you have been practising as a social worker outside of England

  • the contact details for the regulatory body;
  • your registration number with that body; and
  • The dates of your registration period.​​

If there was not a regulatory body in the country in which you practised, you must provide us with information about the work you were doing. For each role, you should provide the following:

  • Your job title
  • The name, address and email address of your employer
  • The dates of your employment
  • A description of your duties
  • Dates and details of any training, relevant study or CPD you completed.

We will then make a decision about whether this work is enough to demonstrate that your skills and knowledge have been kept up to date.​

Misuse of title cases

Sometimes, we identify potential misuse of title cases when considering an application to restore. This is where we find information that indicates that you may have been practising as a social worker in England without registration.

We take these matters very seriously, as practising as a social worker in England without being registered with us is a criminal offence. If we believe you have been using the protected title of ‘social worker’, your application to restore will be put on hold while we investigate. The outcome of the misuse of title case will also be used as part of our assessment when considering your application to restore.​

Read more about our misuse of title procedure.

Safe and effective practice

Our legal framework requires us to be satisfied that you’re able to practise safely and effectively. This means that you need to have the skills, knowledge, character, and health to practise safely and effectively as a social worker.

You must declare anything that could affect your ability to practise safely and effectively to us. You will need to make safe and effective practice declarations when you apply to join the register.

For more information about safe and effective practice declarations see:

What you need to declare

Things that impact your ability to practise include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Convictions, cautions, penalty notices or being investigated for a criminal offence
  • Findings by other regulatory bodies. For example, if another regulator (that you are also registered with) finds that your fitness to practise is impaired
  • Disciplinary proceedings
  • Being barred from working with children or vulnerable adults
  • Health conditions that affect your ability to carry out your usual duties as a social worker

We will explain these situations in more detail below.

Criminal proceedings

Convictions, cautions and penalty notices

Convictions and cautions

You must declare any convictions or cautions that have been issued in the UK or any other country. You must also tell us if you’re being investigated for a criminal offence in the UK or any other country. We have powers to require all applicants to disclose these matters. You do not need to declare any convictions or cautions that have previously been disclosed to Social Work England, the HCPC or the GSCC.

You must declare:

  • All convictions and cautions, including spent convictions and cautions, issued in the UK or any other country unless they are ‘protected’ (see below for details on protected convictions and cautions)
  • All road traffic convictions or cautions unless they are ‘protected’ (see below for details on protected convictions and cautions)
  • All offences for which you have been convicted in a military court or tribunal, and
  • Any charges of or investigations for a criminal offence

You should provide as much information as possible about any convictions or cautions you have to enable us to make a decision about your application. If we need to ask for additional information your application will take longer to process.

For more information about convictions and cautions:

You must provide the following information in relation to each of the convictions or cautions you have:

  • Details of the offence
  • The date you received the conviction or caution or when the investigation started, if necessary
  • The name and contact details of the court or authority, if known
  • Any other information you believe will help to explain the circumstances that led to the conviction or caution.

Our professional standards also require you to tell us if you’re under investigation. We will need further information to assess your ability to practice safely and effectively in order to ensure the protection of the public.

Penalty notices

You must also declare any:

  • fixed penalty notices,
  • penalty notices for disorder, or
  • harassment notices issued to you in the UK or any other country.

You do not need to declare:

  • road traffic offences where you have paid a fixed penalty notice (for example, speeding offences or civil matters such as parking tickets), or
  • fixed penalty notices, penalty notices for disorder, or harassment notices issued in Scotland. These are protected from disclosure by amendments to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Please provide the following information about each notice you have received:

  • Details of the offence,
  • The date you received the notice,
  • The name and contact details of the authority who issued you with the notice (if known), and
  • Any other information that will help to explain the circumstances that led to the notice being issued.

Protected convictions and cautions

Some convictions and cautions are protected by law meaning you do not need to declare them to us. If you do tell us about a protected offence, we will not take it into account when we assess your application for registration.

Protected cautions

A caution is protected, and you do not need to tell us about it if you received the caution when you were under 18 or both of the following apply:

  • More than 6 years have passed since you received the caution, and
  • It is not for an offence listed by the DBS as one that will never be protected.
Protected convictions

A conviction is protected, and you do not need to tell us about it if all of the following apply

  • More than 11 years have passed since the date of conviction (or more than 5 years and 6 months have passed if you were under the age of 18 when convicted),
  • It’s not for an offence listed by the DBS as one that will never be protected, and
  • You did not receive a custodial sentence, and
  • You have not been convicted of any other offence at any time.

The law on whether a conviction or caution is protected is complex. If you’re not sure, we recommend that you seek independent expert or legal advice. This is to check whether you need to tell us about it.

