Social work regulators protect the public by ensuring practicing social workers are fully qualified.
The four UK social work regulators are:
- Social Work England in England,
- Social Care Wales (SCW),
- Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC)
- Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
Social workers have to re-register every two years, completing post-registration training and learning to qualify.
To register, you need a social work degree (an undergraduate degree in social work, or masters in social work). As well as registering with a regulator, social work is protected by a strict professional code of practice. Read more about becoming a social worker for more information about the different routes into social work as a profession.
Social Work England carries out random audits to check social workers registered with the council are carrying out ongoing professional development. Social Work England requires social workers in England to maintain a record of any CPD activities. These activities must be relevant to current and future practice, and be proven to have contributed to quality of your work and benefits the service user. Social Work England may also request a written profile of how you’ve met the CPD standards. Visit the Social Work England website for details about how to complete and record CPD activities.
The SSSC has different post-registration training and learning (PRTL) requirements for social workers and social services workers. Visit the SSSC website for details about how to re-register and what you need to do.
The SCW requires all those registered as social workers to complete 15 days of PRTL within the three-year period of registration. Visit the SCW website for more details about how to log PRTL and re-register.
The NISCC requires social workers to complete 90 hours of training and learning over a three-year period. Find out more on the NISCC website.
In Northern Ireland, all probation officers must have a social work qualification and be registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC).
Maintaining your registration
Social workers need to re-register every two to three years to maintain high standards in their work. Re-registration requires the completion of ongoing training and learning.
BASW supports you through our Professional Development and Education (ProfDE) service and hub of searchable resources, which you can log for your Continuous Professional (CPD) or Post-Registration Training and Learning (PRTL).
The four UK regulators have different requirements and criteria across the different countries.
How to raise a concern about a social worker
People that use services, carers, employers, fellow social care workers, other professions and general public should act if they have serious concerns about a social workers standard of conduct or practice that may affect public protection or confidence in the profession.
Concerns can be raised about social workers by contacting the relevant regulator.
Find guidance on how and when to make a complaint about a worker or someone applying to register on the regulators website. For more details view the regulator pages: