Standards and professional development
The practice of social care workers is governed in a range of ways. In addition to legislation there are policies and requirements, which ensure that care workers practise to an agreed standard of care and provide safe and effective support for people who use services. These provisions may differ somewhat depending on which country you work in, but across the UK there are similar processes to manage the employment of care workers. If you require information relating to a specific country (Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales), you should check the care council for that country.
Induction standards systematically set out all the things that a worker should know to enable them to do their job safely and effectively. The standards are informed by what we know and accept as best practice.
Working with adults in England
Common Induction Standards are recognised as a good starting point for people who wish to work in a variety of adult care settings. They cover the following eight areas:
- Role of the health and social care worker
- Personal development
- Communicate effectively
- Equality and inclusion
- Principles for implementing duty of care
- Principles of safeguarding in health and social care
- Person-centred support
- Health and safety in an adult social care setting.
All workers starting out in a social care role are expected to complete these standards within 12 weeks of starting work. You and your manager should work together to make sure that you understand what you have to do. It is important to note that Common Induction Standards are not a ‘qualification’; however, they can help you to work towards a Level 2 Diploma in Health & Social Care.
Link: Common Induction Standards (Skills for Care 2010)
Children and young people in England
If you work with children and young people you may like to see the induction standards that relate to you. They are worded differently to reflect practice in this area.
- Standard 1: understand the principles and values essential for working with children and young people
- Standard 2: understand your role in the children and young people’s workforce (employed or self-employed)
- Standard 3: understand health and safety requirements
- Standard 4: know how to communicate effectively
- Standard 5: understand the development of children and young people
- Standard 6: safeguard children (keep them safe from harm)
- Standard 7: develop yourself.
Link Standards for children’s social care (CWDC 2006)
Northern Ireland Induction Standards
These cover the following six areas:
- Understand the principles of care
- Understand the organisation and the role of the worker
- Maintain safety at work
- Communicate effectively
- Recognise and respond to abuse and neglect
- Develop as a worker.
All workers starting out in a social care role are expected to complete these standards within three to six months of starting work. You and your manager should work together to make sure that you understand what you have to do.
Social Care Induction Framework for Wales
The induction framework together with information for social care workers in Wales can be seen here.
Managers in adult social care in England are expected to know about:
- Governance and accountability
- Systems and processes to promote communication
- Partnership working and relationships
- Using person-centred practice to achieve positive outcomes
- Team leadership and management
- Managing resources
- Equality, diversity and inclusion
- Safeguarding and protection
The optional standards:
- Professional development
- Change and growth
- Managing business
- Ensuring quality.
Link: Manager Induction Standards (Skills for Care 2012)
Qualifications in Health & Social Care are known as vocational because they are work related. In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) have been replaced by diplomas, awards and certificates, which map on to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The Qualifications and Credit Framework is the system used to recognise skills and qualifications. You can read about it on the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation’s website (OFQUAL). For up-to-date information about qualifications in social care, go to Skills for Care. For social care qualifications in Northern Ireland go to Northern Ireland Social Care Council. Scotland has an equivalent Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).
As mentioned before, Common Induction Standards are not a qualification; however, they map on to Level 2 of the Diploma in Health & Social Care so that the areas you cover in common induction are covered in the Diploma in more depth.
The Care Council for Wales has produced a booklet, QCF Qualifications across boundaries. This compares qualifications in social care across the four countries of the UK.
Codes of Practice
These set out the professional conduct expected of a social care worker. There is also a Code of Practice for employers and this sets out the responsibility of employers to ensure that their workforce is supported in their role.
- Codes of Practice for social care workers (England)
- Codes of Practice for employers of social care workers (England)
- Codes of Practice for social care workers and employers (Northern Ireland)
- Codes of Practice for social care workers and employers (Wales)
- Codes of Practice for social care workers and employers (Scotland)
Regulation is important as it makes individuals and organisations accountable.
In England, health services and care services are regulated by the Care Quality Commission to ensure that they comply with government standards. In Northern Ireland, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) is responsible for service regulation. In Wales, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate is responsible.
People who work in these services such as practitioners and professional staff are regulated by bodies such as the Health Care Professions Council in England, the Northern Ireland Social Care Council in Northern Ireland and the Care Council for Wales in Wales. Social care workers are not currently required to register in England but they are in Northern Ireland.