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What is the CPL requirement?

Continuous professional learning (CPL) is the learning we do for work which helps us develop our knowledge, skills and professional behaviour so we can deliver our best practice.

Why is CPL important?

CPL is important because learning helps us develop our skills to improve the way we work with people. Learning gives us new ideas, new ways of thinking and helps us grow and develop in our professional role. New knowledge helps us understand the situations of the people we work with, support them and work in partnership with them to achieve the best outcomes.

Social service employers should encourage and support staff with their CPL. When an organisation promotes a workplace learning culture it contributes to a service being the best it can be. The Code of Practice for Employers of Social Service Workers require that:

‘As a social service employer, you must provide learning and development opportunities to enable social service workers to strengthen and develop their skills and knowledge’.

Where can I find learning resources?

If your employer has learning resources, you can use these to support your CPL.

Learning Zone, Step into Leadership and Open Badge websites have lots of resources to support your learning. You can also see a full list of our SSSC resources here.


How much learning do I need to do?

You need to complete a set number of hours of learning during each registration period.

How do I know how much CPL I need to do?

You can find out more about CPL requirements for each part of the Register on our Help with Register parts, fees and qualifications tool.

Do part time workers need to do the same hours of CPL as full time workers?

Everyone needs to complete the same number of CPL hours for their Register part. This includes full time, part time, sessional, self-employed and agency workers.

Do I need to do a set amount of learning every year?

Ideally you will be learning and recording your learning all the time, but it is up to you how you spread your learning across your period of registration. The CPL hours are the minimum we require for you to register with us. You may do a lot more or your organisation may require you to do more.

Can I claim for more than six hours CPL in one day?

A full day will normally be six hours without breaks. If you do more than six hours (for example, an evening workshop or study) you should record the details and the number of hours.

What if I am on more than one part of the Register?

There are different CPL requirements for each part of the Register. If you have different jobs or roles you may be registered on more than one part of the Register and need to confirm you have completed the required amount of CPL for each.

It’s possible much of your learning will be relevant to your practice across your different jobs or roles. We’re not asking you to duplicate your learning, but you should make sure that your learning meets the required CPL for each Register part. You can find out more about different parts of the Register on the Help with Register parts, fees and qualifications tool.

What if I have a learning or qualification condition on my registration?

We may have allowed you to register with a condition that you gain a qualification which is required for your role, for example an SVQ, PDA or a management qualification. This qualification is a requirement of your registration and you must complete it by the date we have given you, which is normally the date of your registration renewal. You can include your learning from your qualification as CPL hours.


What counts as CPL?

It’s not just about formal training courses – it can be everyday learning in your workplace, reading, supervision, Open Badges and more.

Can I include short periods of learning?

You can record short periods of learning, for example learning from talking informally with other workers or a supervisor. You may learn from watching others do a new task, doing new work yourself, from meetings where you learn something new, from listening to a short podcast or finding out new information from a website. You can read more about what counts as CPL on our Continuous professional learning page.

How do I record learning from my everyday work?

We all learn from practice experiences as they occur or in reflection afterwards and you can include this learning as CPL. It’s important to only record learning from your practice which is new. Some examples might include:

  • speaking with other people and learning about their role
  • conversations with colleagues or people you support which help you think about your practice and do things differently
  • team meetings where learning activities take place
  • working alongside a colleague to learn a task or role which is new.

Please make sure your CPL record is fully anonymised and no one else can be identified by what you record, that includes people using services and colleagues.

Can I include personal learning that is not part of my work but helps my professional development?

If you can show you have gained professional development from a personal learning experience, whatever the source, you may include it in your CPL record. Sometimes, this learning is through having other roles and experiences in life, including as someone using services, a carer or volunteer. Such experiences can bring important and different perspectives to understanding and practice.

What are the additional requirements for social workers?

Social workers must include at least five days or 30 hours CPL which focuses on working effectively with colleagues and other professionals to identify, assess and manage risk to vulnerable groups. This is to make sure you can meet your primary responsibility of protecting children and adults from harm. This is included in the 90 hours you must complete during your three year registration period.

Are there different requirements for newly qualified social workers (NQSWs)?

There are different CPL arrangements for NQSWs.  Read more on the NQSW continuous professional learning page.


How should I record my learning?

Record your learning as you go along in the way that suits you best, like a learning log, your employer’s system or the MyLearning app.

Do I need to keep a formal record of my learning?

It’s up to you how you record your learning. You need to show you have completed the required hours of CPL during your period of registration. If your organisation has a system for recording learning you may want to use this. If not, or if your organisation’s system only records formal training courses, you can keep your own record of all the learning you do. Your record can be written or online using something like our MyLearning app and you can use a mix of ways to record your learning, for example reflective notes, audio, video or feedback from others.

Do I need to share my CPL record with my supervisor?

It’s your responsibility to keep a record of your learning. If you are not using your employer’s recording or learning management system, your CPL record belongs to you. You will need to discuss it with your supervisor as part of your supervision or development discussions and show that you have met your CPL requirement to renew registration.

If you are using your employer’s system remember to take your CPL record with you if you move job so you have it when it’s time to renew your registration and to discuss with your new employer.


How do I confirm I have completed my CPL?

When you renew your registration, we’ll ask you to confirm you’ve completed the required hours of learning and kept a record.

What if I haven’t completed the required CPL hours?

Each registration period is either three or five years depending on the Register part, so most people will easily complete the required CPL hours.

We know there may be exceptional circumstances when people have not been to complete their CPL. This might include a long period of illness or maternity leave. Remember you can use lots of different types of learning to meet your CPL requirement and keep your knowledge and skills up to date.

