Strengthening Continuing Professional Development

Social Work Info Pack03Continuing professional development (CPD) is a range of learning activities through which professionals maintain and develop throughout their career to ensure that they continue to be able to practise safely, effectively, and legally, within their changing scope of practice. (check ref)

A new approach to CPD has been developed by the Social Work Reform Board based on SWTF recommendations and is now owned by The College of Social Work (TCSW).

The approach:

  • Recognises the importance of CPD in enabling all social workers, wherever they are employed to update and improve their practice in order to improve outcomes for service users and carers, and to raise the profile and reputation of the profession.
  • Is supported through the Standards for Employers which help to create workplaces where social workers will be supported to undertake CPD, providing opportunities for CPD, access to research and practice guidance.
  • Recognises that  learning can be achieved through a  range of different opportunities, including :
    • Enables and encourages social workers to take responsibility for improving their  practice over and  above threshold standards for re-registration set by HCPC.
    • E-learning, participating in research, reading about research findings, serious case reviews
    • Shadowing, direct observation
    • Professional supervision (based on Supervision framework) peer supervision, peer discussion
    • Action Learning Sets
    • Critical  reflection and  critical incident analysis;
    • In-house, external or distance learning courses provided by independent trainers or HEIs
    • Academically accredited modules/courses e.g. Masters level PQ courses

The PQ framework of courses (previously approved by the GSCC) will no longer be regulated, with the exception of training for Approved Mental Health Professionals which will be regulated by the HCPC.

The University of Bedfordshire has developed the following suite of courses at PQ level with employers and is currently seeking TCSW endorsement for these.

CPD and Re-registration with HCPC 

"Social Work" remains a protected title and all who work in that role must be registered with the HCPC. Those who wish to remain on the SW register must demonstrate their continuing professional development every 2 years by providing evidence that they have:

Maintained a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of CPD activities which

  • are a mixture of learning activities relevant to current or future practice
  • have contributed to the quality of practice and service delivery
  • have benefited the service user/carer

2.5% of the profession will have to provide detailed evidence which will be assessed by panels, composed of selected social work practitioners. 

The first re-registration for social workers based on CPD activities will take place in autumn 2014. HCPC website for registrants includes advice about how to meet their CPD standards and detailed guidance on how to write a CPD profile, including the information to include, templates to use, and examples of profiles. It also provides information about the audit and assessment process.

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