Listed offences

The offences we recognise as listed offences are specified in our legislation[1] and include serious violent or sexual offences. They also include other offences that are relevant to the role of a social worker.

You will not be eligible for registration if you’ve been convicted of a listed offence. If we become aware that you have a conviction for a listed offence once you are registered, we will automatically remove you from the register.

You must also tell us if you’ve committed an offence abroad that would be considered a listed offence in England.

If you’re aware that you have committed an offence overseas that may be equivalent to an offence in the UK, you should seek independent expert or legal advice to check whether you need to tell us about it.

For more information about listed offences see:

What happens if I disclose a conviction, caution or penalty notice?

If you disclose a conviction, caution, penalty notice or investigation for an offence, we’ll assess whether this is likely to impact:

  • your ability to practise safely and effectively, or
  • the reputation of the profession.

If you disclose a conviction, caution or penalty notice we’ll take into account:

  • the nature of the offence
  • when it occurred, and
  • whether you have committed any other offences.

We’ll also take into account any details you provide about the circumstances surrounding the offence and any learning and insight you demonstrate. As part of the assessment of your application to join the register, we will ask you to provide a recent copy of your DBS certificate.

We may contact the police to verify any details you provide about your convictions, cautions, penalty notices or investigations to help us decide whether your fitness to practise will be affected. We may also ask for sentencing documents and further information in order for us to complete our assessment.

Safeguarding vulnerable groups legislation

For us to restore your registration, you also need to tell us if you’ve been barred from working with vulnerable adults or children. Unless you’ve already disclosed this information to Social Work England, the HCPC or the GSCC, you must disclose whether you are, or have ever been:

  • listed on the adults’ or children’s list under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007,
  • listed on the adults’ and or children’s list under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Northern Ireland) Order 2007,
  • subject to a barring order under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006), or
  • barred from working with vulnerable people in any other country.

If any of these apply to you, you will need to provide us with full details, including:

  • the date you were barred from working with children or vulnerable adults,
  • name and contact details of the organisation that barred you from working with children or vulnerable adults, and
  • any other information that you believe will help us to understand the circumstances that led to the decision.

For more information about safeguarding vulnerable groups legislation see:

Health conditions

We use the term ‘health condition’ to mean an illness, injury, disability, or impairment.

Why we ask about health conditions

We ask about health conditions because we need to know that the people on our register are able to fulfil their role as a social worker safely and effectively.

Our focus is whether you have a health condition that could adversely or negatively affect your practice. We do not need to know about health conditions that you’re able to manage effectively.

You do not need to tell us about any health conditions that you have previously disclosed to Social Work England, the HCPC or the GSCC, unless the way your health condition affects, or could affect, your ability to practise safely and effectively has changed.

When you apply for restoration, you should also tell us if a health condition you previously disclosed no longer exists or is now being effectively managed.

Health conditions you do not need to disclose

Many people with health conditions are able to practise safely and effectively. For example, you may be receiving support or treatment from a health care professional.

The fact that you have a health condition does not impair your fitness to practise. You may still be able to practise with or without adjustments to support you.

There are 2 important questions to ask yourself before declaring a health condition:

  1. Am I managing my health condition?
  2. Do I have sufficient insight to limit my practice where necessary to protect the public while registered as a social worker?

Support at work

Additionally, your employer has a responsibility to discuss what reasonable adjustments they can provide to support you at work.

If your employer is not providing adequate support to help you manage your health condition and enable you to work safely and effectively, you should raise it with them.

Health conditions you need to disclose

You must tell us about a health condition if both of the following apply:

  • Your health condition affects, or could affect, your ability to perform your role as a social worker safely and effectively. This includes any episodic or occasional conditions that may affect your ability to practise safely and effectively if you experience a recurrence.
  • You do not have arrangements in place that manage the health condition and allow you to perform your role as a social worker safely and effectively.

If both of the above apply to your health condition, you should declare this in your application.

You will need to tell us more about the effect your health condition may have on your ability to perform your role. You will also need to tell us what steps you are taking towards managing the condition.

An occupational health assessment does not necessarily confirm that you are capable of safe and effective practice. The main aim of an occupational health assessment is to advise employers on the employee's health and make recommendations on what adjustments could be considered.

You should include the following information in your application or self-referral:

  • The nature and seriousness of your health condition, including whether it is ongoing or episodic,
  • How your condition may affect your ability to practise safely and effectively,
  • What steps you’re taking to manage your health condition, for example medication or reduced hours, and how effective these are,
  • Whether you’ve made your employer aware of your condition, and
  • Any relevant dates of occurrences and treatment.

