Update on the Registration of Social Care Workers
Update 28 May 2020
Opening of Social Care Workers Registration Board
The Social Care Workers Registration Board has decided that the opening of the Social Care Workers Register, which it had hoped to open in 2022, will now open in 2023.
While 2022 was an indicative opening date due to the complexity of the work being undertaken to implement a statutory registration process, the Board recognises that the one year deferral in opening the register will be met with disappointment by those currently working in the profession and by new entrants. The decision to defer the opening of the Register was not taken lightly and only after considerable deliberation by the Board at an emergency meeting on the 18th of May, 2020.
The deferral is regrettable but is unavoidable due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Board’s ability to continue with the approval of Social Care Professionals’ education programmes in 2020. The pandemic has resulted in the closure of Educational Institutions, the reduced availability of review teams and uncertainty of how the situation will evolve during the remainder of 2020 and the impact on programmes submitted for approval.
A vital part of assuring public protection is establishing the correct standards for education and training of the profession. The Programme Approval process is the mechanism used by the Board to establish that the correct standards for education and training of the profession are in place and that graduates meet the threshold Standards of Proficiency for the Social Care Profession. It allows the Board to approve qualification titles for listing on the Approved Qualification Bye-Law which provides a route for new entrants into the profession to register. The Board must ensure a fair, consistent and robust approach to programme approval and expects to recommence Programme Approval Activity in 2021.
There is no need for you to do anything. For existing professionals, grandparenting rules will remain the same, 2 years professional practice in the previous 5 years from the date of the Register opening. We are liaising with Educators on the deferral of programme approval and students should contact their Educator with any questions they may have regarding their course of study.
Students and those already working in the profession can also continue to check our website which we will update with any further decisions taken by the Board as they complete the necessary work in preparation for opening the Register.
Education and Training Standards for Registration
A vital part of assuring public protection is establishing the correct standards for education and training of the profession. This work is necessary as the Board cannot open register until such time as an Approved Qualification Bye-law has been set. The reason for this being that there would be no route for new entrants into the profession (Section 38 applicants) to register as they would not meet the grand parenting requirement of having practice experience (2 years in previous 5 years), as set out in legislation.
This is a significant undertaking for the Social Care Workers Registration Board given the volume of programmes currently being delivered (40 programmes delivered by 18 education providers). Given that it will require between 24 to 36 months to process applications for programme approval and make an initial Approved Qualification Bye-law, the earliest estimated date for opening the Social Care Workers Register is 2022. However, it should be noted this is an indicative date and dependent on external factors, including the number of applications received from education providers seeking programme approval and is subject to available resources.
For further information on the Board's progress in preparing for the programme approval process of social care work education programmes click here.
Preparations for opening the Social Care Workers Register
In addition, the Board are also preparing for grand parenting of existing practitioners when the register opens. This includes agreeing guidance for existing practitioners on who should come forward to register. The Board agreed that for the purposes of registration:
'Social Care Workers are professional practitioners engaged in the practice of social care work. Social care work is a relationship based approach to the purposeful planning and provision of care, protection, psychosocial support and advocacy in partnership with vulnerable individuals and groups who experience marginalisation, disadvantage or special needs. Principles of social justice and human rights are central to the practice of Social Care Workers.'
As the Board complete the necessary work in preparation for opening of their register, further information and guidance will be issued to existing practitioners (known as S91 applicants) on the routes to apply for entry to register.
Please note that the Social Care Workers Register is not yet open.