Registration & Inspection Officer

It is the job of the registration and inspection officer to make sure that standards are met in homes such as residential adults' and children's homes.  Registration and inspection officers are allocated a number of homes to look after, sometimes specialising in either children's or adults' establishments, depending on the authority they work for.

Work Environment
They have an office base in the council, but they spend a great deal of time out and about, visiting the establishments they are responsible for.  They are also involved in numerous meetings to discuss specific cases with colleagues and other professionals, and to make decisions about action to be taken.  They work normal council hours of 37-hours a week, although flexible working patterns such as job-share and flexitime are also be likely to be available.

Daily Activities
Primarily, registration and inspection officers deal with all aspects relating to registering and inspecting homes, making sure that the services provided are up to scratch.  They are likely to:

  • work as part of a registration and inspection team to devise and carry out a programme of inspections; 
  • visit homes and evaluate their success against specific criteria; 
  • take advice or consult with other professionals on any appropriate action to be taken if standards are lacking; 
  • write up reports, building in provision for follow-up checks to make sure changes have been carried out; 
  • look into the details of all new applicants proposing to open homes or start up other relevant services; 
  • work with them to make sure that their department is satisfied that they and their managers understand what is required of them and are able to provide a high standard of care; 
  • work on particular projects when necessary - with a specific group such as young people with learning difficulties, for example; 
  • keep records and information systems including computerised databases - and make sure they are continually updated and provide the necessary information; 
  • write reports and letters on any matters relating to the services that are registered and inspected - such as reports on an inspection they have made, which will be made available to the general public; 
  • meet deadlines to make sure work is carried out within a time frame; 
  • provide records and statistics not only to colleagues within the council but also to people outside the authority, so that they could be assessed for quality assurance, used for monitoring purposes, or as a basis for developing services; 
  • liaise and have meetings with managers and owners of services, health authority staff, staff of other agencies such as environmental health officers, other social services staff, and council colleagues such as legal officers; 
  • prepare cases and present evidence to committee or sub-committee hearings, tribunals, magistrates and other courts; 
  • collaborate with local educational and training agencies to develop training schemes for staff and management - and take part in them; 
  • investigate complaints about standards of services.

Skills & Interests
Officers need to have:

  • a logical and methodical approach to their work; 
  • an eye for detail and good organisational skills;
  • an ability to listen to all sides of a case and to draw out the salient points; 
  • good communication skills, both written and verbal; 
  • negotiating skills; 
  • an ability to get on with all kinds of people; 
  • teamworking skills; 
  • a driving licence.

Entry Requirements
To be a registration and inspection officer requires a diploma or degree in social work, or another related subject.  Entry onto a social work degree course will require GCSEs (or equivalent) in English and Mathematics at grade C or above.  Although universities will set their own conditions of entrance, possible useful A-level (or equivalent) subjects would be law, sociology or psychology.  Vocational GCSEs and A-level subjects may also be useful.

However, candidates over 21 do not need formal academic qualifications but need to demonstrate that they are capable of studying at the higher level - by enrolling on an Access course, for example.  They also need the pre-training experience in a social work setting.  It is usual to have between three and five years experience after qualification (it varies according to the employer), together with experience of care and related proceedings, as well as court work.  Some authorities employ people with a nursing or health visitor background as registration and inspection officers.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
There may be limited opportunities for promotion within the department an officer works for or they may need to move authority.  Registration and inspection officers may work in independent units, commissioned by local authorities and paid at an hourly or sessional rate.

Further Information & Services
British Association of Social Workers
Care Council for Wales
Community Care
Department of Health
Health & Care Professions Council
Homes & Communities Agency
Skills for Care
Social Care Association

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales ( or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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