Social Work Registration in the UK

06 Jan

I was asked a question and as it seemed it would be relevant to a number of people, I got in touch with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and posed the question to them.

In essence the question was whether or not, with valid experience but a qualification/degree in something other than Social Work, would it be possible to practice as a Social Worker here. As the HCPC covers England, I am assuming their response only covers this area. If you are looking for how to practice in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland you will have to get in touch with the regulatory boards there. Their information can be found here:

So following is the response from HCPC regarding practice in the UK. My suggestion is, if you have relevant experience in Social Work or Social Services and are thinking about moving over, go visit here and record your experience (actually write down how your experience meets each standard). If you find that with your experience and education you meet the standards, I would follow the below and put in an application.

If you wish to practise within the UK using a protected title, you will
need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). For a
full list of titles that we protect and professions that we regulate,
please see our website:

To apply as an international applicant, please complete the international
application form. You will need to have completed a qualification or gained
experience outside of the UK to be able to apply via this route. The form
can be downloaded from our website at

Please complete all the relevant details, ensuring to include all requested
supporting documentation and payment. The non-refundable scrutiny fee for
international applicants is £420. We need this fee to assess your
application. If your application is successful you will be registered to
work in the UK in your specified field.

If English is not your first language (your main language or the language
you use every day) then you will need to complete an English Proficiency
exam. If you are a citizen from the European Economic Area (EU + Norway,
Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein), you are exempt from this exam.  For
further information please follow this link

You may wish to register temporarily and you can do this if you are
established elsewhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
Temporary registration applies to those applicants who wish to provide
professional services in the UK on a temporary and occasional basis.
Initial registration will be one year in duration and may be renewed
annually.  There is no fee for this route, but you can only practise in the
UK using the title as it appears in your member state. You cannot apply for
temporary and international registration at the same time.  To find out
more about temporary registration, please visit our website at

We cannot advise your chances of successful registration because
applications are assessed on an individual basis. In order to be registered
you will need to meet the UK Standards of Proficiency and I recommend you
read these to ascertain you best chances of success – If your application is not
accepted we will write to you asking for further verification. Our
assessors will inform you of the standards that you have not met and ask
you to provide further information about why you meet these standards. If
you are unable to provide satisfactory further information, you may be
invited to attend a test of competence, where your skills will be assessed

All applicants applying for registration via the international route will
be subject to background checking of their identity, qualifications and
employment history before they are allowed to join the Register. Rule 5(1)
of the Health and Care Professions Council (Registration and Fees) Rules
2003 authorises the HCPC to seek additional information about a
registration applicant from any person or source it considers appropriate,
for the purposes of satisfying itself as to the good character of the
applicant. This may involve us contacting competent authorities and / or
professional bodies, education providers and past employers in order for
them to verify the information you have provided as part of your
application. We may also employ an outside agency to conduct these checks
on our behalf.

We will endeavour to complete an initial assessment of your application
within 16 weeks of receipt. However, if further checks are needed or we do
not receive the information we require, this may take longer. We will
contact you if we require any additional information from you. Please note
that we cannot guarantee the outcome of an application and applicants are
advised not to make arrangements that are reliant on you being registered
(e.g. starting a job). Applicants who choose to make travel or work
arrangements before knowing the outcome of their application do so at their
own risk.

Hope fully this is helpful to anyone considering making the move. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I will do my best to be helpful.



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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Social Work Practice


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