At-a-glance guide to the code of conduct for social care workers

Published last month, the code of conduct places a strong emphasis on staff taking responsibility for their own professional development.

Picture credit: Monkey Business Images/Rex Features (posed by models)
Picture credit: Monkey Business Images/Rex Features (posed by models)

Who does the code apply to?

The code of conduct applies to all adult social care workers in England, whether you are independent (e.g. a personal assistant) or a residential, supported living, day support or domiciliary care worker. It does not apply to social work assistants.

Why was it produced?

In November 2011, then health secretary Andrew Lansley announced plans to develop a code of conduct and minimum training standards for adult social care workers in England, to help clarify what is expected of this group of staff. The code of conduct aims to protect the public by promoting best practice. As an adult social care worker, you have a duty of care to ensure that your conduct does not fall below the standards detailed in the code.

How will it help me?

The code sets out the standards you are expected to meet, so you should review the full version and think about whether you need to change the way you work. It will also help you to identify areas for continuing professional development (CPD).

What are its main principles?

As an adult social care worker in England, you must:

1. Be accountable by making sure you can answer for your actions

This section of the code requires you to recognise and be honest about your limitations. You should always be able to justify what you do and don’t do. You should ask for help as soon as you need it and tell your employer about any issues that might affect your ability to do the job. Maintain professional boundaries and behave appropriately at all times. Finally, this section refers to your duty to report or blow the whistle on any malpractice or potential abuse.

2. Promote and uphold the privacy, dignity, rights, health and wellbeing of service users and their carers at all times

Always act in the best interest of service users, treating them with respect and maintaining their dignity. Promote their independence wherever possible and challenge and report any dangerous, abusive, discriminatory or exploitative behaviour.

3. Work in collaboration with your colleagues to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate care and support

This section is about team working: you should respect your colleagues, be honest and open with them and make sure you are a reliable and trustworthy member of team.

4. Communicate in an open and effective way to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of service users and their carers

Make sure you communicate effectively with service users and with colleagues, by being straightforward, accurate and respecting confidentiality wherever relevant. Maintain clear and accurate records.

5. Respect a person’s right to confidentiality

Treat all information about service users as confidential. Seek guidance from senior members of staff if any disclosure issues arise.

6. Strive to improve the quality of your care and support through CPD

Undertake CPD, training and education in line with the competencies you require to do your job well, all with the input of your supervisor. Maintain up-to-date records of your training and, if appropriate, contribute to the learning and development of others.

7. Uphold and promote equality, diversity and inclusion

Finally, as a care worker, you should respect individuals. Promote equal opportunities for your service users and do not discriminate against anyone.

Download the full code of conduct and minimum training standards for adult social care workers

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