What we do
The General Social Care Council (GSCC) is the regulator of the social work profession and social work education in England. We protect the public by requiring high standards of education, conduct and practice of all social workers. Social workers work with some of the most vulnerable people in society, so it is vital that we ensure that only those who are properly trained and committed to high standards practise social work.
We do this by maintaining a compulsory register of social workers and issuing and enforcing the codes of practice for the profession. The codes of practice set out the standards of professional conduct and practice required by social workers as they go about their daily work. They are intended to ensure that employers, colleagues, service users, carers and members of the public know what standards they can expect from registered social workers.
On receipt of a referral about a social worker from a member of the public, an employer, or other, we will undertake sufficient enquiries to determine whether there is a specific allegation of misconduct against a registered social worker. If this is established, we will gather information about the referral and look to see if there is evidence of misconduct that calls into question their suitability to be on the Social Care Register.
Cases are risk-assessed throughout the investigation process both to ensure that the registrant does not present an immediate risk to the public, and to determine the likelihood of misconduct being found by a conduct panel. If we believe that the social worker should be prevented from practising while the investigation is still in progress, we will apply to a conduct panel for an Interim Suspension Order. If the investigation concludes that there is a real prospect of finding misconduct, the matter is referred to a Conduct Panel hearing.
Our conduct panels hear evidence against social workers alleged to have committed misconduct, and if someone is found to have breached the codes of practice, we can take action, the strongest penalty being removal from the register. Social workers who have been removed from the register are no longer able to practise social work legally in England. Panel members adjudicate independently of the GSCC and focus on the need for public protection, whilst preserving the social worker’s right to a fair hearing. We aim to achieve the confidence of the public through our openness and fair, evidence-based judgments made in the interests of public protection.
We work with social work employers and educators on the development of the standards which they must meet. We promote high standards in social work education and training by inspecting and approving the quality of social work courses and qualifications. More than 80 universities and colleges in England offer the social work degree. All of these institutions have undergone rigorous checks by the GSCC to make sure that they meet the required standards, and we can refuse to approve courses which do not. In addition to the social work degree, social workers must maintain and extend their knowledge and skills in order to remain on the register.
The GSCC is an arms-length government body funded partly by the Department of Health, and partly by registration fees, which we had hoped to use to achieve full financial independence over time. We also work closely with the Department for Education and our sister organisations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We have supportive relationships with fellow regulators to exchange best practice.
It is our ambition to be a high performing regulator that protects the public through the effective, proportionate regulation of social workers and their training. We strive to provide users of social work services and the public with confidence in our work and in the social work profession. We are doing this by working towards higher quality educational standards for social workers and excellent registration and conduct arrangements that ensure that only suitable people join and remain in the profession. We endeavour to promote a good understanding of our role and the benefits of professionalism amongst social workers.
Your rights to information
In line with the Freedom of information Act 2000, the GSCC has made information that shows how we are carrying out our mission and aims publicly available.
The GSCC maintains a ‘publication scheme’ (PDF) or route map that will help you find information about the GSCC quickly and easily.
As part of the government transparency of information plan, the GSCC is making available information about its spending. This information can be found on our transparency of spend page.
Our principles, priorities and values
In upholding our responsibilities as the workforce regulator we aim to:
- seek and respond to the views of the public, people who use social work services, employers and social workers
- build constructive relationships with our partners and stakeholders
- be independent, clear, fair, open, collaborative, efficient and effective in what we do
- embrace human rights, equality and diversity in all that we do
- learn and develop as an organisation
- invest in our people and make the GSCC an excellent employer.
Our priorities as an organisation are:
- the protection of the public through improved educational standards, excellence in registering social workers, and effective conduct systems
- effective working with key partners
- excellent customer service and value for money
- robust governance arrangements
- excellent leadership and staff engagement
- strong organisational capability and performance.
In working towards our ambition we have adopted the following values:
These values shape how we interact with each other, our business partners, stakeholders and customers. They underpin our performance appraisal processes and guide our behaviour.
Freedom of Information Act
The Freedom of Information Act enables you to get information held by public bodies, like us, in two ways:
- through a publication scheme – which tells you what information is readily available to the public
- by your general right of access – which enables you to get information that may be not readily available
Making a FOI request
If the information you need is not in the publication scheme you can also contact us to request information under the FOI Act.
Please email your requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Other professional associations
Find out about some of the professional associations in social care.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7072 7433
The Association of Directors of Social Services (ADSS) represents all 179 directors of social services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7960 0660
The Health, Education and Social Care (HESC) Chamber of the First–tier Tribunal holds the jurisdictions of Mental Health Review, Care Standards and Special Educational Needs and Disability.
Tel: +44 (0)20 8397 1411
The Social Care Association (SCA) is the association for all staff groups in the social care service.
Tel: +44 (0)845 355 0845
Unison is Britain’s biggest trade union with over 1.3 million members. Including those working in the social care and health services.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7462 3260
The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) supports and represents recruitment professionals, businesses and agencies in the UK.
Social care news
Find out the latest social care news.
Tel: +44 (0)20 8652 4861
Visit Community Care for the latest news, features, debates and legal updates for all areas of the social care profession.
Visit Society Guardian for rolling news coverage, comment, special reports on social care and health, child protection, and other issues in public services.
News, features, and comment for everyone working with children and families.
For the latest news and developments across local government.
Social care resources
Other general information and resources related to social care.
Info4local provides local authorities with information on government departments, agencies and public bodies. It is run by a group of seven departments, with Communities and Local Government in the lead. Click on the info4local button to register now for your daily info4local update on the latest government information.
Guide2care is an information service for those providing care or seeking information about the different care options available.
Community Service Volunteers (CSV) is a national charity organising full-time volunteer placements across the UK all based in social care and health settings.
Sourceuk is the leading internet journal for public sector managers includes an official news and information service.
Practice is an online journal in social work practice.