Reporting Your Concerns About a Worker

Everyone - service users, carers, employers, fellow social care workers, other professions and general public – should act if they have serious concerns about a worker's standard of conduct or practice that may affect public protection or confidence in the profession.

What the Social Care Council can investigate?

We can investigate serious concerns about a worker’s conduct or practice that have occurred inside and outside the workplace such as:

  • Failure to provide proper care
  • Theft of money or property
  • Assault
  • Physical or verbal abuse
  • Intimidation of a service user, carer or colleague
  • Engagement an inappropriate relationship or making sexual advances towards a service-user or carer
  • Criminal convictions, cautions or binding-overs

We cannot :

  • Deal with concerns about organisations/service providers, or about anyone who is not on our Register
  • Fine a worker or pay you compensation
  • Tell a worker to apologise to you
  • Order a worker or their employer to provide you with the services you want
  • Intervene in a social work case or change decisions made by social workers
  • Influence court proceedings or overturn any decisions made by a court

Can your concerns be resolved with the worker or their employer?

Many concerns can be resolved without involving the Northern Ireland Social Care Council. If possible, you should speak directly to the worker or their manager to let them know your concerns and what you would like to see changed. If this is not possible, or they have already been spoken to about the issue and the situation does not improve, contact the Social Care Council's Fitness to Practise Team in confidence for advice. Email or call 028 9536 2600 (option 2).

Other organisations that may be able to help you

Patient Client Council - provides advice and support for members of the public if they need to report a concern about a Health or Social Care Service.

Northern Ireland Public Services Ombudsman - investigates allegations about possible maladministration in the delivery of public services and will review cases where people are not satisfied with responses to concerns that are provided by Health and Social Care organisations.

Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority - regulates service providers and will take action against an organisation if service standards or regulations have been breached. 

Information we need to help us with our investigations

The information we need to help us investigate your concerns includes:

  • Your name and address (work address if it is an employer referral)
  • The worker’s name and the address where they work (you should only name one worker on the form. You can use a separate page if you want to report a concern about another worker or ask us to send you another form)
  • An explanation of what happened to concern you, and if possible, the dates this occurred
  • Details of any other contacts you have reported your concerns to
  • Consent from the service user if you are completing the form on their behalf
  • Consent from any witnesses that you name (and their contact details)
  • Any special arrangements to speak to you, the service user or any witnesses

Guidance and referral forms are available in the resources below.

Next Steps

We will assess the reported concern and investigate according to the processes set out in the Council's Fitness to Practise Rules. These Rules ensure that all concerns about workforce standards are managed in an appropriate and consistent way. All parties involved may be asked to make a statement and if the matter is referred to a public hearing, you may be asked to give evidence. If we cannot take any action we will write to explain our decision.

Information relating to any allegations or investigations is not made public unless the case is progressed to a Fitness to Practise Hearing. 


How long it takes to conclude a case will depend on the nature of the investigation we need to carry out and how complicated the issues are. We may delay a case until an on-going employer investigation, police investigation or criminal trial is concluded.

Associated Resources