Granting or refusing applications
144.Applications for registration which satisfy the requirements in section 83 must be granted by the registrar. Anyone whose application for registration has been refused has the right to appeal the registrar’s decision to a registration appeals panel who will review the decision (see sections 101 to 103).
145.The registration conditions in sections 83 to 84 do not apply to visiting social workers. The expression “visiting social workers” refers to social workers from EEA States or Switzerland who are lawfully established to practise social work in their home country but are practising in the United Kingdom on a temporary or occasional basis (see section 90). For an explanation of EEA States see paragraph 143 above.
146.What constitutes temporary or occasional practice is a question of fact which will vary from case to case and it will be for SCW to determine although applicants can appeal SCW’s decision to the First Tier Tribunal (see section 105). The relevant law on this is contained in Part 2 of the General Systems Regulations (see the definition in section 90(8)) The General System Regulations is the system for the recognition of professional qualifications introduced by Directive 89/48/EEC and supplemented by Directive 92/51/EEC. It is to enable those who are qualified to practise a profession in an EEA country or Switzerland to have their qualifications recognised in another EEA country or Switzerland, in order to practise there. Visiting social workers are still established as social workers in their home country; for this reason there are different arrangements for checking their qualifications to determine whether they meet the standards of proficiency for practice in Wales. This is different to becoming established in Wales and being registered in the social worker part of the register. In order to register in the social worker part of the register, social workers who have qualified outside Wales are required to satisfy the registration conditions referred to above.
147.Visiting social workers are not required to demonstrate that they are appropriately qualified or fit to practise in accordance with sections 83 and 84 provided that they are lawfully allowed to practise in their own country and are only practising in the United Kingdom temporarily. If they have the benefit of regulation 8 of the General Systems Regulations they must be registered by the registrar and appear in the visiting European part of the register. Regulation 8 enables SCW to check the qualifications of visiting social workers for any substantial differences which are harmful to public health or safety and if there are any such difference SCW can require the visiting social worker to pass an aptitude test.
148.An entry for applicants whose applications for registration are granted will be included in the part of the register to which their employment relates. Section 91 sets out the information that will appear on the register. The Welsh Ministers can set out in regulations that the register must show additional qualifications or experience that the registered person has gained. For example, SCW could annotate an entry to show that the registered person has gained an additional qualification which has been quality assured by SCW or to show that a social worker has completed a senior social work programme. SCW can make rules requiring or authorising the registrar to include other information in an entry in the register (subsection (2)(a)). For example, rules made under this subsection could require the registrar to include information about the area where the registered person is employed. Rules made under this section could also require the registrar to include information in the register on the Welsh language skills of registered persons.
149.SCW will have the power by rules to specify that an entry in the register will lapse if not renewed (section 86). It is for SCW to specify the period after which a registration will lapse. SCW may specify different periods for different categories of social care worker. For renewals, registered persons do not have to demonstrate that they are appropriately qualified as they have already had to demonstrate this when they first applied to be registered. Rather they must demonstrate that they have complied with any continuing professional development requirements imposed by Social Care Wales under section 113 (see subsection (3)). This could include work-based learning, seminars, teaching or other activities which aim to advance a registered person’s professional development.
150.Entries in the register that are not renewed will automatically lapse (section 87). This will not be the case if the registered person is subject to fitness to practise proceedings or a fitness to practise panel has determined that his or her fitness to practise is impaired (see explanatory notes on Part 6 for explanation of the fitness to practise procedures). This is to avoid a situation where a registered person can let his or her registration lapse as a way of avoiding his or her case being subject to examination and possibly a sanction being imposed.