1. What must we do as an employer to support staff to achieve registration?
It is the responsibility of an applicant to make an application to register. An applicant to the register will be required to provide evidence of engagement in the practice of the profession for a minimum of two years out of five on the date of application. As an employer you may be requested by an applicant to complete a Proof of Professional Employment Form. The applicant is responsible for submitting this form to CORU.
An employer may be requested by an applicant to provide an opinion attesting to their competence to practise in the profession if they do not have a relevant qualification. This is called an Employer Opinion of Competence Form. However, an employer is not required to provide an opinion of competence. An applicant who does not hold a relevant qualification may undertake an Assessment of Professional Competence (AoPC) as a route to register instead. Please see further information as outlined here.
2. What if I am asked to provide a written opinion of competence by an employee, or former employee?
A written opinion of an employer attesting to the applicant’s competence in the practice of the profession is an additional route for current practitioners of social care work to apply to the register. It is the decision of an employer, or former employer, on request by an applicant, to provide a written opinion to the applicant as to their competence in the practice of the social care worker profession. You are being asked to give your opinion as to whether the applicant meets the Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers.
An opinion is only valid in circumstances where the Employer has adhered to Council Assessment Guidelines. An employer if satisfied as to the person’s competence to practise in the profession, must complete opinion of competence forms which include a statutory declaration that must be signed by the employer. The applicant is responsible for submission of these forms to CORU. The Registration Board has the right to verify or to ask an employer providing an opinion to verify any information contained in the forms or to ask me to supply additional information.
3. What should an employer consider if asked to provide an opinion of competence?
An employer should satisfy himself or herself, that the applicant meets the Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers. In forming an opinion of competency, an employer must take account of the required Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers under the following domains of practice:
- Professional Autonomy and Accountability
- Communication, Collaboration and Team working
- Safety and Quality
- Professional Development
- Professional Knowledge and Skills
In forming an opinion, the employer should be satisfied that the applicant demonstrates competence in all standards of proficiency in all domains of practice of the profession. An opinion is not valid unless the employer concerned has, in forming that opinion, taken account of these assessment guidelines.
An employer should not provide an opinion unless he or she is satisfied, having regard to a minimum employment period of 6 months, that he/she is in a position to form a proper assessment of the applicant’s competence in practice of the profession. In forming an opinion, the employer, should consider the most appropriate manner to assess the professional knowledge, skills, competencies and professional qualities of the applicant.
4. What if I do not have direct experience of the employee’s practice in the profession?
If an employer is unable to form a proper view on the competence of the applicant, the employer may rely on other individuals such as manager’s/team leaders as appropriate, who are in a position to assess the applicant standards of proficiency in the profession, and provide the employer with a written report, and the relevant methodology and outcomes applied by that manager or team leader, prior to providing a written opinion of competence.
5. Concerning the Standard of Proficiency, if current staff have a gap, how can employers fill the competency gap, e.g., by providing training?
The Standards of Proficiency are the threshold standards required for public protection. If in assessing the proficiencies of an applicant to the register, an employer identifies a deficit, this should be addressed in advance of forming an opinion of competence. The employer will be best placed to determine how this deficit could be addressed, but may consider, supervision, training, review of policies/procedures, work shadowing, peer support or any other appropriate learning opportunity to address the gap in knowledge or skills.
6. Can CORU advise on a student placement policy? How should employers support new social care worker students post 2025?