Opportunities to reflect: A CPD discussion with Social Work England

Published: 21/10/2022

This podcast reflects on the ongoing role and responsibilities of Social Work England, and discusses continuing professional development (CPD) for social workers.

Hannah Scott, Georgina Chetwynd and Vicky Hart reflect on the ongoing role and responsibilities of Social Work England, and discuss Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for social workers.


This is a Research in Practice podcast, supporting evidence-informed practice with children and families, young people and adults.

Hannah Scott: Hello, welcome to this Research in Practice podcast, my name is Hannah Scott, I'm a Research and Development Officer and I'm a qualified social worker and, today, I'll be talking to my colleague, Georgina, and also Vicky from Social Work England about the role of Social Work England but particularly about Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and the new requirements that have come in this registration year particularly looking at the introduction of peer-reflection. Georgina, do you want to do a quick introduction about yourself?

Georgina Chetwynd: Thanks Hannah, yes, it's really lovely to be here today, my name is Georgina Chetwynd and I'm also a Research and Development Officer with Research in Practice but I'm also a qualified social worker. I spent some time working in local authorities and sometime in the charity sector too.

Hannah: Thank you. And Vicky?

Vicky Hart: Yes, hi, it's lovely to be here. So my name is Vicky Hart, I'm Regional Engagement Lead for London region at Social Work England. I'm also a registered social worker and mostly my practice experience has been in adult services and in mental health services and I've worked in local authorities and in the NHS.

[The role of Social Work England]

Hannah: So, we've done a podcast with Social Work England for the last couple of years and these are all available on our website. We spoke about CPD in the first year and the new requirements that would have been brought in by Social Work England. As social workers will be aware, the main thing that changed after the regulation moved over from HCPC (Health and Care Professionals Council) was the requirement for every social worker to upload at least one piece of CPD. And I know it's changed within the 2022 registration, which started on 1st December, so we're going to talk a little bit more about that today. But before we get into CPD, Vicky, I'd just like to, sort of, ask a bit more about what else is happening at Social Work England. Because we talk a lot about CPD and that renewals process but I know there's lots of other work that's happening for you. So do you want to just give us a bit of overview of how the last year's been for you at Social Work England and what else will be helpful for social workers to be aware of?

Vicky: Yes, I mean, it's been an interesting year at Social Work England. I'm actually quite new to the role, as well, so I've come into the organisation. And to see what's happening has been really, really helpful. I mean, one of the things that we do publish each year and we've published this year was the updated Social Work in England report. So it's on the website, it was published in January 2022 and it provides some of the information that we get through from our data including some of the fitness to practice information, some of the data about what the social work workforce in England looks like, but also it reflects on some of the experiences of social workers, of social work students, of social work employers in lots of different settings. So it is some really interesting information up there and we're in year two of a three-year cycle, in terms of these social work reports, so next year we're going to be publishing our State of the Nation, what we call it, social work report. So these two, first two reports from last year and from this year have been leading into a much larger report which is going to be published early 2023. And we are going to be having conversations and have had some of those conversations around the country about where social work is, where we are looking for social work to go. Some of the other areas that we've developed over the last year is around our own equality, diversity and inclusion agenda, and we have published our plan for equality, diversity, inclusion, and ensuring that it's embedded in all the work that we're doing so there's an internal action plan for Social Work England.

But we've also been working with the PSW (Principal Social Worker) Network, there was a survey last year in 2021 through the summer for registered social workers about experiences, specifically about racism within social work. The survey results were published in March 2022 and we want very much for this to lead into actions that we can take, very real actions, but it is very much a focus of where we want to go with Social Work England and make sure that equality, diversity and inclusion strand is through every piece of work that we do. We've had social work week this year in 2022 and we ran it a little bit differently this year, so that we had some core sessions which were delivered directly by Social Work England across the week but we also linked in with local employers, local communities, people who use social work services who were running their own events. We want it to be a sector celebration of social work rather than a Social Work England-led celebration of social work. And we've really seen that develop this year, and we do have now the sessions up on the Social Work England website, so do go and look at our YouTube channel. And there'll be loads of different... there's such a variety of different events there covering a real wide range of what's happening within social work. So, hopefully, that's been helpful. And over the year, we do have constantly more communication with the sector which is growing as we develop as an organisation, trying to reach out to more groups who have an interest in social work in order to develop where we head over the future.

