Since 31 March 2017, social care workers in domiciliary care, adult day care and residential and supported living settings have been required to register with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council and meet agreed professional standards in their conduct and practice. An evaluation exercise which began in 2017 is measuring the impact of the Department of Health Policy to introduce compulsory registration and professional standards for social care workers. The latest phase of the study during 2018 confirmed that registration and standards continue to have a positive impact on social care.
Seán Holland, Chief Social Worker for Northern Ireland, said: “It is great to see these findings which show that registration has started to make a difference to services. The findings continue to demonstrate the important role of social care workers in providing care and support and also the importance social care staff place on the quality and safety of the services they provide. I am proud of the social care workforce and the important role they play in delivering social care and social wellbeing.”
Northern Ireland Social Care Council interim Chief Executive Patricia Higgins said: “It is encouraging to note that a high percentage of the social care workforce are regularly using our Standards of Conduct and Practice; with two thirds of social care workers saying that being registered and having professional standards has improved their confidence in what they do. We also welcome the positive feedback from employers, with 73% of those who responded saying they believe these standards have improved the quality of services delivered. At the Social Care Council, we will continue to promote the importance and value of professional standards, to not only employers and their workforces, but also to carers and users of the service”.
A Report Card for the 2018 study and further statement from the Department of Health is available from the Department of Health website.