In December 2019, Social Work England (SWE) took over from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as the regulatory body for all social workers in England. Their aim is to collaborate with everyone involved in social work to improve standards and help ensure people across the country receive the best possible support whenever it is needed. In practice, this means some things are likely to change around how the profession is regulated. We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about the transition to SWE to help explain what to expect from the new regulator.


Q: How do I set up my online account with Social Work England?
A: If you were registered with the HCPC, you will already have an online account – all you need to do is activate it. Just go to the login page and use the email address that you previously used for the HCPC, then follow the instructions to set up your new password.


Q: Will my registration number change?
A: No – if you were registered with HCPC, you’ll keep your old registration number. There may be some slight changes to how the number appears (if you had zeros at the beginning these will be removed).


Q: I’ve been off the register for a career break. What do I need to do to rejoin?
A: You will need to refresh and update your skills and knowledge if you’ve been out of practice for 2 years or more – this means you’ll spend 30 days updating your professional knowledge through study or supervised practice. If you’ve been off the register for 5 or more years, this will double to 60 days.


Q: I’m registering for the first time, is there a discount?
A: There is no discount for initial registration. However, UK applicants also don’t have to pay a registration fee. Your fee is calculated based on how much time is left before the next registration period, so you only pay for the time you’re registered for.


Q: What are the CPD requirements like for Social Work England?
A: You can find full details on their CPD pages, but the key change to be aware of is that CPD now needs to be recorded with SWE through your online account.


Q: Why is it now a requirement to record my CPD?
A: The new registration rules state that you must keep an up to date record of your completed CPD in order to demonstrate that you meet the necessary standards. Doing this through your online account is the quickest and easiest way to keep the regulator informed of your progress.


Q: How much CPD am I expected to log?
A: There is no set minimum amount for social workers in their first year, but at least one activity would be expected. Social workers are encouraged to decide how much time to devote to CPD based on their circumstances, so there is scope for flexibility.


Q: My social work course was approved by the HCPC. Will it still be approved under Social Work England?
A: If your course met the standard for HCPC, it will still be approved by Social Work England. There are plans to re-approve courses based on SWE’s own standards from late 2020. If your course was going through the process of being approved by HCPC when the switch occurred, it will have been passed on to SWE to finish approval.


If you have a question that you don’t see answered above, you can get in touch with us via