HCPC registration for social workers

What is HCPC?

HCPC stands for Health and Care Professionals Council. It was created to monitor and maintain a register of health and care professionals to ensure that we all meet the set requirements and standards to practice effectively and safely.

Social workers used to be registered with GSCC (General Social Care Council) which was abolished in 2012 and the regulation was transferred to HCPC.

Essentially it is a list of health and care professionals that can be checked and searched by any member of the public. Every social worker in the UK will need to be registered with the HCPC to be able to practice.  HCPC have a list of standards that we need to abide to as social workers.


I have had time off from social work what do I need to do?

I have had two types of people who have contacted me with regards to this:

  1. Social workers who have previously been registered but have had some time off. This has usually been down to them going travelling, having an extended maternity or just needing to have a break.
  2. Newly qualified social workers who had time off after getting their degree. Again, some have had other plans and did not want to start immediately. Many of my contacts were not aware that if they had time off at the start that it could require them to do additional things later down the line. I also know of may newly qualified social workers that had time off and then have struggled to get a job after this.


Re-admission with HCPC

If you have been registered with HCPC within the last two years you can apply through the re-admission process.  Please note that there are set requirements to ensure that you have updated your skills and knowledge before this can happen.  I explain this in further detail shortly.

Historical qualification

If you have had your qualification for more than five years and have not ever been registered before this is then classed as a historical qualification.


Re-registering criteria;

  • If you have never been registered
  • If you have never practiced and worked as a social worker
  • You have not practiced within 2 years but have a qualification which is 5 years or older

Timescales for re-registering

  1. 0-2 years If it has been under 2 years since you first qualified or you stopped practicing as a social worker you are still able to register with HCPC without any further evidence or training
  2. 2-5 years If it has been between 2-5 years you will need to evidence 30 days where you have updated your skills and knowledge to enhance your practice. This will need to be completed before you apply for your registration.
  3. 5 years+ If you have not been registered within 5 years or over you will need to evidence 60 days where you have updated your skills and knowledge to enhance your practice. Again, this will need to be before you apply for your registration.



How do I update my skills and knowledge?

First of all it is important to note that 1 day needs to be equivalent to 7 hours. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have frontline experience you can also use the following;

  • education/ training
  • management or research
  • voluntary work
  • people working in a role related to social work
  • formal study (provided by a person or organisation
  • private study- can also include shadowing experience (the total days claimed within private study cannot be more than half the amount of the required days)


How much does is cost for your HCPC registration?

If you have an approved qualification you need to pay;

  • A one of fee of £63-for the administration costs
  • And every two years £180 registration fee (this is half the amount if you qualified within two years from a UK approved course).


How do I get registered with HCPC?

You need to follow the registration process on their website which includes completing a professional declaration and paying the above fee. After this you will be provided with a certificate and a card evidencing your registration.  You will then be added to the register and will have a registration number then you can start practicing as a social worker. This is normally processed around 10 working days. There is an option to request a paper application however, this will take longer and cause additional delay.

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