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Coronavirus and our work: what you need to know

Answers to questions you may have about how we are working during the coronavirus outbreak and how this might affect you.

Our working arrangements

Is your office open?

Our offices in Cardiff and St Asaph are closed to visitors from Thursday, 19 March. But our staff are working as normally as possible from home. If you know the officer you wish to contact, you should communicate with them in the usual way by e-mail or phone.

For general enquiries, or if you don’t know the individual you should speak to, please contact us through info@socialcare.wales until further notice. We will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Generally, please send us any information electronically.

What if I have meetings planned with Social Care Wales staff?

There will be no face-to-face meetings until further notice. Wherever possible, those meetings will be held by phone or other technology. If you have a face-to-face meeting booked with any of our staff and have not heard anything about changes to arrangements, please contact the relevant officer by email for guidance.

General advice

Do you have any general advice on how we should work at this time?

The best place to go for up-to-date information on coronavirus is the Public Health Wales and Government websites, where you can also find more specific information for certain providers of care and support.

More information and general advice on coronavirus.

What about more localised advice?

For more localised advice, you should first and foremost speak to your line-manager or employer who may have more specific guidelines about how you go about your work in a safe and professional way.

Is there any specific advice for social workers?

For specific social worker advice visit coronavirus (COVID-19) BASW updates.

Registration

Can people still register with us as normal?

Yes, they can.

Our online registration system, SCWonline, will be available for applications but we may not be able to process them as quickly as usual. If applications are incomplete, we will e-mail or call applicants to let them know what additional information we need.

What if I’ve just started working as a care worker and need to register?

Usually, social care workers have six months from their start-date before they need to register with us. We realise registration won’t be a priority for workers and services who are responding to current challenges, so we will give more time for people to register, up to a year from their start-date.

What if I’m a domiciliary care worker who hasn’t yet registered? Can I still practise?

Yes.

Usually, domiciliary care workers would have six months from their start-date to register with us. We realise registration won’t be a priority for workers and services while they respond to current challenges, so we will give more time for people to register, up to a year from their start-date, if necessary. Employers will be expected to follow the latest guidance for recruiting staff.

If experienced workers who hold the required qualifications haven’t registered by 1 April, we’ll give them more time in light of the current situation.

We will also extend our confirmed competence method to register for domiciliary care workers. This means recently returning or retired workers without the required qualifications can register once their competence has been confirmed by their manager.

What about managers and their registration?

We are looking to fast-track changes for manager registration that received support in our recent consultation, so that it is possible to register individuals working towards a level 5 qualification.

Can social workers from England work in Wales?

We will not take any regulatory action against social workers working for local authorities in Wales but who are registered as social workers in other parts of the UK. In these cases, we would ask local authorities to make sure the individual is not subject to any removal or suspension order from their registration body.

What if I’m a retired social care worker and want to return to practise to help deal with the current crisis?

If you’ve recently retired as a social care worker and hold the requirements for your role, then we’ll fast-track your registration.

Will the Register still be opening for voluntary registration by adult care home workers and residential family centre support workers from 1 April? Can I still register then?

Yes, the Register will be open, but we realise it may not be a priority in the months ahead. Registration is planned to be voluntary until April 2022, but we may give more time until it becomes mandatory.

What if I can’t complete the Principles and Values award and then can’t apply to register?

We will be understanding to individuals who can’t complete these requirements and give more time to those who might need it.

Who should I contact if I have any queries about completing the Principles and Values award?

E-mail induction@socialcare.wales and we will aim to respond as soon as possible.

What if I can’t complete my PRTL requirements?

We’ll keep everyone on the register who wants to stay in their role and give them time to make up their PRTL requirement in their next period of registration.

What if I have any queries about registration?

E-mail enquiries@socialcare.wales and we will aim to respond as soon as possible.

Advice for social work students

What about social work students who are trying to qualify?

Currently, we are not looking to fast-track student social workers into practice. We’re working with universities and partners to support students to qualify despite disruptions to placements caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

We’re aware that many social work students are being brought into service by local authorities to operate as social work assistants or social care workers.

Guidance for childcare providers

What is the guidance for childcare providers during this time?

The Welsh Government is continuing to update its guidance on childcare for parents and childcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic.

More information on coronavirus and childcare provision.

What financial support is available for childcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic?

The Welsh Government is providing more information to childcare providers on what financial support is available.

More information on financial support for childcare providers.

How we'll deal with concerns and hearings

What’s happening with fitness to practise final hearings?

We are postponing fitness to practise final hearings where it’s safe to do so. However, we will continue to take forward cases where we believe people pose a risk to individuals who use care and support and, if necessary, seek restrictions on their practice. This will be done remotely rather than face-to-face. We will be prioritising applications for new interim suspension orders to protect the public.

What about removing people from the Register?

We are not going to remove anyone from the Register during the current emergency except where we believe they are a risk to the public, or if the registered person asks to be removed.

What about investigations into workers’ practice?

We will continue to carry out investigations as best we can, but we’ll maintain contact with employers to manage any risks appropriately.

Will you be making any allowances when considering practitioners’ fitness to practise at this time?

We recognise that staff must find the best ways of providing care and support at this unprecedented time which may not fit with normal expectations. We will always recognise outcomes-focused, person-centred care and consider the context practitioners are working in to help people live the lives that matter to them. We will take this into account with any fitness to practise concerns we receive and refer to the high-level principles set out in our Code of Professional Practice.

How do we contact you with any fitness to practise concerns?

The best way to do this is to send an e-mail to ftp@socialcare.wales.

Action to increase workforce capacity

Social workers

We’re taking steps to get more social workers into practice to help combat the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

To do this, we’re setting up a temporary register to bring back former social workers into practice. We expect this register to be open from 1 April 2020.

Already, we’re contacting almost 1,000 former social workers who have been registered with us during the past three years, inviting them to re-register and return to practise.

The process of re-registering will be simple and quick so that we can get these former social workers back on the front-line as soon as possible. Those wanting to re-register will only need to provide an e-mail and some details. Find out more about temporary registration.

Currently, we are not looking to fast-track student social workers into practice. We’re working with universities and partners to support students to qualify despite disruptions to placements caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

We’re aware that many social work students are being brought into service by local authorities to operate as social work assistants or social care workers.

Social care managers

We are looking to fast-track changes for manager registration that received support in our recent consultation, so that it is possible to register individuals working towards their management qualification.

The Accolades 2020 awards ceremony

Is the Accolades ceremony still going ahead?

We have postponed the 2020 Accolades awards ceremony which was due to take place on Thursday, 23 April.

We know all the finalists and others will be disappointed, as are we, that this action has had to be taken. But nothing is more important at this time than keeping everyone as safe as possible and making sure we don’t do anything that takes front-line workers away from their work at a time when they’re needed the most.

We emphasise that this is only a postponement - it is not a cancellation. It is so important that we continue to celebrate and share the excellent work in social care, early years and childcare after the current coronavirus outbreak has subsided and it’s safe to return to normal life. Indeed, there will be even more reason to celebrate our workers who are already showing how valuable and essential they are in helping tackle coronavirus.

We will contact all those invited to the ceremony once we have agreed a new date which is likely to be mid to late autumn 2020.

General events

All our general events, which were due to happen during the next three months, have been postponed.

Contact us

If you have a question you can Contact us.