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Social Care: Regulator

Volume 710: debated on Monday 18 May 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers the regulator of social care workers possesses. [HL3531]

The General Social Care Council (GSCC) was established under the Care Standards Act 2000 as the regulator for social care workers in England. Similar bodies have been established in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The functions of the GSCC are to promote high standards of conduct and practice among social care workers and high standards in training. The council has wide general powers to enable it to carry out these functions effectively, efficiently and economically subject to any directions or guidance from the Secretary of State. It is specifically required to maintain a register of social workers and such social care workers as are specified in regulations. Currently the council registers social workers, including visiting social workers from relevant European states, and student social workers.

The council is required to grant applications for registration if they are satisfied of the applicant's good character and fitness to perform the work required and may require certain training conditions to be fulfilled and impose other conditions relating to conduct and competence. It has powers to register applicants unconditionally or subject to conditions or refuse applications. It may also remove or suspend applicants from the register and can restore registrations.

The council is required to make rules about the requirements for application to and removal from the register and the maintenance of the register. It may also make rules relating to requirements as to conduct and competence, the approval of courses in relevant social work, further training and training for social care workers, and the visiting of places at which relevant courses are given or examinations held. Rules made by the council which may make provision for the payment of fees must be made with the consent of the Secretary of State.

The council is, subject to appropriate consultation, also required to prepare, publish and keep under review codes of practice for social care workers and their employers or those seeking to employ them. These codes may also include social workers when carrying out the functions of approved mental health professionals.