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Social care's workforce regulator has welcomed the focus on ...
Social care's workforce regulator has welcomed the focus on

registration of social care workers to protect older people from

abuse, by a Parliamentary Committee in a report (available here).

As the regulator of the social care workforce in England, the General

Social Care Council is responsible for the registration of social

care workers and promoting high standards in the workforce for public


The Health Select Committee's report recommended that domiciliary and

other social care workers should be registered 'as a matter of the

utmost urgency' to reduce the risk to service users from a small

minority of abusive care workers.

The GSCC has already issued the first ever national codes of practice

setting out the standards expected of the workforce and their

employers, to nearly one and a half million people in the sector.

Commenting on the report, GSCC chief executive Lynne Berry said:

'Abuse of older people or other service users by the people paid to

care for them cannot be tolerated. To safeguard service users, we

need to drive out untrained, unchecked and unsuitable people from

holding a social care worker's responsibilities.

'We are pleased the committee recognised registration as central to

ensuring service users receive care from properly trained and checked

workers, committed to high standards and accountable for their


'The GSCC's own risk assessment found that service users in their own

home or using outreach services were particularly vulnerable. This

will be key to informing our approach to rolling out registration to

other care workers.'

The GSCC will be consulting the sector and users of services on the

next priorities for registration after qualified social workers, over

the next few months. This will be based on a risk assessment of the

care sector, looking at issues such as vul nerability of the service

user, the degree of staff training and supervision, and the seniority

level and setting in which staff work. The health secretary will

decide the next priorities for registration after the GSCC's advice

following the consultation.

The committee also recognised the 'considerable potential to raise

standards' of the codes of practice, that cover all social care

workers and their employers. The GSCC is currently conducting a

major evaluation exercise involving 47,000 social care workers and

organisations, to help inform the process of embedding the codes in

day-to-day practice.

The committee recognised the need for a 'measured and systematic'

approach to registration and the need to ensure that the level of

personal and professional accreditation it signifies is preserved

whilst progressing registration as quickly as possible.

Registered social care workers need to maintain high standards and be

accountable: they can be removed from the register for misconduct.

Social workers are already registering with the GSCC, which will help

protect service users from unchecked and untrained workers, and

reassure them they are suitable to take on the responsibility of

being a social worker. A legal restriction comes into force in April

2005, enabling the police to prosecute bogus, unregistered social


Registration of the social care workforce is just one part of the

work to drive up standards and public protection in the sector. The

GSCC is working closely with the Social Care Institute for

Excellence, Topss England and the new Commission for Social Care

Inspection, on best practice, training and service delivery issues.

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