Since 2005, all social workers in England have been registered with the GSCC, to raise professional standards and increase public protection. Student social workers are also now registered. It is now planned to extend the benefits of a well-trained and regulated workforce to more of the 1.6 million people who use social care services.
GSCC chair Rodney Brooke said: 'We are delighted that we are now in a position to propose to government the next steps for the regulation of the social care workforce. We believe that this extension of registration will continue to drive up standards within the social care sector, whilst increasing public protection.
'We are grateful for all those who took part in our consultation and overwhelming support for registration. As a result, we're building for a bright future and we look forward to further dialogue with government about how best to achieve the registration of domiciliary and residential social care workers.
'We believe that the registration of domiciliary and residential social care workers will complement CSCI's regulation of services by developing a direct relationship with the individual worker which will support the provision of high quality services for all.'
1. The General Social Care Council came into being on 1 October 2001. It was set up in England under the Care Standards Act 2000 to establish codes of conduct and practice for social care workers and employers, to set up a register of social care workers and to regulate social work education and training. Similar bodies exist in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
2. The council has a majority of lay members who have experience across the spectrum of social care, whether as service users, carers, or service providers from the public, private or voluntary sectors. By law, the chair must be lay. The council determines the strategic direction of the GSCC.
3. All social care workers are already required to abide by the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers and their Employers. The codes of practice are issued by the GSCC and all social care workers should have their own copy. The Commission for Social Care Inspection take account of this in their inspections.
4. The Social Care Register opened toall qualified social workers on 1 April 2003 and Protection of title came into force on 1 April 2005. Protection of title is a legal restriction which means that only Registered Social Workers are able to describe themselves as social workers. Calling yourself a social worker with intent to deceive is a criminal offence.
5. The council of the GSCC have approved the use of national induction standards already developed and implemented by Skills for Care and the Children's Workforce Development Council, who will pilot their own induction standards in social care settings in September 2006.
6. Domiciliary and residential social care workers will be required to complete thirty days of post-registration training and learning over a six-year registration period. Workers without a recognised qualification in care on entry to the social care register must gain a relevant qualification for their role within the first period of registration.
7. Entry to the register will be through a competence requirement at the level of induction standards contained in the National Minimum Standards. This measure is intended to bring consistency of standards to the sector and to service users. Applicants will initially apply to be registered for a six year period and thereafter renewal of registration every three years.