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Regulator urges social workers to document CPD to continue practising

Social Work England is urging social workers to upload at least one piece of continuing professional development to their online account to ensure they can continue to practise.

The regulator for social workers in England has introduced a change which requires social workers to renew their registration every year between 1 September and 30 November.

Every social worker must upload at least one piece of CPD to demonstrate that they are meeting professional standards required to remain on the register. However just 17.7% of social workers have recorded CPD on their online account with just four months to go, a figure which Social Work England says is lower than it had hoped to see by now.

Sarah Blackmore, director of strategy, policy and engagement said: “We know that Covid-19 has put extra pressure on social workers, which may account for those who haven’t yet been able to submit CPD. We have been encouraged to see the number steadily rising and last week saw the largest weekly increase, with 920 people uploading CPD. Over 70% of people have already activated their online account, which is the first step.”

“But we need to see more social workers recording CPD on their Social Work England accounts. Although formal training can be an important part of learning, CPD can be any activity social workers feel would benefit their practice. We want social workers to get into the habit of recognising and recording daily experiences as CPD. Reading a piece of research, conducting an interview or writing a reflective piece about learning from challenges all count as valuable CPD, helping to raise professional standards in the sector,” she added.

Social Work England is providing increased support to social workers on CPD with a top tips guide, email newsletters and blogs. Its team of eight regional engagement leads is running online workshops throughout the summer months and it is also working with key partners, including BASW, SCIE, Cafcass, ADASS, ADCS and employers, to spread the word about the registration requirements.

Jack Skinner, a social worker at Bradford Council, said: “To date, I have uploaded four pieces of CPD to my Social Work England online account. The actual recording of CPD is a reflective exercise. Reviewing CPD entries helps me to understand how I am developing as a practitioner and what I would like to develop next.”

“My view is that CPD is whatever you interpret it as, that also meets Social Work England’s professional standards. Be creative. Think about things you do every day that you may take for granted in your job, a difficult conversation with someone, or a documentary that made you think.”

“Covid-19 has provided many opportunities to record CPD. We have had to respond to the pandemic, keep people safe and ensure we are advocating an approach that meets the demands of public health balanced with human rights,” he added.

Social Work England is the new specialist regulator for 100,000 social workers in England.


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