[Regulation changes for 2022]

Georgina: Thanks very much, Vicky, it's really interesting to hear you talk about the wider work that Social Work England does, and it's been really lovely to hear you talk about celebrating social work and social workers. So now we'll move on and talk a little bit more about the CPD element of Social Work England's role. Can you tell us a little bit about what has changed for the 2022 registration year and what social workers need to know when they're renewing their registration?

Vicky: So there's really three elements that have changed, this year. And I'll start with probably the quickest one, which is the form itself has changed. So, rather than having the structured and unstructured forms which we had for the last two years, there is just one form now and I think, and I'm maybe a bit biased, that it's actually a lot easier to follow in terms of how it takes you through what you need to write. The other two areas that have changed are the increase in the numbers of pieces of CPD, so we now have to add two pieces of CPD rather than one and I think we said at the beginning, when we started at Social Work England that the one piece of CPD was really just to test the systems, to see how things were working. There was also going to be an intention to increase that number as we got going and I think it just delayed because of COVID but we've got the two pieces of CPD now. And the other part, which is probably a little bit more different, is about introducing the peer reflection element for one of those pieces of CPD. So one of those pieces of CPD that every social worker submits should include an element of peer reflection.

[Peer Reflection]

Hannah: So, and I think it's, as you said, the peer reflection aspect is probably going to be the biggest shift for social workers, I think everyone hopefully is now used to it if they've been a registered social worker for the last few years. They'll be used to knowing that they've got to get that CPD up there by the end of November, but hopefully not right up to the deadline. And we know everybody's style is slightly different. So, you know, if we can explore that peer reflection element a little bit more, then. So why has it been introduced for social workers and what does it mean for social work practice?

Vicky: Well, I think, I mean, it was introduced off the back of a consultation that happened over the last year, so there was a twelve-week consultation period which was looking at ways that we had the CPD running but also looking at what we've learnt from the CPD that has been submitted over the previous years. And it was felt that coming out of these consultations, that it was a way of focusing some of the CPD that is logged. So there is a certain amount of CPD, of course, that we do by ourselves but I think having that additional peer element, it's just strengthening what we do anyway. We do discuss what we learn within social work. So it's just extending what we're already doing and bringing in that focus around what we learn from those discussions that we have.

Hannah: And I think what you've said there is probably really key, about extending what we're already doing, and one of the things that, when I first looked at this aspect of peer reflections, thinking, 'Okay, how have I met that previously as a social worker in my career?' I'm from a child protection background and I do a small amount of independent social work still to keep those skills up-to-date now. And the main thing that's, sort of, jumped out at me about the really powerful aspects of peer reflection weren't necessarily the one-to-one sit down, planned supervisions where we'd be there for hours discussing all the families that I was working with. Although there are obviously some really helpful moments within those. But it was either the group supervisions with that really rich discussion or the informal chats with colleagues in the office, sometimes on a one-to-one basis, sometimes in a group one, and one of the things that came to mind for me straight away about what had been quite a powerful moment for me, in practice, it was actually a Newly Qualified Social Worker who I was supporting as an Advanced Practitioner. And I'd been doing lots of work about reflection on her practice with her and we identified, for my own practice, something that was really quite helpful. So there was a mum I was working with who, for various reasons, we would have quite a lot of ups and downs in our relationship. And I realised that, when I was quite anxious about having to call and tell her something that was difficult and there was a lot happening for that family, I would sometimes really put off that phone call and build it up in my mind.

And then that impacted on how I then spoke to her, as well. And it was this Newly Qualified Social Worker that just had a really gentle conversation with me and almost turned into something quite playful, to say, 'Why are you putting it off and what's the reason for that and how is that going to impact, then, how you do have that phone call?' You know, basically she told me to get on and do it and I realised that that was so much better and I was able to also have those open conversations with the mum, saying, 'I know this is a really difficult conversation to have,' and acknowledging that. That was a really powerful moment and that was a piece of peer reflection that wasn't planned and it wasn't even a superior or a supervisor, it was somebody that I had been supervising and supporting her, so she was still able to contribute to my learning and development. And that was a really helpful moment in practice for me, actually.

