The General Social Care Council (GSCC) is the regulator of the social work profession and social work education in England. The GSCC aims to protect the public by requiring high standards of education, conduct and practice of all social workers. Social workers work with some of the most vulnerable people in society, so it is vital that only those who are properly trained and committed to high standards practise social work.

The GSSC maintains a compulsory register of social workers and issuing and enforcing the codes of practice for the profession. The codes of practice set out the standards of professional conduct and practice required by social workers as they go about their daily work. They are intended to ensure that employers, colleagues, service users, carers and members of the public know what standards they can expect from registered social workers. For more information on the GSSC or to check the register, please visit

Registration responsibility falls with the Health Professionals Council -

Continuing Professional Development

Qualified social workers

In April 2005, protection of title was introduced in England for social workers, which will mean that it will be an offence for staff to describe themselves as social workers, with intent to deceive, if they are not registered with one of the four care councils in the UK. Post-registration training and learning (CPD) is a key condition for continued registration.

The GSCC registration rules specify the post-registration training and learning requirements that all registered social workers must meet. The rules state that:

  • Every social worker registered with the GSCC shall, within the period of registration, complete either 90 hours or 15 days of study, training, courses, seminars, reading, teaching or other activities which could reasonably be expected to advance the social worker's professional development or contribute to the development of the profession as a whole
  • Every social worker registered with the GSCC shall keep a record of post-registration training and learning undertaken
  • Failure to meet these conditions may be considered misconduct

What sort of post-registration training and learning activities should staff undertake?

There are many ways to continue to learn and develop as a social worker so the GSCC have deliberately avoided being too specific about the type of activities which will meet post-registration requirements. The expectation is that staff will choose training and learning activities that:

  • Will benefit current employment
  • Will benefit career progression reflects preferred learning style
  • Make the most of the learning opportunities available to form part of wider professional development

For example, staff may wish to:

  • Arrange to shadow the work of a colleague in a related team or profession
  • Negotiate protected time to research latest policy and good practice developments in their field of practice
  • Undertake a piece of research related to their practice

Line manager's role

It is important that staff and their line managers discuss and plan, during the annual appraisal and supervisions, how they will meet their training and learning requirements to:

  • Identify areas for personal development
  • Identify training and learning needs
  • Develop training and learning plan monitor training and learning plan and make changes

For more information or assistance with your CPD requirements, please contact Kath Gordon.

The registration of social workers is the responsibility of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The Social Work Reform Board (SWRB) is working with social workers, employers, universities and the college to establish a new CPD framework which will support social workers:

  • To maintain and develop minimum standards for re-registration set by the regulatory body, (the Health and Care Professions Council) and
  • To take professional responsibility for further developing their professional skills by undertaking learning and development activities over and above the minimum required for re-registration.

The page was last updated on 25 April 2017 by andrea.bateman.


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