The HCPC is seeking views from social workers on draft guidance to help practitioners make sure their use of social media meets professional standards.
The guidance has been published after feedback indicated more registrants were using social media but some were fearful about falling foul of the regulator.
The HCPC said the “vast majority” of professionals used social media without any difficulties. However, several social workers have faced fitness to practise over their online postings.
In September 2014, a social worker was sanctioned over Facebook comments about a child protection case she was involved in. Last year, a social worker who sent abusive tweets to David Cameron also faced a fitness to practise hearing but he was later found fit to practice.
The document focuses on the “ethical aspects of social media use” and aims to strike the right balance between acknowledging the benefits of social media and the need to meet standards, the HCPC said. It sets out a series of ‘top tips’ for practitioners, including advice to ‘think before you post’ and consider your sharing and privacy settings.
Michael Guthrie, the HCPC’s director of policy and standards, said: “The vast majority of registrants who use social media already do so responsibly, in line with our standards, and without any difficulties at all.
“However we know that registrants can sometimes be anxious about using social media because they want to make sure that they always meet our standards. The guidance, therefore, explains what our standards mean and how we expect registrants to apply them.
“We would encourage our registrants, service users, carers, education providers and anyone with an interest to respond with their views on the draft guidance.”