If you haven’t completed your CPL hours, or think you may not be able to, you should talk to your supervisor as soon as possible. Maybe you have done more CPL hours than you have recorded and your supervisor can discuss your learning with you or agree an action plan to complete the CPL hours you need to do.

When you renew registration using MySSSC we’ll ask you to confirm you have done the required CPL hours. If you say you haven’t, we’ll email to ask the reasons. We consider reasonable exceptional circumstances on an individual basis.

CPL is a requirement of your registration and we are unable to renew your registration if you haven’t completed your CPL. We may remove your registration and you may not be able to work.

How can managers support workers with their CPL?

Social service employers should encourage and support staff with their CPL. When an organisation promotes a workplace learning culture it contributes to a service being the best it can be. The Code of Practice for Employers of Social Service Workers require that:

‘As a social service employer, you must provide learning and development opportunities to enable social service workers to strengthen and develop their skills and knowledge’.

What happens if my workers haven’t met their CPL requirements?

Continuing to learn and keeping a record of learning are registration requirements. If a worker hasn’t met their CPL requirements, they won’t be able to renew registration with us. Employers have a legal responsibility to make sure all their staff are correctly registered. It is an offence to continue to employ an unregistered worker for more than 12 months after their start date in a role recognised for registration (this is normally six months but is currently extended under COVID-19 legislation).

How can I check if my staff are registered?

You can manage and track your workers’ registration on MySSSC by becoming a countersignatory which will allow you to have employer access. You can read our countersignatory guidance here.


What happens if my CPL is chosen for sampling?

If we choose to sample your CPL, we may ask you to review your learning with your supervisor. We will ask a small number of registered workers to have their CPL endorsed.

How will I know if I am being sampled?

If we choose to sample your CPL, we’ll email you three months before you are due to renew registration.

What does sampling mean?

When we sample CPL we won’t ask to see your full CPL record but will ask for endorsement of your learning. Endorsement means that someone has seen part of your learning or knows about your learning. Your learning can be endorsed in one of three ways:

  1. gain a qualification required for registration during the current registration period (eg an SVQ, PDA or management qualification) or
  2. complete the CPL Open Badge which you can find on our Open Badges website or
  3. have a CPL review discussion with your supervisor.

When you renew your registration, we’ll ask you to confirm if you have gained a qualification for registration or the CPL Open Badge. If you have, we won’t ask for more information and you can renew your registration as normal. If you have not, we will ask you to have a CPL review discussion with your supervisor.

What is the CPL Open Badge?

There are lots of different open badges. If we sample your CPL we want to know if you have completed the specific CPL Open Badge as this is the only one we accept as endorsement of CPL.

Find out more about the CPL Open Badge here.

This badge asks you to reflect on your learning record and requires endorsement from your supervisor. You can use learning from any of the other open badges to count towards your CPL hours.

What is meant by a qualification for registration?

These are qualifications which are required for your job role, which we ask you to have as part of your registration. Examples include SVQ or management qualifications.

You may complete other qualifications during your registration period. These are not counted as qualifications for registration but can be included as CPL hours.

What happens in the CPL review discussion with my supervisor?

A CPL review discussion with your supervisor is about the learning you have done during your registration period. It should include:

  • discussion about the CPL hours you have completed
  • how you have used that learning in your work
  • what difference this learning has made to your practice, the people you support and to your organisation.

We’ll provide you with three questions about your learning to support your CPL review discussion.

What is my supervisor endorsing in a CPL review discussion?

Your supervisor is confirming they have discussed your CPL with you and to the best of their knowledge you have done the required CPL to renew registration.

What happens if I can’t meet with my supervisor for a CPL review discussion in time to renew my registration?

If you can, meet another supervisor or manager to complete the CPL review discussion. If not; you should contact us as soon as possible to discuss your situation. You should also complete as much of your registration renewal as possible.

I am a social worker who is not employed and have been asked to have a CPL review. Who can endorse my CPL?

Social workers are allowed to remain on the register if they are not employed but must meet their CPL requirement and have their CPL endorsed if sampled. This may include:

  • workers who do not have a supervisor because they are unemployed but looking for work
  • volunteers who do not have a supervisor
  • workers who work independently or are consultants
  • retired workers who choose to remain on the register

If you have recently left work you may be able to ask your previous supervisor to have a CPL review discussion with you. If this is not possible you can ask a qualified registered social worker to have a CPL review discussion with you. This means sharing your CPL learning with this person who will be asked to endorse your CPL. The person having the CPL review discussion with you will not be able to validate that you have undertaken the CPL hours you’ve recorded but will be asked to confirm that to the best of their knowledge, given the discussion they’ve had with you, you have met the CPL requirement.

Included in your registration renewal application are two questions about your learning related to the SSSC Codes of Practice which you will have considered in your CPL review discussion. Once your application is complete, we’ll send a copy of your responses to these two questions to the person who has endorsed your CPL and ask them to sign it.

What information do I need to give the SSSC after my CPL review discussion?

After your CPL review discussion, you can complete your renewal application as normal. Included in your application are the two questions about your learning related to the SSSC Codes of Practice which you considered in your CPL review discussion. Once your application is complete, we’ll send a copy of your responses to these two questions to your supervisor and ask them to sign it.

What does the SSSC do with the information I provide?

We will collate the responses to the two questions about the SSSC Codes of Practice and use the information to help us identify themes or gaps in learning. This information will help us to develop our resources to support CPL for the whole social service sector.

Will the SSSC contact me or give me feedback after I provide this information?

We will contact you if we require further information about your renewal or your CPL. If you have completed your renewal application and included all the information we require we will email to confirm your renewal.