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CPD Solutions

“Continuing Professional Development is an on-going, planned learning and development process, which improves practice, contributes to lifelong learning and enables career progression,” says the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).

Very often, as social workers, we undertake CPD in our everyday roles naturally. But such is the fast paced nature of social work, we can often fall into the trap of not recording these learning opportunities which can then make the re-registration in November a stressful procedure.

Here are some top tips to make the CPD process simpler.

  1. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Re-registration takes place between 1 September and 30 November every year. But by 2 November 2021, only 50% of social workers had renewed their registration. This places Social Work England under greater pressure to process applications before the deadline and anybody who wants to remain on the register but who hasn’t completed the online renewal form, including uploading CPD and paying the fee, by 30 November, will be required to complete a restoration application, with a fee of £135 to cover processing.

  2. Get ahead of the game. Plan your CPD now, particularly if you know you have a ‘quieter’ period coming up or at least plan around busy times. By planning what you are going to do and when reaffirms a commitment to your CPD and you will be confident that you will at least have one piece of CPD under your belt before registration. Remember to block out enough time for the actual CPD and writing your learning outcomes up in the format required by Social Work England .

  3. Often, it is assumed that CPD has to be a training course, but Social Work England states that although formal training can be an important aspect of learning, CPD can be any activity you feel would benefit you and your practice.

Types of CPD include:

  • On the job learning/experience
  • Learning from a case
  • Self-directed learning (for example listening to a podcast or reading a journal article)
  • Feedback from a person with lived experience of social work or colleague
  • Working towards a formal qualification or certification
  • Supervision
  • Training session
  • Conference, seminar or event
  • Lecturing, teaching or research
  • leadership, management or mentoring
  • Personal lived experience

Social Work England states: “We encourage you to think creatively about your learning, including the things you’re already doing in your role and outside of work. The important thing is that your learning is relevant to you.” There are different types of CPD here.

4) Don’t see CPD as tokenistic. While SWE states that you have to submit one piece of CPD in order to re-register, it should be an ongoing part of learning and developing. Social workers should be receiving regular supervision which counts towards CPD and so theoretically, each session can be counted as a part of CPD so ensure you have allocated time to document your learning. Think about how you can encompass CPD into your every day roles and it soon becomes second nature and will help you to develop your practice.

5) Make the most of training opportunities. While CPD doesn’t have to encompass training, attending a course can be a structured way of undertaking CPD. While pre-pandemic, attending a course could mean a whole day out of the office and travelling, many courses are online which can make it easier time wise to attend. Make sure the topic is a theme you are interested in and relevant to your learning and research opportunities to attend training events or seminars.

6) Get your team on board. Next time you are in a team meeting, ask your colleagues if there are areas of learning they would like to enhance. It may be that there is a specific area that a few of you would like to find out more about. It could be that you are seeing a rise in vulnerable teenagers being targeted for county lines activity and want to find out more about how to work with teenagers at risk. Or you could be witnessing a rise in concerns from affluent parents who are struggling with parenting, as the Commission for Young Lives has recently found. If you have a common goal, the team may benefit from bespoke training on a specific area which you can then look at arranging.

7) Speak to your manager. If you are at a loss as to what you can do in terms of your CPD, ask your manager the next time you have a 1:1 with them as they may have suggestions for areas of learning which may be beneficial to you.

8) Let us help! WillisPalmer has a range of resources which can help you with your CPD. Our Children First monthly online publication and weekly shorter version Children First Take 10 brings you up to speed on the latest developments in the children’s services sector in terms of legislation changes, policy developments and practice implications. For those of you interested in Child Abuse Litigation, we also produce a bi-monthly Litigation News First newsletter, all of which you can sign up to free of charge.

Each month we hold a Virtual Drop In for our registered expert social workers and during Social Work Week, we opened up the invite to all social workers to attend a Virtual Session on our #Respect4SocialWork campaign and we plan to hold similar events going forwards.

WillisPalmer also runs a number of training courses which may be of interest to you and we also work closely with Sarah Lowe who founded ParentAssess, a framework for assessing parents with additional needs and can provide you with further information on ParentAssess courses. Finally, we can create bespoke training courses tailored to the needs of your team.

If you have any questions about WillisPalmer’s CPD resources email

Working Together For Children

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