Rules and requirements in England for returning to social work after a career break

Social Work Today outlines how former social workers in England can get back into the profession after time away from the register.

There are many reasons why people take breaks from a career in social work. As social work is a protected title, if you are looking to return to the profession in England after a break, there are certain stipulations you will need to be aware of.

Returning to the register
The first step is to return to the social work register. Returning to the register is known as restoration. To apply for restoration, you must have been previously registered with either Social Work England or the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). This includes those who were previously registered to practise as a social worker in England, but then went on to practise outside the country.

Evidence
As part of the application process to return to the social work register, you may need to provide evidence of your:
• Identity
• Social work qualifications
• Knowledge of English
• Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Levels of training
You may also have to update your skills and knowledge, depending on the length of your career break. Updating your skills and knowledge is defined by Social Work England as “formal study, private study, or supervised practice”. There are no specific requirements for social workers who have only been away for less than two years.

Between two and five years
Social workers who have been away between two to five years are required to show proof of having spent at least 30 days updating their skills and knowledge of the sector.

More than five years
Practitioners who have been away from social work for more than five years are required to complete at least 60 days of updating your skills and knowledge to show that you are now up to date with the current trends and issues within the sector.

How much does it cost?
The fee to apply for re-registration for Social Work England is currently £135, which is non-refundable even if your application is declined. If the application is then accepted, there is a registration fee of £90. Once this is cleared, you will be added to the register within the next ten working days.

What if I have worked outside England?
If you have been practising outside England, you may not have to complete the skills and knowledge update. However, you will still have to provide evidence of CPD for the years you have been working outside England, as well as evidence of your general practice.

What if I was removed from the register?
If you were previously removed from the register for a certain amount of time, then you can apply for restoration after that time has passed.

Return to Social Work
Return to Social Work is a selective programme run by the Local Government Association (LGA), which offers free training to former social workers. You can receive high-quality training through a combination of work placements, coaching, and help with interview preparation. They offer both 30- and 60-days’ worth of training, depending on how long you have been out of the profession.

The applications for 2020 close on 31 March and will open again for 2021 later this year. Following a successful application, there is a video interview and a case study assessment to complete in April 2020. Formal confirmation of who has been accepted onto the programme will be on 5 May 2020.

To find out more about Return to Social Work, visit
www.local.gov.uk/return-to-social-work

To find out more about the requirements elsewhere in the UK, visit:
www.niscc.info/social-worker (N Ireland)
www.socialcare.wales/registration (Wales)
www.sssc.uk.com/registration (Scotland)

To find out more about Return to Social Work, visit
www.local.gov.uk/return-to-social-work

To find out more about the requirements elsewhere in the UK, visit:
www.niscc.info/social-worker (N Ireland)
www.socialcare.wales/registration (Wales)
www.sssc.uk.com/registration (Scotland)

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