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Continuous professional learning (CPL)

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.

The SSSC Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers say that all registered workers must undertake relevant learning to maintain and improve their knowledge and skills and contribute to the learning and development of others.

You must keep a record of your own CPL. When you renew your registration, we will ask you to confirm you have completed the required amount of CPL and that you have kept a record of your learning.

We will choose a random sample of registrants for CPL endorsement. If we choose to sample your CPL, we may ask you to review your learning with your supervisor.

There are different CPL arrangements for newly qualified social workers (NQSWs).

Read more on the dedicated NQSWs CPL website

Download the guidance

You can download a pdf version of the CPL guidance

Download and print the six steps of continuous professional learning poster

Frequently asked questions

Read some frequently asked questions about CPL here.


There are different CPL requirements for newly qualified social workers (NSQW). Read more on the dedicated NQSWs CPL website.

About the new CPL

Read more about the new CPL requirement in our news articles.

Reports from the 2018-19 PRTL Review

You can access the reports from the PRTL review we’ve carried out during 2018-19 below.

Summary report - Evaluation of post registration training and learning test sites

Survey report - Developing a new continuous learning requirement



How much learning do I need to do?

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

When you register, we will tell you how much CPL you need to do during each registration period.

You can choose how to spread your learning across your registration period. The CPL hours you are required to do are the minimum and you may do a lot more. You can find out more about registration and the required CPL hours using the Help with Register parts, fees and qualifications tool.

If you are a social worker your CPL will also include specific hours of learning that relate to protecting children and adults from harm.


What counts as CPL?

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

We are learning all the time in lots of different ways. We learn from formal training and qualifications and from short, informal conversations which help us think about the way we work and change the way we practice.

Below are some examples of what CPL can include.

  • Certificated learning: qualifications, academic modules, SVQ units, HNC/HND units, certificates, degrees and diplomas.
  • Courses, workshops and webinars: courses run by your own or another organisation, online learning.
  • Learning about your organisation: reading your organisation’s guidance, policy and procedures (so you know what standards are expected).
  • Learning about other organisations: visiting other organisations, speaking with other people about their role.
  • Learning from others: shadowing (in your own or another organisation), observing meetings, conversations with colleagues or people you support which help you think about your practice and do things differently.
  • Learning in groups: team meetings where learning activities take place, group supervision, formal or informal learning discussions, professional networking.
  • Learning for new work: preparing for new work or a different role, talking with colleagues, reading guidelines, books or research.
  • Reflective learning: discussions with your supervisor or with a mentor, buddy or colleague, Open Badges, reflecting on your learning from work and changes you have made to your practice.
  • Supporting others: mentoring, buddying, supporting someone’s learning (eg for a qualification), supporting a new worker’s induction.
  • Reading and listening: books, professional journals, newspaper articles, website articles, podcasts.
  • TV or video learning: programmes such as documentaries which relate to your work or give you new information about best practice.



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.

You must keep a record of your learning. Your record should include:

  • the amount of learning (in hours or days)
  • what you learned
  • how your learning made a difference to your practice.

It’s up to you how you record your learning. You can use a learning log, notes or a mixture of ways including diagrams, mind maps, video or audio.

The MyLearning app is a recording tool for CPL we’ve produced to help you. It provides a simple way to record your learning as you go along. Find out more and download it for free here

Make sure you record the dates and how much learning you have done. You can include any CPL hours from the first day until the last day of your registration period. One day equals six hours of CPL.

If your employer has a system to record training and learning, you can use this to record your CPL. If your employer’s system is only able to record training courses and not other types of learning (eg reading, shadowing) you will need to record all the learning you want to include as CPL in another way.

If you change employer, you must remember to keep a copy of your CPL record, so you are able to evidence your hours of learning when you renew your registration.

To help you review and reflect on your learning, we’d encourage you to complete the CPL Open Badge. You can find out more on the Open Badges website.


How do I confirm I have completed my CPL?

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

When it is time to renew your registration, we will ask you to confirm that you have:

  • completed the required hours of CPL
  • kept a record of your learning.

We will also ask whether you have:


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.

Since your last registration if you have:

  • completed a suitable qualification required for registration


we won’t ask for any more information, as this shows us that others have endorsed part of your learning.

If you have not done either of these, we will ask you to have a CPL review discussion with your supervisor or line manager before you renew your registration. We’ll provide guidance and three questions for you to consider, one about your learning journey and two about the SSSC Codes of Practice.

When you renew your registration, we will ask you to submit written responses to the two questions about the SSSC Codes of Practice and confirm the CPL review discussion has taken place. Your supervisor will be asked to confirm this.

The CPL review and endorsement will normally involve your supervisor, line manager or the person you report to at work who knows about the work you do. If you do not report to one person, for example if you lead a project which has a management committee or project board, you should ask the person who knows your work best.



Find out more about registering with the SSSC including what qualifications you need and how much it costs.

Supporting the workforce

Discover our free learning resources and how our work can support your learning and development.

Fitness to practise

Read more about our fitness to practise process, registrant responsibilities and how to make a complaint about a worker.