Social Work England opens consultation on Continuing Professional Development
Regulator proposes increasing the amount of CPD required to be recorded by professionals, as four in ten social workers cite a lack of time as a barrier.
Social Work England has opened a consultation with the sector on proposed changes to its requirements for carrying out and recording Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
The proposals include increasing the number of recorded pieces of CPD a social worker is required to submit from one to two pieces.
The plans have emerged despite recently released research conducted by YouGov on behalf of Social Work England, which found that four in ten social workers (41%) say they do not have time to carry out CPD and more than a quarter (27%) think it is a ‘box-ticking exercise’. One in five social workers (18%) also reported feeling that their organisation does not provide any support to them to undertake CPD.
The regulatory body has also suggested that one of the two pieces of CPD recorded each year should be on a broad theme determined by Social Work England.
Social Work England says it will set the theme based on their “insight into social work practice, or areas of practice that have emerged as a concern through our regulatory activity,” and that the theme will have “sufficient scope” to cover professionals in a range of different practice settings.
The regulator says it also plans to simplify the CPD recording process and provide a single form, instead of the current options of the unstructured and structured form.
There are further plans to require a social worker to declare that they have discussed the impact their CPD learning has had on their practice with a manager, as part of the CPD evidencing process.
“Social workers continue to highlight to us directly, and to our independent research partners, the importance of supervision with managers and peers as they reflect on, challenge and progress through their work to support people,” Social Work England said.
The shake-up of the CPD system comes after challenges during last year’s renewal process, which meant more than a quarter of social workers were still at risk of removal with only days until the deadline.
Chief Executive of Social Work England Colum Conway said he wanted CPD to be more of an ongoing process this time around.
“It was the first year we were able to implement our new rules – so there are bits of learning from that that we will use to adjust and amend what we are doing this year to make the process as fluid and accessible as possible,” Conway told Community Care. “One of the areas around CPD is to encourage to submit CPD on an ongoing basis and not hang on until the last minute.”
The regulator also outlined plans for more “targeted sampling” when selecting which professionals’ CPD to validate, suggesting this could be “based upon insight and areas of concern that may pose a risk to public protection”. The regulator says this could include a randomised sample on a particular group of social workers, such as Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs), or social workers in a particular region, but stresses the samples would never be based on protected characteristics.
Social Work England said there will also be changes to the feedback given to those selected for validation. Where there are concerns with the social worker’s CPD, assessors will offer advice on what they should consider when undertaking and recording future CPD.
Those given advice will be asked to submit a new piece of CPD within two months, with Social Work England then deciding whether to give a conditional registration, likely requiring the social worker to complete a certain amount of CPD within a specified timeframe; or renew the social worker's registration, but have them automatically included in the validation process again at the end of the following year.
The consultation will take place over 12 weeks and the regulator says it will publish its response and updated policy in Autumn 2021, with the new requirements coming into effect from 1 December 2021.
View the changes to the CPD process in full:
To give your views to the consultation, complete the online survey:
Alternatively, you can respond via email () using ‘CPD consultation’ as the email title.
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