In our experience, social workers tend to be smart, reflective people.
You're committed to the career you have chosen, in spite of its challenges and we know you often find yourself asking questions and reflecting on how you’re doing.
So it’s no accident that CPD is such an important part of social work practice – and now a requisite for professional registration. Social Work England recognises that good learning develops thinking, boosts self-esteem and creates opportunity for collective progress. Often, its primary benefit comes from the chance to take a break in the everyday and really think about work rather than simply do it.
As the new regulator, Social Work England is asking each practitioner to complete forms containing reflective accounts of their learning using their own online account. For this first year, just one example of CPD is required, but in the future, they think that four would be more appropriate.
What to choose?
As a profession, social work offers a wide range of CPD opportunities. These range from formal seminars, courses and conferences – and many have migrated online during the Covid period, to less ‘organised’ examples of learning. We know learning doesn’t always take place in a classroom and Social Work England welcomes examples such as a productive meeting, a useful video, or reflecting on how you handled a situation at work.
The important point is that if you can demonstrate your learning, it counts as CPD.
“On the Social Work England online account I tend to use the unstructured form, as I prefer to have a free text box. However, I do use the questions and sections from the structured forms as prompts, to support my thinking and to help me organise my reflections.” - Carmen Colomina Perez-Herrera
Another piece of paperwork
Few social workers will be thrilled at the thought of another form to fill in – and another web account to keep up with. But this is all about the ‘continuing’ nature of professional development. Yes, you’ll need to document your learning, but that doesn’t have to be a waste of time. Focusing on the process and the outcome is part of good practice and will help consolidate the rich and complex advantages of CPD itself.
Tip: allocate time for CPD throughout the year and write it up when it’s fresh
Nuts and bolts
Not all social workers have found recording CPD straightforward on the Social Work England website.
In response, Social Work England has produced an online account guide along with website support, designed to help you solve any technical problems. There is also guidance about to documenting your learning on the ‘how to record CPD’ section of the Social Work England website.
A later addition to CPD is a function which allows users to save a draft CPD record. This means that you can take a break without timing out and losing your work. Social Work England will also be adding more on-screen advice, and is taking steps to improve the functionality of the site, thereby reducing the number of crash errors for users.
There is guidance on recording CPD online on the Social Work England website, but the following advice is a good starting point:
- Allocate time for CPD throughout the year and write it up when it’s still fresh in your mind.
- Summarise your CPD in a document such as Word and save it regularly to safeguard your work.
- Access your Social Work England account via Google Chrome – many users find it easy and reliable.
- When you start your online record, make sure you answer all the questions. You won’t be able to submit your CPD otherwise.
- Stick to the prescribed word limits. If you exceed them, you may lose some of your work.
- Avoid any information which could identify others – all CPD records must be anonymised.
- Importantly – don’t forget to submit your record. Select ‘Submit CPD at the end of the form to finish off.
You have until 30 November 2020 to renew your registration, but you should activate your online account as soon as possible. Make sure you give yourself enough time to record your CPD and check that your details are up to date.