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How to apply

Information and advice about applications to register with us, including guidance for those who wish to return to the Register and social workers who qualified outside of the UK.

Who can register

The Register is open to the following groups of workers:

  • social workers
  • social work students

Social care managers

  • residential child care managers
  • adult care home managers
  • domiciliary care managers
  • adoption service managers (mandatory from 2022)
  • adult placement managers (mandatory from 2022)
  • advocacy managers (mandatory from 2022)
  • fostering service managers (mandatory from 2022)
  • residential family centre managers.

Social care workers

  • residential child care workers
  • domiciliary care workers
  • adult care home workers (mandatory from October 2022)
  • residential family centre workers (mandatory from October 2022).

All social workers and social care managers must register once they have completed their qualification or they start in their post.

All other social care workers must register within six months of starting in post.

Applying for the first time

If you’re applying for the first time you’ll need to create a SCWonline account to manage your registration with us.

SCWonline will allow you to:

Information you will need to apply

  • a personal email address
  • your national insurance number
  • employment details (including address, job title and start date or future start date if it’s a new job)
  • your employment history for the past five years
  • your bank details to setup a Direct Debit to pay your fees
  • the date of your most recent criminal records (DBS) check
  • confirmation that you intend to practise in Wales
  • verified copies of your ID documents, unless you have had DBS check within the last three years or are on the DBS update service (not required for students).

Details of your route to register

You will need:

  • a qualification certificate (accepted qualifications can be found on our qualification finder)
  • or if you don't yet have the required qualification, evidence for one of the other ways to register. You can find out about other ways to register on our qualifications page.

Disciplinary record and criminal offences

You must tell us if you:

  • have a disciplinary record
  • are currently the subject of an investigation
  • have a criminal record.

Endorsing your application

Applications to register must be endorsed to confirm your good character and that there aren’t any reasons why you shouldn’t be on the Register. On your application you will be asked to select a person, from a list of approved people (signatories) for your organisation, to endorse your application.

Your endorser will be able to view all information on your application apart from your health and equality and diversity answers.

Your endorser must be a professional individual who isn’t a relative and doesn’t have a personal relationship with you.

If you’re qualifying in social work in Wales, select a signatory from the degree course provider or current social care employer. If you get employment by the time we receive confirmation of your qualification, we’ll contact your new employer. This happens before we complete your registration.

Read our guidance on endorsing an application.

Your health

You must tell us if you have any physical or mental health conditions that may affect your ability to work in social care.

Your documents

Send us copies of the original documents verified by your endorser.

You can send us your documents by selecting ‘My Profile’ > ‘Upload a document’ in your SCWonline account.

Read our guidance on sending us documents.

Social work degree students

If you've been offered a place on a social work degree course in Wales you will receive an email from us to create an SCWonline account that will allow you to apply to register.

You must be registered with us before starting your social work degree in Wales.

If you’re thinking of studying a social work degree at a Welsh university, there is a social work bursary available.

Social workers returning to practice

If you’ve not been registered as a social worker or haven’t been practising as a social worker for a while, you might need to provide us with extra evidence that you’re fit to practise if you want to return to work as a social worker.

This applies if you’re:

  • a social worker who’s had experience of social work since qualifying, but hasn’t been registered for three years or more
  • a social worker who hasn't practised since qualifying over three years ago.

If you’re a qualified social worker returning to practice you will need to demonstrate current knowledge and understanding of social work practice to apply for registration.

If you’re returning to practice you will need to provide evidence of CPD for the period since you last registered.

Please see our Return to social work practice guidance for further information.

Read our guidance on continuing professional development (CPD).

Social workers who have qualified outside the UK

Removal from the Register

If you’ve been removed from the Register by a fitness to practise panel (removal order) you can apply to come back onto the Register five years after the date you were removed.

To re-apply for registration, you will need to complete an application on SCWonline. A panel will then decide if your registration should be granted.

Working outside Wales

If you decide to work outside of Wales, you will need to contact the regulatory body for that country.

In the UK these are:

Guidance videos

We have produced some guidance videos to tell you more about registration.

Contact us

If you have a question or if you can't find what you are looking for get in touch with us.

First published: 20 June 2019
Last updated: 22 November 2023
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