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Regulator of social workers suspends voluntary removal process, instructs external counsel to advise

Social Work England has suspended a process of accepted disposal where social workers subject to fitness to practice proceedings could voluntarily retire from its register.

The move, revealed by SWE’s chief executive Colum Conway in a report last month, came after the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) expressed concern about the circumstances where accepted disposal had been used by case examiners.

Conway said the process for voluntary removal had been developed in collaboration with Government lawyers in early 2019 and the proposals had been subject to public consultation later in the year.

He added that SWE’s internal decision review group had reviewed each outcome produced using this process so far.

However, following the concerns raised by the Professional Standards Authority, it had taken action to suspend the process, Conway said.

He said SWE had instructed external legal counsel “to advise again on the established process and any suitable amendments if required”.

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