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Unison Briefing for Social Workers

UNISON briefing for registered social workers in ENGLAND


August 2014 


In the summer of 2012 the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) took over responsibility for registering social workers in England.

HCPC operates a two-yearly registration renewal cycle for all the professions it regulates. Social workers have to renew their registration by the end of November 2014 in order to continue to practise.


What do you need to do when?

Between now and 1st September

  1. Make sure HCPC has up-to-date contact details for you.
  2. Look out for your letter from HCPC at the beginning of September with further information about renewing. If you haven’t previously activated an on-line account, they will send you an activation code. You will also get an authentication code sent to you by post.
  3. Look out for a letter about CPD audit with your renewal notice. They will randomly select 5% of registrants to take part in a CPD audit. If this is you, you will need to check your CPD portfolio or record is up-to-date and that you’ve got a note of all the CPD activities you’ve completed over the last two years. (Only those with two years on the register will be audited). See below for more on CPD audit
  4. The ‘window’ for renewing your registration opens on 1st September and closes on 30th November 2014.


Between 1st September and 30th November 

  1. Make sure you are familiar with the standards (proficiency; performance, conduct and ethics; CPD) that the HCPC operates as you will have to complete a professional declaration committing yourself to continue to meet them.
  2. Consider if there is anything else you need to disclose such as a conviction, caution or health condition that will affect your ability to practise safely and effectively.
  3. Choose your payment option. If you have already set up a direct debit instruction for HCPC this will be indicated on your registration form and you can use this.
  4. Your renewal is only complete once you have signed the declaration and made your payment. If you use the paper rather than on-line renewal option you’ll need to allow at least five working days for postage before the deadline.


How much does it cost?

The fee is £160 for two years. HCPC has increased the fees since the last time you registered despite strong objections from UNISON about the fact that your pay has not increased in real terms over the same period! 

If you are newly qualified you get a 50% reduction.


Help with the cost

  • The HCPC offers a direct debit option to spread the cost of the two-year registration period into four instalments.
  • Check whether your authority operates any reimbursement scheme – many UNISON branches have tried to get reimbursement agreements with their employers.
  • Claim your tax relief! HCPC says that nearly 50% of their registrants were not aware of the tax relief available to them. If you are a standard rate taxpayer you will get £16 a year tax relief off your £80 annual fee. See for more information on how to do this.


What happens if you miss the deadline?

HCPC will start steps to remove you from the Register and will inform your employer. If this happens you will not be able to practise using the title ‘social worker’ and you will have to apply for re-admission to get back on the Register. If you do that within one month of receiving the readmission form you will not be charged a readmission fee but you will not be able to practise until you complete the process. If it goes longer than one month there is readmission fee of £280 

So don’t miss the deadline – as it could cost you!

Visit  for more information on renewal.


CPD audit – sounds scary, what does it involve?

All social workers should keep their own personal record of CPD activities. Most social workers will simply have to declare at renewal that they continue to meet the requirements. There is no requirement to have your CPD record signed off by a manager.


But a lucky (or unlucky!) few – 25 in every 1,000 social workers – will be audited. If this is you, you will be notified along with your renewal forms. 

You will be sent a profile to complete and this will be assessed by a CPD assessor.

On the profile form you to show that you have kept your CPD records up-to-date and accurate. You also have to show that you have undertaken a variety (at least three) different types of learning from the following: work-based learning; professional activities; formal/educational courses/conferences; self-directed learning; ‘other’ e.g. relevant voluntary or civic duties. You also have to show that what you have done is relevant to your current practice or future plans for practice, and that you have tried to ensure it contributes to the quality of your practice to the benefit of service users.

When you fill in the profile, HCPC advise that if you have 3 or more consecutive months where you have not recorded any CPD activity, you should include an explanation of this gap (e.g. maternity, sick leave).  You will have to provide a short summary of all your CPD activities over the last two years. And you will then have to write a personal statement where you can choose 4 or 5 of these and reflect on what you have learnt from them and how they benefited your practice. There is a maximum of 2,000 words for the profile.

There is no requirement for anyone to sign off your profile. It will be assessed by a HCPC assessor. If they need further information they will let you know. Further information on CPD is available at

You can find some sample CPD profiles for social work at



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