Declarations and disability

Having a disability does not necessarily mean your fitness to practise is impaired.

However, if you do disclose a disability, we are required to ask you for more information to make sure it does not affect your ability to practise safely and effectively.

If you are managing your disability and it does not affect your practice, then you do not need to declare it to us.

What happens if I disclose a health condition?

If you declare a health condition to us, we’ll treat this matter sensitively as we know it may cause you additional concerns.

We’ll need to be sure that you understand your condition and how it effects your safe and effective practice. We need to know that you’ve considered how certain aspects of your practice may be affected. We also need to know that you have taken appropriate steps to make sure you do not put yourself or others at risk.

We’ll consider the information you have provided on a case by case basis. In some cases, we may need to speak to your doctor or other treating clinician. We will always let you know that we’re doing this.

All information regarding your health will be treated in the strictest confidence and will only be shared with people who need it to deal with your declaration.

Any health declarations and associated evidence will be retained in accordance with our information governance processes.

Fitness to practise history

During the application process we will ask you whether you have ever been subject to fitness to practise proceedings before any regulatory body and, if so, what the outcome was. This includes the proceedings of regulators outside of the social work profession, such as the NMC or the HCPC, and overseas regulators

You do not need to tell us about any proceedings that you have previously disclosed to Social Work England, the HCPC or the GSCC.

If you were the subject of a fitness to practise investigation, you must provide the following information:

  • The name and contact details of the regulatory body that investigated your fitness to practise,
  • The date of the decision of the fitness to practise proceedings,
  • The outcome of your fitness to practise proceedings, for example, whether the investigation was closed, you were suspended, removed from the register, had conditions of practice imposed, were given a warning, advice or caution and even where no formal action was taken. Please note this includes if you were the subject of a voluntary removal process during the course of fitness to practise proceedings, and
  • Any further details about the case that will help to us to understand the circumstances that led to the decision.

For more information about health conditions see:

What happens if you disclose your fitness to practise history

If you declare anything in relation to your fitness to practise history, we will ask for a copy of any determinations. This will enable us to make an assessment as to whether the findings or agreed facts are likely to affect your ability to practise safely and effectively as a social worker in England.

When considering whether you are able to practise safely and effectively, we will consider our overarching objective to protect the public under Section 37 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, which includes:

  • Protecting, promoting and maintaining the health, safety and well-being of the public,
  • Promoting and maintaining public confidence in social workers in England, and
  • Promoting and maintaining professional standards for social workers in England.

For more information about fitness to practise history see:

Other checks we will make

You should tell us if you have been registered with another regulator. We need information about your registration history including confirmation of the dates of your registration and whether there is any fitness to practice history.  You will need to tell us the following information:

  • The regulatory body you were, or are, registered with
  • The contact details for the regulatory body
  • Your registration number with that body
  • The dates you were registered with that body

We will contact the regulator directly to get the information, every regulator works differently, and they may prefer to provide the information to you.

You may wish to check with the regulator before you apply to join the  register to ensure that the information we need will be provided within our timescales.

Knowledge of English

If English is not your first and native language and you’ve been off the register for more than 5 years, you’ll need to give details of how you’ve kept your English language skills up-to-date during this time.

This means you need to be able to speak and write in English, understand people when they speak to you in English, and understand documents written in English.

If you are not a UK national and you received your UK qualification more than 5 years ago, you may need to provide evidence to demonstrate that your English language skills are of a suitable standard.

For more information, see The Social Work England Registration Rules 2019, rule 59(1)(c).

English language controls as a registration requirement

The proposal to introduce English language requirements for social workers follows the Law Commission’s recommendation that regulatory bodies should carry out proportionate language controls on those applying to join professional registers.

In its response to the Law Commission the government agreed, stating this was a priority given the need to ensure public protection. This recognises that in order to practise safely and effectively it is vital that every social worker is able to understand and communicate effectively with the people they work with, those involved in their care and other professionals.

This proposal follows the introduction of language controls for other regulated professionals including doctors, nurses, dentists and pharmacists, as well as a code of practice on English language requirements for public sector workers.

For more information see The Immigration Act 2016, part 7.

Evidence to demonstrate your knowledge of English

If you are not a UK national, have been off the register for more than 5 years, and do not have a UK social work qualification received in the last 5 years, there are 3 ways you can demonstrate your knowledge of English. For more information, see The Social Work England Registration Rules 2019, rule 16.

1. IELTS certificates

For us to accept an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) qualification, your certificate must show: 

  • that you took the full academic version of the test (this is the paper version not the online indicator test),
  • that you got an overall score of at least 7.0,
  • the original stamp and test report form number, and 

that you received your IELTS qualification in the last 5 years. 