Vicky: Yes, I mean, that's a really important point, is that, in terms of the peer reflection, it's about what you learn from the conversation. And we do say it should be another professional, we don't specify that it needs to be a social worker that you have that conversation with. But it does need to be another professional. But that doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be someone you're working directly with, so another example, somebody suggested this to me, and it was somebody that works independently as a vested interest assessor. So doesn’t necessarily have a group around them or working within a local authority, but does have conversations with the allocated social workers within that authority about the pieces of work that she had done. And she asked, you know, 'could that be a peer reflection?' And absolutely, yes. You're having a discussion with another professional about a piece of work that you've done, maybe suggestions coming backwards and forwards, what have you learnt from that? How have you thought about your practice? And it can be, as well, and I think we want to try and emphasise this, this is not just about learning from mistakes, it's learning as well from when you've done a really good piece of work and you've been able to share that. Because I think that is also very powerful and I think, with supervision, it's a little bit clearer in how that would work. So I think some of the examples we're trying to pull out are not necessarily the supervision type examples, because I think it's quite clear where that would happen, but where some of those conversations might happen. And I think what we really want to emphasise is that these are conversations that we have anyway. We're not asking for additional pieces of work, we're asking for recording and reflecting on what we're already doing as social workers.

Hannah: Absolutely. Myself and Georgina, as we're both social work qualified, we've had a bit of a conversation between the two of us and then another colleague about how we will meet this requirement and again, how we maybe met it in previous years of our career. And we've both reflected on is the nature of a lot of social work and social work teams, of exactly what you're saying, and those informal conversations, so when you've been out on a visit that may have been challenging or, as you said, really positive, it's very rare for social workers just to get back and silently sit at their desks and just record that without saying a word to anyone else. You get back into the office and someone will say, 'let's put the kettle on, let's talk through that difficult moment,' and I know that's something that we've spoken about in previous podcasts, just about capturing CPD more broadly, thinking about those informal moments of where you may have spoken to a colleague and really reflected on some learning because of a really good or a really bad situation. And I think the nature of social workers and the relationships they have with each other and supporting each other, this will be happening in practice and it's about people taking that step back and recognising where it is rather than seeing it as something extra they've got to schedule in and put in their diaries, I think.

[Social workers in non-practising roles]

What about for social workers that maintain their registration then but they might be a non-practising role? So for example, independent social workers that may work in quite an isolated situation or may not be having direct contact with people with lived experience or children and families.

Vicky: I think, first of all, we need to put this in a context of what your social work practice is. So there's 50% of the social work register that aren't working statutory social work that might be working in an isolated... I mean, obviously this covers everything from, as you say, people that aren't in direct practice, people that are managers, people that are in policy, what does your practice look like, is the first thing in terms of your CPD. We are really broad in terms of what CPD can be, it is what helps you to learn. So, equally, in terms of those reflections that you can have, there might be some spaces where you'll have contact with social workers or other professionals and where you can have these discussions. Wherever you might have your supervision from, it might be a discussion with somebody that you know who's a social worker. You could talk about, for example, a television programme that you've watched which has made you think about how it might help your practice, change your practice, give a different perspective on your practice. There was the programme After Life with Ricky Gervais which talked about, kind of, experiences of grief. And one can see how that might influence one's thinking. One of the things that we talk about in terms of using a CPD or not on the form is about personal experiences that we have. Because they're really strong ways that we can learn. But just having some of those conversations with another professional, and we really tried to broaden out the professionals with which we can have these conversations, so it is social workers, of course there's social workers across the United Kingdom, not necessarily just Social Work England. But also other professionals, nurses, might be psychologists.

