Social Work Together: councils sign-up

Social Work Together is helping councils quickly access qualified social workers to bolster vital front-line services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Social Work Together

In early 2020, Social Work England issued an urgent appeal to invite social workers back to the frontline to support the local response to COVID-19. 

The Social Work Together campaign enables councils and local authorities to continue to deliver essential services, where existing teams need respite due to illness, caring demands or other challenges.

Register now or access your login to find experienced social workers either in your area or those who can provide support remotely.


Social Work Together: expertise/skills distribution across candidates registered with SWT
Councils, registered with Social Work Together, can access a range of expertise and skills to support the local response to COVID-19

Accessibility description of pie chart above

Councils, registered with Social Work Together, can access a range of expertise and skills to support the local response to COVID-19:

40 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in child protection

35 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in other

34 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in children in care

33 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in supporting social workers

29 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in adults with disabilities

22 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in fostering and adoption

20 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in crisis intervention and emergency

14 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in children with disabilities

7 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS)

6 percent of candidates have expertise and skills in approved mental health profession (AMHP)


The LGA, in partnership with Social Work England, the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care, is providing this free platform for councils and local authorities to quickly find and connect with qualified and registered social workers. This can be used to complement existing recruitment campaigns that councils have underway.

Through the platform, councils will be able to review the skills and locations of candidates and get in touch with them directly to discuss employment opportunities.


I want to sign up, but when I click apply the website refers to me as a candidate. Is this right?

Yes, that is correct. The council registration form is hosted on our recruitment website and so all council applicants are classed as ‘candidates’ by our system.

Please ensure that you click ‘apply’ on the council-specific advert in the first instance. We have set out the steps to follow on how to complete the correct application form here.

I’ve registered as an employer – what happens now?

Thank you. You will now be able to review our candidates’ skills on our online portal and use our search facility to find those returning to work in your area (or further afield if social workers will be working remotely).

Please use the unique login details emailed to you. You will then be able to compare the needs of your organisation against the skills and needs of each individual social worker.

The website says ‘vacancy’ – does this mean that candidates are applying for a specific role or just expressing their interest in supporting the coronavirus (COVID-19) effort?

Candidates are expressing an interest in supporting the coronavirus (COVID-19) effort, letting local authorities know about their skills and experience. They are not applying for a specific vacancy.

As an employer, you can decide how and where you employ them and for what length of time. You should discuss and agree the terms of employment with each candidate in a way that benefits both parties.

I’m having problems with registering or viewing candidate details – what do I do?

If you have registered on the site but are unable to view a candidate’s details, please refresh your page as the candidate may have already agreed to work with another council. If you are still experiencing problems, please email us and we will be happy to help.

Will the candidates contact us?

No. Candidates will register their interest on our online portal, and you will be able to review their skills and access their contact details.

Will candidates be registered with Social Work England to work in a statutory role?

Yes, unless the system indicates otherwise. We will check each candidate to ascertain whether they are on the temporary register, permanent register or not on the register with Social Work England.

Will candidates have been reference-checked?

No. Candidates have not been asked to provide reference details and you should follow your own reference and recruitment procedures.

What is the difference between the temporary and permanent register of social workers?

The Coronavirus Act 2020 gave Social Work England the power to provide temporary registration to social workers in order to create extra resource to support communities. Social Work England has issued an urgent appeal to bring former social workers back to the frontline to support the local response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

So far, there has been a very positive response. The temporary register is part of Social Work England’s ‘permanent’ register of social workers. However, those on the temporary register will have to re-apply for permanent registration once the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency has ended. 

For more information on the temporary register, please visit Social Work England’s website.

Will candidates have a DBS check?

Some of those registered on the portal may already have a valid DBS, but we are not checking this ourselves. There have been recent changes to the DBS scheme to make checks free for those working on the coronavirus (COVID-19) effort. However, any DBS granted through the free scheme cannot be registered with the update service meaning that it is not truly portable.

Therefore, we are advising each council (the employer) to request the DBS in their own usual way. To access a free DBS check, please use your existing provider and let them know that the check is for a COVID-19 role. In very exceptional circumstances the LGA can provide a DBS checking service and you should contact if you need this.

My organisation isn’t a council, but we would like to hire social workers – can I sign up?

Social Work Together is supporting social workers to connect with councils only at this stage. We appreciate that many organisations are pulling together to support individuals and communities in great need, and we thank you for the vital work you are doing.

If you already work with your local council to deliver social work services, please contact them directly as they may be able to support you in finding additional staff. If we are able to expand our campaign to incorporate other employers, we will advertise this.

Will candidates have access to any training whilst in the talent pool and when they start work?

Yes. We have made learning resources available to all candidates in the talent pool to provide them with refresher training before their first day of work with you. However, this is not meant to substitute any training or induction that you will offer as an employer.

Can my employee have more than one job, and what happens if they are furloughed?

Yes. If your employee has more than one employer, they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually. Employees can be furloughed in one job and receive a furloughed payment but continue working for another employer and receive their normal wages.

“Social workers do a hugely important job supporting families and our most vulnerable. Allowing a fast-track way to temporarily return to practice during this difficult time is a much-needed boost for an already over-stretched social care workforce." - LGA Chairman, Cllr James Jamieson

Key information

We are constantly looking to showcase where councils have successfully used the Social Work Together platform. Please get in touch if you would like to share where your council and community has benefitted from additional social worker support during COVID-19

Our Workforce team is always updating Social Work England, Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care about this campaign to provide vital support and resources to councils.