Skip to main content
social worker (image)

11 Mar 2024

Your learning SSSC registration

Introducing return to practice requirements for social workers

Following our consultation in autumn 2023 we’re introducing return to practice requirements for social workers who’ve been out of social work practice and off the SSSC Register for more than two years. The new requirements will take effect from 3 June 2024.

Six-month condition 

Social workers will be able to register with a condition to meet the return to practice requirements within six months. This change is in response to what social workers, employers and other key stakeholders told us during our consultation, which proposed social workers would need to meet the requirements before registering. 

If we decide a social worker already meets the return to practice requirements when they apply for registration, we will register them without a condition. 

Themes and evidence 

Feedback from the consultation told us our proposed themes for learning and how we expect social workers to evidence their learning were appropriate and covered all the areas that returning social workers would need to refresh their knowledge and skills.  

The themes for learning are: 

  • current legislation and policy
  • social work skills, knowledge, understanding and practice  
  • the key codes and standards for practice  
  • adult and child protection.  

Supervised practice, informal and formal learning are all part of the return to practice requirements. 

Return to practice will be a recognised pathway within the new continuous professional learning (CPL) requirements, which also takes effect on 3 June 2024. 

Hours of learning 

We’ve reduced the number of hours of formal learning required in response to feedback we received during the consultation that suggested it might be too challenging to complete. 

The minimum hours of formal learning and supervised practice required is tiered depending on how long social workers have been out of practice.

Out of practice Requirements 

Less than two years 

No requirement

Two to five years: 180 hours  

Use a mixture of supervised practice, formal and informal learning 

Supervised practice: Minimum 60 hours   

Formal learning: Minimum 40 hours    

Over five years: 360 hours  


Use a mixture of supervised practice, formal and informal learning    

Supervised practice: Minimum 120 hours   

Formal learning: Minimum 80 hours   


During the consultation people asked for clear guidance and we are developing this to support registrants when they submit evidence of their learning to us.  

Contact information

Nichola Stark
Digital Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Scottish Social Services Council