If you're a social worker working in policy development then that is your area of practice. So what have you learnt about that? For me in my current role where I'm doing my engagement roles, it's about what I'm learning about engaging with different areas in social work, learning more about areas of social work I haven't practiced in. That's really important for me to know in my current role and my current area of practice. So we're trying to think as broadly, we need to think as broadly, of what social work is so that it encompasses everybody that's on the register.

Georgina: It's really interesting to hear you say that, Vicky, because Hannah and I have had a few conversations because we're, obviously, both in non-practising roles too. And I was thinking about – I know that CPD isn't only about attending conferences or attending training – I was thinking, for my CPD, of using reflecting on attending a Research in Practice conference around anti-racist practice and then the ways that I've reflected on that and how I want to build that into other workshops that we're planning to run. So that's been really, really helpful.

Vicky: And I think that raises a really important thing, and a useful thing, in terms of how we use our CPD is building in current events, building in what's happening out there. So, last year, understandably, there was an increase in themes around COVID, working through COVID. But also themes about working within anti-racist contexts. These current issues are very much a useful way of focusing CPD. I mean, learning about anti-racism, being a good ally, how we implement that in practice, that will always cover our practice, whatever area of practice we're in. So these broad themes are really, I think, useful in terms of keeping us current as well. We need to keep current, I know talking now as we are in the middle of 2022, some of the issues that have come up around Child Q about racism, institutional racism within the police and how that feeds out into the practice that we do. Not just the police, within social work, we've got a survey that we've just published a few months ago that talks about racism within social work. Having a discussion about that survey can be really helpful as CPD. And it doesn't matter what area of social work you're in, that can include it. And also, we have a lot of resources on our Social Work England website, we've got podcasts that we've developed, which cover all the standards, but also the resources from Social Work Week, lots of events covering lots of different areas of social work, but also broader themes within social work, and any one of those, I would suggest, could be used to reflect on.

Hannah: That's really helpful, thank you. And I think what you picked up on there is quite key, again, for considering who has to record CPD, because I know if social workers are on sick leave or maternity leave, or extended leave for any reasons, they still need to meet the criteria to demonstrate their continued learning, and I think that can sometimes feel a little bit more daunting for those practitioners. But as you've said, there's not going to be a single social worker who will have been able to switch off on those really key events that happen in the news and are being reported in the media, I think if anything it can be hard to get that balance and stop thinking about those things. And using the reflection, again not every single piece of CPD has to be about peer reflection does it, so it might just be that internal reflection as a worker, and that would meet one of the criteria. And again looking at if you've spoken to a social work colleague or friend in a profession, that you've had those conversations about, it doesn't have to be that really big and planned piece of work to go out and seek. I think the other thing as well is recognising where it might be happening in more formal settings, but again not in a planned way.

[Training and peer reflection]

So, I know we really explore about CPD doesn't just have to be about training, but I think where the peer reflection aspect can be really well met is in training, because the majority of sessions will have some level of interactivity, and even though a lot of training has moved online, the development of all the platforms and breakout rooms has really been able to, not just allow that interactivity between the participants, but also from our point of view we've seen it really increase networking opportunities because we're not having to get people from up and down the country dragged to one location. Somebody can be talking to somebody else on the other side of the country and talking about the practice differences, and really sharing the learning there, and I think that's been a really positive thing to have come out of COVID and remote working, and it's really important to capture those discussions. And again it's something that I'm making sure that I do in my role at Research in Practice, of when I've been part of those discussions, either as a worker that's just gone along, or it's a group I'm facilitating but I chipped in as a social worker, of thinking about how that's supported my learning, and then remembering to capture that as well and not waiting until the end of the year to get that on there, so that it's recorded.

Vicky: I was in a meeting last week, we were talking about this, and somebody was there saying, 'Actually, just pulling in a small discussion with somebody, attending the same course at the end of the day, that is doing that peer reflection on the day at the end of a piece of training, that's just one way of doing it.' But hopefully we're covering lots and lots of different ways to do it, that this can happen, and just really emphasising that there's no one way of doing it, and we have these conversations.

