Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Regulatory Body

The transfer of regulation of Social Work from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).

On 1 August 2012, the renamed Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) became responsible for the statutory regulation of social workers in England. The title ‘social worker’ remains legally protected and those social workers registered with the General Social Care Council (GSCC) have automatically transferred onto the HCPC’s Register. The GSCC was disbanded on 31 July 2012.

All qualifying programmes which were approved by the GSCC have automatically received transitional approval from the HCPC. This means that recent and future graduates are now eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC.

Approval of a programme does not automatically lead to HCPC registration for students who successfully complete the programme. Approval of a programme leads to ‘eligibility to apply for HCPC registration’:

‘Successful completion of this programme provides eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). It is a legal requirement that anyone who wishes to practice using a title protected by the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001 is on the HCPC Register’. For further information see:

Please note that an aegrotat award, or other exit award provided for students who do not complete an approved programme, does not provide eligibility to apply to the HCPC Register or for annotation of an individual’s current registration.

Describing HCPC’s role:

The HCPC is the new ‘regulatory body’ or ‘statutory regulator’ for social work and not a professional body. The College of Social Work (TCSW) has been established as the professional body for social work alongside the existing British Association of Social Workers (BASW).

The term ‘licence to practise’ is used by some health and care professions in the UK. The HCPC do not grant a licence to practise but an individual must be registered with the HCPC in order to use the protected title of ‘Social Worker’.

What this means for you:

This is the final year of delivery for the current MA Social Work programme and a new degree will be launched in 2013 under new arrangements. The current degree which has transitional approval by the HCPC will still be recognised in future as a qualification to seek registration as a social worker and will hold equal professional currency and academic standing as any new master's award.