As part of our roles and responsibilities, NISCC is required to produce and publish Standards of Conduct and Practice expected of social workers and social care workers. Everyone who is registered with NISCC must keep to the standards forming the regulatory framework that helps us to decide whether a registrant is fit to practise. The standards are written in a way that allows them to be applied to your particular work situation and area of practice.
NISCC also produces guidance from time to time to support these standards. The new Guide for Social Work and Social Care Staff on How to Raise Concerns in Their Workplace document is an example of this, it has been produced in response to feedback from registrants who are often unsure how to appropriately raise workplace concerns.
The issue of raising concerns has been the subject of several high-profile cases in the past 20 years. The most recent resulted in the Francis Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry (2013) into how concerns about standards, systems, and practice are raised and dealt with in the NHS. The report called for a new approach to support staff who want to raise concerns.
The evidence is clear that organisations in which staff feel confident about raising concerns are much safer. This guidance expects that all registrants will, whatever their role, take appropriate action to raise concerns about service users’ care, dignity and safety. NISCC have produced it with trade unions, the professional association for social work, registrants, employers and service users.
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Andy McClenaghan of NIASW, Colum Conway of NISCC, Anne Speed of UNISON and Kevin McCabe of NIPSA put pen to paper at the launch