[Using CPD as a helpful reflective tool]

And what I found quite useful, and this is something moving from practice to Social Work England, obviously I've always done my CPD, clearly I've been perfect at that. But I'm looking at it through different eyes now when I'm at Social Work England, and I think what I've really gathered is how helpful it is to me to record my CPD. I'm over twenty years qualified, I've done lots of various post-qualifying, I was an AMHP (Approved Mental Health Practitioner), I was a Best Interest Assessor, I was a Practice Educator. So, it's been a while since I'd done any formalised learning and reflective writing, it's not something that I'd been doing regularly in other forums, but actually writing reflectively, the new form I find quite good at this because it takes you through, what did you do, what did you learn, how will it change your practice. And actually thinking about that in its own right intrinsically has helped me. So, we want to make sure it's not a tick box, but that as social workers we get something from this. Having that opportunity to write something reflectively that isn't going to be marked, because it isn't, it's not an academic piece, it's writing in a very different way, but it does help your thinking about realising what you've learned.

Hannah: Absolutely. And I know again in the previous podcast where we've discussed this, we've really explored about it not just being, ‘I've been on this training, or I've read this thing, and that's it’, to meet that CPD requirement with Social Work England you have to have spoken about what the impact is in exactly the way that, as you're saying, we need to as practitioners. That’s what we know from serious case reviews and lots of other key learning that keeps coming up in social work, where things haven't necessarily always gone well, is about that analysis or where that analysis wasn't, and I think the same applies for CPD. If we can do things, if we're not thinking about what the impact is, and if something happens for a child, we look at the impact and we look at what does that event for that child mean and how are we going to analyse that in terms of making our decision. It's important for social workers to do the same with CPD. I might have attended that training or read that thing, but it's not going to be of any benefit to you as a professional, or the profession as a whole, unless you implement it and you think about what that learning is. And I know training will often, again it was bit easier in face-to-face training, you'd get that piece of paper put under your nose before you were allowed to leave the room to say, 'Give us some feedback, but also think about what are the things that you're going to take away and learn.' And I think that's really important to reiterate that that is obviously still a really important requirement for both the peer reflection aspect, isn't it, but any CPD being recorded to really think about what you're going to do with that.

Vicky: And having that conversation, getting back to that peer reflection, going back and talking to somebody about what you've learned helps embed it as well.

[Management support for CPD]

Georgina: As you were both speaking, Vicky and Hannah, I was really reflecting on the value that I've placed on those peer reflective conversations in the past, and the huge ways in which I've benefited from those conversations with my peers in terms of being able to see things slightly differently, but also it's so helpful, isn't it, to have someone who is not so emotionally invested in a family when you're a little bit worried or anxious about the work that you're doing, about having someone who is more able to engage their rational brain and help you think about things a bit differently, or see things through a different lens.

Vicky, if managers or strategic leads are listening to this podcast, can you give them some ideas about what they could do to support CPD, and particularly their peer reflection element of that? And perhaps thinking particularly about the new ways of working that we're all doing at the moment in terms of hybrid working, rather than being in the office all the time.

Vicky: Yes, I think it's about giving people space. I think the one thing that comes up in terms of anxieties that we hear from social workers is about having time, but also de-mystifying, I think, is a big element. It's about reassuring people that we're not asking for anything different from what they are doing. We do think that having some reflective space, and I think just emphasising that this can be in groups as well, I know we've mentioned it briefly, but I think we've talked a lot more about the one-to-one discussions. But actually, these peer reflections can happen in groups, and sometimes facilitating those groups, or enabling social workers to have spaces where they can discuss, building in little bits of time for discussions and finding out how they're going. Because I think that time is always going to be of a premium, but valuing that reflective space is really, really important to feel valued as a social worker.

Hannah: And in terms of those managers and strategic leads, and obviously most of those will be social workers themselves and they may feel that they're more in that supervisory role, obviously managers still have their supervision as well. Is there anything in particular that they need to be aware of in terms of meeting their requirement, or any sort of top tips that you would share with them?

