registration of social care workers to protect older people from
abuse, by a Parliamentary Committee in a report (available here).
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
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.