Social workers should note that if you are subject to a ‘fitness to practise’ investigation, you must legally respond to the regulator Social Work England (SWE) within seven calendar days of being notified by SWE. This updated advice was recently issued by UNISON’s Professional Services Unit (PSU).
Experience tells us that the 7-day limit is very time-constraining and stressful for anyone involved. We know that, in practice and for various reasons, sometimes members don’t tell us about the formal notification within this time frame, even though they may be already subject to a related internal investigation.
Please don’t assume that if you are a UNISON member, we will automatically be informed of any notice issued to you, whether or not you have self-referred or have been referred to SWE by your employer. Should you receive such a notice from SWE, you must immediately inform the branch office so that legal representation can be arranged quickly with our regional office and/or PSU.
The risk of losing social work registration is very serious and potentially career-threatening. It’s vitally important we know immediately if you are formally notified of investigation by SWE.