Vicky: I think it would just be in the sense of remembering that the requirements for CPD is about wherever your social work happens, and whatever it means for you to do that reflection. And you explained brilliantly that it doesn't have to be a supervisory relationship. We talked about peer reflection, but it's another professional, sometimes the most valuable learning can be from people that we manage ourselves. So, I think it's about just making sure that you make time for it, thinking about it in advance, not leaving things until November, please, or late November, let's be a bit charitable about this. But thinking ahead, if you've got the space to plan that makes a lot more sense, and it kind of builds a little bit of security around not rushing at the last minute. Because this requirement is for the professional, for you, wherever you are in your career, whether you're at that initial stage, whether you're at that senior leadership stage, it is for you. So, having space around it makes the better practice.

Hannah: Really important messages there, and like you said, it's important not to leave it to the last minute, particularly this peer reflection aspect. Hopefully most practitioners will be able to look back at their last year of practice and think, 'Actually, I've met this requirement several times over in the discussion I had with this person, or this group.' But I suppose if they do feel they need to plan something in, have a discussion with a colleague or a peer, to make sure they meet that requirement, that's going to be a lot harder to do at the eleventh hour, last minute isn't it, so I suppose that's really important for practitioners to have a think about now. And I know the Social Work England website is up and running with the new form ready for people to upload CPD as they go, and also Research in Practice, anyone with an account, either that be a free account or paid membership that gives more access, we've got a format on there called Your CPD, which we're also making some changes to, to bring it a little more in line with the changes from Social Work England. And you can record CPD on there as you go.

So, again I try and practice what I preach and make sure that as I worked on a resource, or read something written by a colleague and I thought, 'that's really interesting, I've really learned a lot there', I will add that to the CPD record and add those reflections on, and then it's all there ready for me to then use that for Social Work England as well. We do have some practice guides and other resources as well that we can link to this podcast, and we'll also link all the resources that you've mentioned, Vicky, that link to Social Work England as well, so that everyone is able to access those and use those to support their CPD. So, is there anything then in terms of reflecting on the last year of CPD and regulation by Social Work England, is there any other learning that has come out that is helpful for us to reflect on? And is there anything that may be happening or changing in the next year or so that would be helpful for social workers to be aware of?

[Role of Social Work England over the next year]

Vicky: There's always going to be learning and change, and there will be some more changes coming up, and there will be more consultations and hopefully getting more feedback from the sector about what needs to change within social work in England over the next year. I think in terms of our learning we are constantly looking at the information that's been coming through. We have had, I mentioned earlier, the feedback from the anti-racism survey, and I think that's focused very much on our equality, diversity and inclusion work, and how we're building that into our organisation, but also how we're pushing out information to the sector. I think we do have consultations which are going on, and hopefully will give people the opportunity to feed into our changes, and any proposed changes that we make within the sector. And it's been a year in which so much has happened within social work, so many changes within, there are always going to be drivers, unfortunately, some of them are from incidents that happen, and sadly from the deaths of people who have been known to social work services. I think we need to look at how we need to respond as a profession, and as a professional regulator, to encourage social work as well. It's been a very hard couple of years and I think we need to be able to understand what's been happening and reflect that back within the spheres of influence that we have within Social Work England.

Hannah: Absolutely. And I know again one of the things we've reflected on over the last couple of years, and about the introduction of Social Work England, and the role of CPD and social workers having to demonstrate what they're doing to keep their skills up to date, is that it's important for the profession because it's such a valued profession. It isn't always given necessarily the credit that it deserves, I think. I know a lot of social workers feel that, but we were recognised as key workers in the pandemic, and we've absolutely got that duty to keep our skills up to date because we're working with some of the most vulnerable people in the community and that's a really privileged position. I know if I ever feel a bit overwhelmed, oh, I've got to make sure I do my CPD, of course I should be, because if we're seeing any other professional in our personal or professional lives, we would absolutely want to make sure that they are keeping their skills up to date and being as informed as possible in the work that they're doing. It's only fair that we are held accountable to do exactly the same.

