Former social workers urged to return to essential roles  in response to Covid-19 pandemic

Thousands of former social workers are now able to support the national effort in tackling the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, thanks to a national organisation based in Sheffield.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 6:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th April 2020, 1:34 pm

Social Work England has reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so they can fill vital roles in communities across England in this critical situation. The specialist regulator, which is arm’s-length from Government, has been headquartered on the Wicker since December 2018 and covers almost 100,000 social workers.

It has written to suitably qualified social workers who left the profession in the last two years to advise them that they can now practise again if they wish to. Registration means they can apply for roles with local authorities, health trusts and other employers, helping to protect the public amidst staff shortages.

It is also contacting social workers who are already on the professional register, but not in employment, to ask them to consider going back to social work during the emergency.

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Colum Conway, Chief Executive of Social Work England.

Alongside the register, a campaign - Social Work Together - has been launched with the Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care and the Local Government Association to allow social workers to express their interest in employment opportunities in these extraordinary times.

A new website will connect them with local employers.

Colum Conway, chief executive of Social Work England, said: “This is a huge joint effort with all of our partners to get social workers back into practice and to people who need their support, as fast as possible, without compromising standards or safety. People who need support in our society are more vulnerable than ever right now.

“I would like to thank all the social workers who have already indicated that they want to come back to work, as well as all those currently practising in extremely challenging circumstances.”

Children and Families Minister, Vicky Ford, said: “Social workers are the unsung heroes of our society and their dedication to supporting families and children in their care during this pandemic is truly outstanding.”

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “The skill, expertise and commitment shown everyday by social workers up and down the country is a vital part of our collective battle against Covid-19. I am incredibly grateful to each and every one of them.

“I want to give a huge thank you to all those social workers currently providing essential support to people in exceptionally difficult circumstances.”Local Government Association chairman, Coun James Jamieson, said: “Allowing a fast-track way to temporarily return to practice during this difficult time is a much-needed boost for an already over-stretched social care workforce.

“Councils’ absolute priority is protecting the most vulnerable from this coronavirus, and thousands of additional social workers are critical to achieving this.”

Social workers who want to check if they have been temporarily added to the register, and those who wish to opt out, can find more information on the coronavirus section of the Social Work England website.

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