Is registration compulsory?

Many groups of social service workers are now required to register with us if they are not already registered with another regulatory body, for example the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Registration is compulsory for the majority of workers required to register with the SSSC. If you fall into any of the groups recognised for registration you need to register with us or another regulatory body by the specified date. If you don’t it will mean your employer will be committing an offence if they continue to employ you in this role.

Workers new into a role recognised for registration will have six months from the date they start to register with the SSSC.

You can see when workers need to register and when it is compulsory by visiting the Who should apply to register? page.

New workers

A new worker can work whilst we are processing their application. You should apply for registration as soon as possible on starting your new employment and should achieve registration within six months.

Student social workers

You are required to register with the SSSC and should apply for registration when you are offered a place on a social work course.

If you are a registered social work student and also working in a service where you are required to be registered with us, your registration as a student will not cover your post and you need to apply for registration on the part of the Register related to your employment.

Social workers

Social workers must register under each of the functions they carry out. For example, if you work as a manager of a care home service for adults and a social worker you should register on both parts of the Register.

More than one job that requires registration

If you have more than one job that is recognised for registration with the SSSC, you must be registered for each role you are carrying out. This means that you may be required to be registered on more than one part of the Register.

Secondments and acting-up periods

Workers should only be registered according to the role they carry out. If you are working in a seconded or acting-up post, it might mean you need to move to a different part of the SSSC Register or you may even have to come off the Register altogether.

Here’s what you need to do

Check to see if you are currently working in a post that requires registration. You can either ask your employer or check our website. You’ll find all the different parts of our Register on our website.

If you are seconded to a post that requires registration and you will be in this post for more than six months, you need to come off the part of the Register for your original post. You then need to apply to the part of the Register for the seconded post.

If you are seconded to a post that does not require registration, you need to come off the part of the Register for your original post. You will then have six months to reapply when you return to your original post.


You may not be required to pay an application fee if you are within six months of your current registration period or you have paid an annual or renewal fee within the last six months. Find out more about fees here.

Working with young people beyond the age of 16 and into young adulthood

The Continuing Care legislation supports continuing care for young people beyond the age of 16 and into young adulthood and this may mean for some residential childcare services they are not only caring for children and young people but also for young adults. 

We have had questions about how staff and services should be registered with us and the Care Inspectorate, given that young people will move from childhood to adulthood, while being supported by the same workers and services. 

There will be no registration changes to either the services registered by the Care Inspectorate or the individual workers registered with SSSC in respect of residential services. So people working in care homes for children and young people and school care accommodation services will continue to be registered on the parts of the SSSC Register for child care and residential school care so there won’t be any changes to their registration.

Employers’ responsibilities

Employers have a legal responsibility to make sure that all of their staff are appropriately registered. Employers are committing an offence if they continue to employ an unregistered worker for more than six months after their start date in a role recognised for registration.

You can check a worker’s registration status on the SSSC Register or on your MySSSC account. MySSSC for employers gives you enhanced online access to the Register so that you can monitor the registration status of your staff.