Vicky: And with the responsibility of holding these roles within a regulated profession, we take the responsibility individually as registrants that we need to keep up to date. Because that register holds social workers, and to call yourself a social worker in England you need to be on the register with Social Work England. We need the public to have that reassurance that the people on this register are current and up to date, and are keeping to the standards that are set by the professional regulator, which include the standards for Continuous Professional Development. I try to use Continuous Professional Development when I'm losing track of where I'm going, and just remembering what those words actually mean. It is about constantly being updated, and it's about my professional development, it's not something I'm doing for somebody else, it's not something I'm doing because I have to, it's something I'm doing for me to make sure that because I'm on that register, because I call myself a social worker, people know I take that responsibility for updating my knowledge and skills.

[Top tips for recording CPD]

Hannah: And so, to bring things to a close then, if there's anyone listening to this podcast that might still be feeling a little bit overwhelmed about CPD or the peer reflection aspect, what are maybe one or two top tips that you would want to give them, and key messages?

Vicky: I mean, I think it would be to try and think about what you're already doing, that is the start. It is really easy, I think, and I've certainly heard people talking about it, and I've done it myself, overcomplicating what we're asking for. So, I think really pare it down to ‘what did I learn and how has my practice, whatever my practice looks like, changed’. It doesn't have to be a training course, it can be a training course, it doesn't have to be reading a book, it can be re-reading a chapter of a book or an article. What helps you learn? And so, really, I think paring it down and thinking, 'What do I do already that I can incorporate into writing my CPD?' And using the CPD, using the form as a development opportunity, seeing it as, ‘how am I learning through this reflection’, not, ‘this is a piece that I have to do’. The other advice I would give is please don't leave it until the last minute, you will not be doing yourself a favour or anyone else, or your employer a favour if you do that. So, try and get at least one piece of CPD on as soon as you can, it will not be as easy to do everything at the last minute, because there are two pieces to do, so more to think about.

Hannah: Great, thank you. And I know in previous podcasts in the guidance as well that we've done, we do cover some of those top tips, in terms of how to meet those CPD requirements throughout the year, and how to remember it. There's a few top tips that we've shared that other social workers have used as well. So, I definitely recommend checking out those resources. If anyone is listening to this thinking, 'right, I really need to add to my CPD record', we do have lots of resources, we have blogs, we have podcasts and a training event, some webinars that you can listen to and share with colleagues and reflect on which will support you with your CPD. And as I mentioned earlier, you're able to record all of that on the Research in Practice website. You can use that for your re-registration each year to support your Social Work England membership.

So, I just want to say a huge thank you Vicky, it's been really lovely to speak to you, and hopefully this will have really helped social workers to understand what the changes are, and for anyone that was a bit anxious about these new changes hopefully that's helped to relieve any anxieties.

Vicky: Thank you very much Hannah, thank you very much, Georgina, it's been an absolute pleasure speaking to you.


Thanks for listening to this Research in Practice podcast, we hope you've enjoyed it. Why not share with your colleagues and let us know your thoughts on Twitter? Tweet us at @researchIP.

Talking Points

This podcast looks at:

  • The role of Social Work England over the last year, including reporting on social work in England, celebrating Social Work Week, and developing an equality, diversity and inclusion action plan.
  • The three main changes to the CPD requirements for social workers in 2022: social workers need to record at least two pieces of CPD on a newly designed form. At least one piece must include peer reflection.
  • The ways that social workers have embedded CPD into their work, the role of managers and strategic leads in supporting social workers to complete CPD, and how recording CPD can help social workers create time to reflect.

Resources that are mentioned in this podcast

Related resources

Reflective questions

Here are reflective questions to stimulate conversation and support practice. 

  1. What have been the most challenging and rewarding moments in your role over the last year? What did you learn from these experiences?
  2. If you are in a management role, do you support your team or organisation to have protected time to undertake and record CPD? What do you do to keep your own skills up-to-date?

Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - Organisational context | Analysis, decision-making, planning and review | Promote and govern excellent practice | Developing excellent practitioners | Creating a context for excellent practice | Developing excellent practitioners | The role of social workers | Organisational context | Developing confident and capable social workers | Assuring good social work practice and development | Performance management and improvement

CQC - Effective

PCF - Knowledge | Critical reflection and analysis