social workers: the move from the health and care professions council to social work england

As social workers in England and Wales, you will be ware that you currently have to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (“HCPC”) as your regulatory body before you can practise. Prior to the HCPC becoming the regulator for social workers, social workers were all required to register with the General Social Care Council (“GSCC”) until 2012 when the move to the HCPC took place. When this move took place it cost £17 million and took two full years.

Who is the regulator for social workers?

Soon, the HCPC will no longer be the regulator for social workers in England and Wales. Instead, social workers practising in England will be required to register with their new regulatory body, Social Work England. This change in regulator was expected to have been completed by September 2018 at a cost of £16 million.

The difference between this move and the move from the GSCC to the HCPC is that this time social workers will have to register with an entirely new regulatory body with rules and regulations designed specifically with social work in mind. Back in 2012 social workers had to transfer to the HCPC which was an already established regulatory body with its own rules and regulations. It is therefore anticipated that the transition to Social Work England will be a much smoother transfer process.

However, this move has not been without its problems to date and news out today suggests that delays to this move of regulatory body are going to be unavoidable.

Why do these things take so long? Perhaps sufficient time was not afforded to this move in the first place and the government was too ambitious in thinking this could all be completed by September 2018.

With Brexit looming, government officials do not have the time to deal with the move from the HCPC to Social Care England, with the risk of Brexit having an impact on this going from low to high.

But what does the government have to do with this? Good question. The government has to draft and effectively set the secondary legislation required for Social Care England’s work and it would appear that there is simply not enough time to get this done.

The Professional Standards Authority, known as the regulator or regulators, has already expressed its concerns that a new, separate regulatory body for social workers is to be created which it believes is outwith wider government policy that aims to consolidate and therefore reduce the number of health and care regulators.

Will social workers in England soon be registering with Social Work England

So, let’s watch this space. Will social workers in England soon be registering with Social Work England or will the HCPC remain the governing body for this profession? Only time will tell but we don’t think this is something that will happen in the immediate future as our government simply has bigger things to worry about at present.

Charlotte Ellis - Burton Copeland

Charlotte is a solicitor in the expert regulatory department at Burton Copeland. Based in Manchester but providing advice to individuals and corporate bodies throughout the country. Find more about the team here or read more about Charlotte and her experience on her profile page.

If you are a social worker and are facing an investigation by either your employer or the HCPC please fill out our contact form or call us now on 0161 827 9500.