How local authorities should collect and submit data to complete the children’s social work workforce census.

The children’s social work workforce census is an annual statutory census for all local authorities. You must complete statutory censuses by law unless there’s a good reason not to.

The census covers the year from 1 October to 30 September.

It collects data on all children and family social worker staff employed during the census year. This includes staff:

  • who were employed on or before 30 September
  • who left employment during the census year
  • who were employed through an agency on or before 30 September

Local authorities should issue privacy notices to all members of staff. Privacy notices tell staff members about the details of the census and their rights under the Data Protection Act.

Important dates

2018 to 2019 census dates:

  • the census opens on Tuesday 1 October 2019
  • the deadline for submitting data is Friday 29 November 2019

Submit your data

You’ll need to:

  • register and log in with DfE Sign-in
  • use COLLECT to submit your data

Please contact your school or local authority approver, if:

  • you want to request a DfE Sign-in username or password so you can access COLLECT
  • ‘children’s social work workforce census’ is not on the list of collections you can see in COLLECT

Get help using DfE Sign-in

If you do not know who your approver is, please use the DfE Sign-in request form.

If you’ve forgotten your password, use DfE Sign-in to reset it. You will need to click ‘Start now’ and then the ‘I’ve forgotten my password’ link.

Note that we’ll only be able to change the status of your data submission to ‘authorised’ once you’ve cleared all errors in the data in COLLECT.

Census documents

The following guidance documents will help you complete the 2018 to 2019 census:

If you need help

Submitting data

For complex questions, please use the service request form. We aim to answer your question within 5 working days.


Please use the feedback form if you have any comments about our data collection service, including COLLECT and the helpdesk service.

Published 17 October 2017
Last updated 13 August 2019 + show all updates

  1. Dates for 2018 to 2019 census added. Links to census documents updated.
  2. Added link to ‘COLLECT report specifications’ under census documents.
  3. Updated ‘Submit your data section’ and DfE Sign-in help links.
  4. Updated COLLECT link from secure access to DfE sign in.
  5. Dates for 2017 to 2018 census added. Outdated links to COLLECT report specifications and validation rules removed. These links will be reinstated when updated documents are available.
  6. First published.