2. Social work qualifications gained outside the UK and taught in English 

If you have gained a further recognised social work qualification outside the UK, it may be possible to use this as evidence of your knowledge of English. To do this, your qualification must have been obtained both: 

  • within the last 5 years, and 
  • in a country where English is the first and native language (see below).

We’ll contact your course provider directly to confirm that the qualification was entirely taught and examined in English.  

3. Practising social work in English 

If you’ve been registered and practising as a social worker in a country where English is the first and native language, this can be used as evidence of your knowledge of English as long as all of the following apply:

  • You were registered and practising for at least 1 year in the last 5 years,
  • Social work is regulated in that country, and
  • An English language assessment was required for registration. 

You’ll need to provide details of the regulatory body you were registered with, as well as contact details for your employer. We’ll contact your employer directly to confirm you’ve been practising using English.  

First and native language

You can find a list of the countries we currently recognise as having English as their first and native language at the end of this guidance document.

We use this list to determine whether someone meets our English language requirements in 2 ways:

  1. To decide whether their practice in the country demonstrates their knowledge of English
  2. To decide whether a qualification from that country demonstrates their knowledge of English

Please note that a first and native language is different to an official language.

Restoring your annotations

If, when you were previously registered, you had any annotations attached to your registration, you can apply for these to be restored once your application to restore has been accepted.

We’ll need to see evidence showing that you’re qualified to act as an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) or Best Interests Assessor (BIA). For more information, see The Social Work England Registration Rules 2019, rule 45.

Read more about annotations

Submitting your application

The quickest and most secure way to submit your application to restore is through your Social Work England online account.

If you choose to complete a paper form, you can scan and send it to us as an attachment along with any certified copies of supporting documents. Please send the form and all attachments to: [email protected].

Alternatively, you can post your completed application form with certified copies of your supporting documents to: Registration and Advice Team, Social Work England, 1 North Bank, Blonk Street, Sheffield, S3 8JY.

Declaration

Before you submit your application, you’ll be asked to complete a declaration to confirm the following:

  • I confirm that I have read, understood and will comply with Social Work England’s professional standards.
  • I confirm that I have read and understood the privacy notice and understand that Social Work England will process my data as required by the Social Worker Regulations 2018 and associated rules.
  • I agree to pay the fees for my registration.
  • I understand that Social Work England may contact other relevant person(s) or organisations to obtain further information about my application or to verify the information that I have provided and agree that any person who is so contacted may provide Social Work England with any information about me which that person holds.
  • I confirm that the information I have provided in this application is correct and understand that fraudulently procuring an entry in the Social Work England register is an offence under the regulations for which I may be prosecuted.

Honesty

It is important to be honest when applying to join our register. Before you submit your application, you will be asked to confirm that the information you have provided is accurate. If you give false or misleading information, we may deny your application for registration or remove you from the register.

You must tell us as soon as possible if any of your details change. It is your responsibility to ensure that all the information we hold about you is up to date and accurate throughout your registration.

This includes your personal and employment details as well as any information relevant to your fitness to practise (as required by standard 6.6 of our professional standards). Failure to inform us of any changes could lead to you being suspended or removed from the register. You can check and update your details on your Social Work England online account.

It’s important to be honest when applying to restore your registration. If you give incorrect or misleading information, we may reject your application for restoration. You must tell us as soon as possible if any of your details change. Failure to do this could lead to suspension or removal from the register.

For more information, see:

Making a decision about your application

Once we’ve received your application, you will be allocated a case officer who will review the information you’ve provided.

The case officer will notify you through the message centre on your Social Work England online account (or by email if you have not set up an account) if we need any more documents or information. For example, in some circumstances, we may need to see evidence of your social work qualification, such as a certificate or transcript. Once you have made an application our contact centre will not be able to give you any information about the assessment of your application, you should correspond directly with your case officer.

When we request further information from you, you will have 14 (calendar) days to respond to the request. If you fail to respond to the request for further information within 14 days your application to restore will be closed and you will be asked to submit a new application.

This links to expectations laid out in our Regulations: Any person who applies to be registered, and any registered social worker, must respond as soon as possible to any request from the regulator for information or evidence relevant to their registration or their continued registration.

There may be several third parties that we will need to contact in order to make an assessment, for example previous employers or other regulators. As an applicant you are ultimately responsible to ensure that we receive the information we need in order to complete an assessment. We recommend that you contact third parties before submitting an  application to explain our requirements and that they will need to reply within 14 calendar days or the application will be closed.

