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Health Professions Council (HPC) consultation on the registration of social work students in England

Delegates register at an event - (c) Niall Kennedy

At the Health Professions Council’s (HPC) Council meeting on 10 May, the outcome of the consultation on the registration of social work students in England and the students of other professions was announced.

The HPC does not currently register the students of any of the 15 professions that it regulates. However, it is permitted to open voluntary registers for certain groups following a consultation and an assessment of the impact of regulation in terms of public protection and cost. Social work students are currently registered in England by the GSCC and by the other Care Councils in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The HPC had previously consulted the sector on student registration between 1 November 2011 and 2 March 2012. The consultation asked about the registration of social work students and the registration of students of other professions. The HPC received 126 responses to the consultation. Out of these, 48 per cent said that social work students should be registered, 21 per cent said that they should not and the rest either did not know or did not answer the question. However, of those who responded from the social care and social work sector, 89 per cent said that social work students should be registered, six per cent said that they should not and the rest either did not know or did not answer the question.

Following analysis of the consultation responses and the independent research commissioned, HPC’s Council agreed that there would not be a student register for the professions it currently regulates in the long term. Penny Thompson the GSCC expressing disappointment in the decision and saying that the GSCC would continue to work with the HPC and the Department of Health to highlight the impact of this change on public protection.

In the short term, social work students registered with the GSCC on 31 July 2012 will be transferred over to the HPC, so it is important that students keep their details up-to-date. The HPC's Council will be making a final decision on social work student registration in the coming months and they will publish the outcome of the decision and guidance for students, so keep an eye on the HPC’s website .

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According to your stats provided it is evident that the majority feel that student social workers should be included into the hpc. I feel as a student social worker that if the gscc felt we should be included so should the hpc.

Jill smith
07 Jun 2012

I feel the HPC should carefully consider the following steps in terms of student social workers registration as it will effect a great number of students entering and continuing on training programmes. As a student studying the BA social work degree, having a registration feels quite real and is one method used a preparatory method for use once in practice. With the registration I feel part more so of the profession and feel able and more confident towards my future prospects in the profession. Alongside this identity, the registration undoubtedly gives another form of protection to universities and services involved with placement learning, further to this protection to service users also, through the conduct hearings measures set by the GSCC. Hopefully further detail on this matter shall be released soon.

Mark Barlow
06 Jun 2012

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