Codes of practice for all social care workers and employers were
published on Monday, writes David
Workers will have to abide by the codes or face being struck-off
or suspended from a new professional register.
Registration of qualified social workers will begin next year,
but it will take a decade to include all the estimated 1.2 million
social care staff in the UK. The annual registration fee is
expected to be between £20 and £30.
Employers must take the codes into account when making decisions
about the conduct of staff. The four national social care councils
will set up conduct committees to consider serious beaches of the
codes of practice.
The National Care Standards Commission will require all staff
and managers to comply with the codes as part of its inspection and
enforcement of the national minimum standards.
The four regulatory social care councils in each of the
countries in the UK have agreed to use the same codes of practice.
However, each of the councils will operate its own register and
The code for workers is described as a “list of statements that
describe the standards of professional conduct and practice
required of social care workers as they go about their daily
It includes rules on the rights of users and carers, protecting
service users, upholding the public trust and confidence in social
care, and taking responsibility for maintaining and improving their
own knowledge and skills.
Both codes protect the rights of workers to “whistleblow” on
resource and operational difficulties that get in the way of
delivering safe care.
Dr Jeremy Harbison, chairperson of the Northern Ireland Social
Care Council, said on behalf of the four national councils: “These
codes set a clear benchmark. Building on the sound shared values of
the profession and, coupled with registration, they will raise
standards and increase public protection.”
Owen Davies, national officer for social services for Unison,
said the final codes addressed the union’s earlier concerns
that the draft version had placed too many responsibilities on
individual workers rather than employers.
Dick Clough, chief executive of the Social Care Association,
said: “This is the one of the most important steps in making social
care a profession. It is a vital part of regaining public
confidence in social care.”
You can download or order a copy of the code of practice issued
by the General Social Care Council in England by clicking