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Temporary practice policy

For people who are registered with another UK regulator and practising as social workers in England on a temporary basis.

Temporary practice policy

Last updated: 26 April 2021


Who is this policy for?

This policy is for people who are practising as social workers in England on a temporary basis, and who are registered with:

  • Social Care Wales
  • The Scottish Social Services Council
  • The Northern Ireland Social Care Council

What is the purpose of this policy?

This policy defines what is meant by ‘temporary basis’. It aims to provide:

  • adequate protection for the public
  • clarity for registered social workers on another UK social work register who wish to practise in England on a temporary basis (without registering with Social Work England).

Social workers on another UK social work register are able to practise in England on a temporary basis under Regulation 28(3) of the Social Workers Regulations 2018.

It is an offence for a person in England who is not registered with another UK social work regulator to practise in England.

Protecting the public

The ‘social worker’ title is protected in England under the Social Workers Regulations 2018. As the regulator for social workers in England, we have a duty to ensure public protection. Dealing with title misuse is an important part of this.

To ensure public confidence and to provide adequate protection for social workers, we encourage social workers from elsewhere in the UK to notify us and register with us when undertaking any forms of practice in England.

Regulation 28 of the Social Workers Regulations 2018 enables us to investigate any suspected misuse of title cases in England, including where a social worker is registered elsewhere in the UK. The phrase ‘misuse of title’ is used to refer to an individual calling themselves a social worker in England without being registered with us.

Anyone can report a concern to us. Where we receive a concern in relation to a social worker who is registered elsewhere in the UK but not in England, we will first consider whether their practice in England could be considered temporary.

Where it is established that there was a clear intent to deceive and/or we decide it is in the public interest, we will apply our prosecution policy to decide whether to take the case forward to prosecution. We will also notify the holder of the relevant register where the social worker is registered.

What do we mean by ‘temporary basis’?

‘Temporary basis’ refers to “lasting or intended to last or be used only for a short time; not permanent”. Temporary practice would not include a permanent or fixed term contract or agreement to practise social work in England. When considering whether the practice was on a temporary basis, we would consider duration, frequency, regularity and continuity.

If you intend to continue to practise in England beyond what we consider to be a temporary basis, then you are required to inform us and apply to join the register.

How we assess practice on a temporary basis

We will always assess on a case by case basis. This section provides some examples of how we may determine that a person is practising on a temporary basis.

Duration

The expected duration of the social work practice. A total period of practice in England of less than 3 months in a year, when all roles are combined, would be likely to be considered temporary practice.

Frequency

The rate of occurrence, which may be the interval between visits. We are likely to consider that a social worker undertaking 3 periods of practice over the course of a year, lasting for around 3 days each time, was practising on a temporary basis.

3 periods of 3 day’s practice across a year or less is a small proportion of available working time and would therefore be likely to be considered temporary practice.

Regularity

How regular the social work practice is and whether it is constant or at fixed intervals.

Anything irregular with no discernible pattern is likely to be considered temporary and occasional for the purposes of regularity. Any occurrences of practice that follow an obvious pattern based on a specific day of the week, date, week of the month, or other period in the year, would indicate regularity and not be likely to be considered temporary.

Continuity

Whether the practice is undertaken in a continuous period or sporadically, over a period of time.

Continuous practice for more than 3 days in a row would indicate continuity, so would be likely not to be considered temporary practice. This refers to each role undertaken separately.

Examples of temporary practice

We will look at each case individually. Here are some examples of situations where the person is practising on a temporary basis:

  • A social worker registered in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland who is supporting a family that moves across the border into England. The support should last for a short period of time, for example one piece of case work that lasts a couple of hours but frequently with the same family over a short period of time such as a month.
  • Where a social worker who holds registration with one of the other UK social work regulators works with families as part of an adoption or foster placement that takes place across the border. Their support should last for a short period of time, for example, supporting a family across the border with an adoption or foster placement for a finite length of time.
  • Where a social worker who holds registration with one of the other UK social work regulators visits a vulnerable adult who is in hospital a long way from their home.
  • Where social workers who hold registration with one of the other UK social work regulators are asked to undertake services for the shortest period across the border, in times of national emergency.

If you are unsure, please contact us for further information. If you intend to practise beyond a temporary period, then you can still apply to join the register.

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