If your previous registration ended because of a removal order, your application will be considered by our adjudicators and may require a hearing.

Please allow at least 20 (working) days for your restoration application to be considered. The time is likely to increase if you choose to apply by paper form, if you make safe and effective practice declarations that need to be considered, completed a period of practice overseas or if you have previously been removed from the register due to fitness to practise reasons.

We recommend that you apply to restore at least 1 month before you start to apply for social work roles.

When making a decision about your application we have 3 options. We may:

  • accept your application to restore your registration
  • reject your application to restore your registration
  • accept your application with conditions (see separate guidance on registration with conditions)

You must not carry out any work as a social worker unless your application for restoration has been accepted, you have paid your registration fee, and you’ve received written confirmation that you’ve been added to the Social Work England register.

If your application is accepted, we will inform you via your Social Work England online account (or by email if you do not have an account) and request payment of your registration fee. You will then need to pay your registration fee within 10 working days from the date of our request. If you do not pay your registration fee, your application will be closed in accordance with rule 9(3) of our Social Work England (Fees) Rules 2019. If this happens, you will need to submit a new application if you still wish to be considered for registration'.

We will not prioritise any applications due to employment start dates. It is your responsibility as an applicant to ensure that we receive all the information we need to complete our assessment of your application.

For more information, see The Social Worker Regulations 2018, reg 15(4)(a) and reg 16(2).

Appealing a decision

If we reject your application, you’re entitled to appeal this decision. The only time you cannot appeal the decision is if you did not pay the relevant fee within the required timeframe. For more information, see The Social Worker Regulations 2018, reg 19(1)(a) and 19(2).

Read more about making an appeal

Further information

For any further information or support with starting the application process, please call us on 0808 196 2274 or email us on [email protected].

Annex 1: Countries where English is the first and native language

These are the countries and territories we currently recognise as having English as their first and native language. Please note that a first and native language is different to an official language.

  • Ascension
  • Australia
  • Bermuda
  • British Antarctic Territory (BAT)
  • British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)
  • Canada
  • Falkland Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Guernsey
  • Guyana (formerly British Guiana)
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Jersey
  • New Zealand
  • Pitcairn
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus (CBA's)
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
  • St Helena
  • Tristan da Cunha
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • US Virgin Island

Caribbean Islands

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Anguilla
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Grenadines
  • Jamaica
  • Montserrat
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Island

Annex 2: Citizenship list

List of countries where for the purposes of citizenship, an applicant would not need to prove their knowledge of English:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Ireland (for citizenship only)
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • USA

Annex 3: Listed offences

1. Murder.

2. An offence under any of the following provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003(1)—
(a)section 1 (rape),
(b)section 2 (assault by penetration),
(c)sections 5 to 8 (rape and other offences against children under 13),
(d)sections 9 to 12 (child sex offences),
(e)sections 30 to 33 (offences against persons with a mental disorder impeding choice), or
(f)sections 47 to 50 (abuse of children through prostitution and pornography).

3. An offence under any of sections 9 to 12 of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005(2) (sexual services of children and child pornography).

4. An offence under any of the following provisions of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008(3)—
(a)article 5 (rape),
(b)article 6 (assault by penetration),
(c)articles 12 to 15 (rape and other offences against children under 13),
(d)articles 16 to 19 (offences against children under 16),
(e)articles 37 to 40 (abuse of children under 18 through prostitution and pornography), or
(f)articles 43 to 46 (offences against persons with a mental disorder impeding choice).

5. An offence under any of the following provisions of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009(4)—
(a)section 1 (rape),
(b)section 2 (assault by penetration),
(c)sections 3 to 6 (sexual assault and sexual coercion) committed against a person who is, by virtue of section 17 of that Act (capacity to consent: mentally disordered persons), treated as incapable of consenting,
(d)sections 18 to 26 (rape and other offences against children under 13), or
(e)sections 28 to 33 (offences against older children).

6. An offence under either of the following provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015(5)—
(a)section 1 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour), or
(b)section 2 (human trafficking).

7. An offence under either of the following provisions of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015(6)—
(a)section 1 (offence of human trafficking), or
(b)section 4 (slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour).

8. Extortion (in Scotland).

9. An offence under section 21 of the Theft Act 1968(7) (blackmail).

10. An offence under section 20 of the Theft Act (Northern Ireland) 1969(8) (blackmail).

11. An offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (sexual assault).

12. An offence under article 7 of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008 (sexual assault).

13. An offence under section 3 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (sexual assault).

Version history

Last update: 9 November 2021

  • Updated information on updating skills and knowledge, identity verification and safe and effective practice

First published: 20 December 2019

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