We are in an ever changing situation with Covid-19. As a regulator, everything we do is focused on care. More than ever we are focused on supporting high quality standards of social work and social care for everyone who needs it.
People in our communities will rely on the skills, compassion and kindness of the social work and social care workforce over this challenging period. We want to thank everyone working on, and supporting, the frontline for their professionalism and dedication at this unprecedented time.
Like other regulators we have made some changes in how we do things and that includes our office closing to visitors and our staff working from home. From Friday 20th March 2020 the Social Care Council will be providing its services remotely. Please be assured that the Social Care Council services will continue to operate. We would ask that you check our website for regular updates and direct any enquiries to the specific email addresses on our website.
We will continue to provide our registration services via our website.
To expedite applications for registration there will be a new streamlined registration form available on the portal from Monday 23rd March.
The application fee from Monday 23rd March will be waived for 6 months for new applicants.
All individuals undertaking social work and social care roles must apply for registration.
We remind employers that applicants coming into social care roles for the first time have up to 6 months to register and can commence employment while this process is underway.
Social workers and social care workers previously registered and wishing to return to the register must be registered before commencing employment. The new application process will expedite this which includes the fee waiver.
Employers should ensure that new registrants are sufficiently inducted into their role in order to provide safe care:
We will not be removing anyone from the Register during this emergency, except where we believe there is a risk to the public or if the individual asks to be removed.
FITNESS TO PRACTISE
The safety and wellbeing of people who use services remains our priority. During this period we will focus specifically on high risk concerns that are raised with us. We will, where it is safe to do so, postpone fitness to practise final hearings, however we will continue to take forward cases where we believe people pose a risk and if necessary suspend them from working in the sector. During COVID 19 we will be holding hearings remotely using videoconferencing and teleconferencing and will support registrants to participate.
SUPPORTING THE WORKFORCE
It is important during COVID 19 that social workers and social care workers are supported to maintain high quality standards of practice. Support will come from a range of sources including employers, colleagues, education and training providers and from across the wider health care sector.
At the Social Care Council we are committed to supporting our registrants and will continue to provide and develop targeted learning resources during this period. We have postponed all learning events in line with Public Health guidance until further notice. In the meantime we encourage our registrants and employers to use and share our free open access digital Learning Zone resources via our website.
In addition our Workforce Development Team of Professional Advisors will be working directly with employers to provide support and guidance to enable more people to deliver frontline services quickly, safely and to high standards.
If you require any further information you should view our website which will be regularly updated.
Our information and services will be reviewed and updated as the Department of Health, NI Assembly and UK Governments make new announcements and we will be responding with agility to what is a fast-moving situation.
In the meantime we are grateful and deeply humbled by how the social work and social care workforce along with our health care colleagues are working together to provide the highest standards of care.