Since 2012 the HCPC has been responsible for the regulation of England’s 100,000 social workers, ensuring continuing professional development, regulating social work education providers and handling fitness to practise concerns.
With social workers in Wales already been regulated by Social Care Wales, 2 December 2019 will see the registration of all social workers registered in England automatically transferred to Social Work England which will be taking over the functions previously carried out by the HCPC.
At Burton Copeland, we act for Social Workers registered in both England and Wales, when they face an investigation by the HCPC or Social Care Wales. When the transfer to Social Work England takes place, we will continue to offer advice and representation to those social workers facing investigation into fitness to practise concerns brought by this new regulator.
Social workers – what do you need to know?
The registration of all social workers in England will automatically be transferred from the HCPC to Social Work England but you must ensure that your registered contact details are up to date. If they are not, then you should take steps to update your personal information with the HCPC prior to 2 December 2019.
If you are a social worker seeking to register between now and 2 December 2019 you should continue to make your application to the HCPC as any “in progress” applications will be transferred to Social Work England from the HCPC.
Following the transfer to Social Work England, all social workers will receive an email from Social Work England with instructions on how to set up their online account. Once set up social workers will be able to see all personal information relating to them and will also be able to upload CPD, communicate via a secure portal with Social Work England and update their personal information such as addresses and contact telephone numbers etc.
So what if a social worker is already under investigation at the time of transfer to Social Work England? There are currently 1476 fitness to practise cases open with the HCPC, all of which will be transferred to Social Work England if they are not concluded by 2 December 2019. This includes those cases where there is an interim order in place.
Social Work England will make contact with the social workers involved in these cases.
A spokesperson for the HCPC has stated “Our fitness to practise teams are working together and we are already in the process of handing over cases which have gone through our investigating committee and whose hearings cannot take place until after the transfer.”
At present, the HCPC is communicating with Social Work England’s new fitness to practise team in order to ensure the smooth transition of the procedures after the transition on 2 December 2019.
Social work education providers – what do you need to know?
For new programmes of study, not yet in place, providers are already working with Social Work England, despite the formal transition not taking place until 2 December 2019.
In addition, providers of social work education programmes who wish to make major changes to programmes already running will need to liaise with Social Work England from this month.
However, those providers where existing programmes are up and running with no major changes planned will continue to be regulated by the HCPC until 2 December 2019 when these responsibilities will pass to Social Work England.
Let us help
If you are a social worker confused by the changes being made in relation to the transfer of the regulation of social workers in England from the HCPC to Social Work England, we, the Professional Discipline team here at Burton Copeland, can help.
We assist all social workers in England and Wales in relation to the differences between the regulators, registration with the regulator, fitness to practise investigations and hearings, criminal investigations and internal disciplinary investigations.
Please give us a call on 0161 827 9500 – we can help!