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Social Workers registered with other UK regulators who are working in NI on a temporary or occasional basis

Social Work Temporary Practice

Social Workers who are registered with other UK Regulators may occasionally need to practice on a temporary basis in Northern Ireland.

What do we mean by ‘temporary basis’?

‘Temporary basis’ refers to “lasting or intended to last or be used only for a short time; not permanent”. Temporary practice would not include a permanent or fixed term contract or agreement to practise social work in Northern Ireland. When considering whether the practice was on a temporary basis, we would consider duration, frequency, regularity and continuity.

Definition of ‘temporary’ Practice

The following factors will determine whether practice can be considered as temporary:

– Duration

A total period of practice in Northern Ireland of less than 3 months in a year, when all roles are combined, would be likely to be considered temporary practice.

– Frequency

The rate of occurrence, which may be the interval between visits. A social worker undertaking 3 periods of practice over the course of a year, lasting for around 3 days each time, is likely to be considered as practicing on a temporary basis.

– Regularity

Anything irregular with no discernible pattern is likely to be considered temporary and occasional for the purposes of regularity. However, occurrences of practice that follow an obvious pattern based on a specific day of the week, date, week of the month, or other period in the year, would indicate regularity and not be likely to be considered temporary. Likewise, continuous practice for more than 3 days in a row would indicate continuity, so would be likely not to be considered temporary practice. This refers to each role undertaken separately.

Protecting the public

The ‘social worker’ title is protected in Northern Ireland under the Health and Personal Social Services Act (NI) 2001. As the regulator for social workers in Northern Ireland, we have a duty to ensure public protection.

To ensure public confidence and to provide adequate protection for social workers, we ask social workers from elsewhere in the UK to notify us when undertaking any forms of temporary practice in Northern Ireland.

Where we receive a report of a concern in relation to a social worker who is primarily registered elsewhere in the UK and listed on our Temporary Register, we will notify the primary regulator.  Should it be established that there was a clear intent to deceive and/or we decide it is in the public interest, we will apply our Fitness to Practice policy to determine whether investigation by us is appropriate.

Registering as a temporary social worker in Northern Ireland

If you are required to undertake a period of temporary practice in Northern Ireland you must email your request to

We will then send you a link to complete a short online application which we will use to verify your registration with your primary regulator in England, Scotland or Wales.

You will be listed on our temporary Register and there is no fee associated with this application.

If you intend to continue to practise in Northern Ireland beyond what we consider to be a temporary basis, then you are required to inform us and apply to register having created an online portal account here.