Update on the Registration of Social Care Workers

The Social Care Workers Registration Board was established in March 2015. From its establishment the Board recognised the significant scope of work to be undertaken in order to open its register. Unlike other professions regulated by CORU to date, social care workers had not been subject to external regulation to date. As a result, the Board were required to undertake the necessary foundational work to implement statutory regulation for social care workers. The importance of this preparatory work is essential to set the correct standards and assure protection of the public.

The Board have made substantial progress since then, including;

  • Undertaking extensive research, discussion and consultation on processes to open the register for social care workers, including scoping of the social care work sector
  • Developing guidance on what it means to be ‘engaged in the practice’ of social care work
  • Setting the Criteria for Education and Training Providers and Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers
  • Engagement and communication with education providers, unions, professional body and employer groups
  • Researching  the historical or legacy qualifications of existing practitioners in preparation for grand parenting
  • Facilitating information events for social care work education providers on CORU’s programme approval process.

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.