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I am a member of the public or person using services


We exist to enable better and safer care.

One of the ways we do this is by acting when someone tells us they have a concern about a Social Worker, Social Work Student or Social Care Worker which could put the safety of service users or the public at risk, or damage the public’s confidence in the workforce.

Anyone can raise a concern if they feel the safety of a person using services or the public is at risk.  It then becomes our duty as a regulator to decide whether the Social Worker, Social Work Student or Social Care Worker is fit to practise.  We can only consider a concern if the person is on our register

We will use the information you provide to help us decide whether to take action.  In some cases, we will decide that no further action is required. 

We are committed to making sure our fitness to practise processes are accessible for everyone.  If you need help or further assistance please contact us by email:

If we are unable to help you with your concern, there are other organisations that may be able to help you:

Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) – regulates service providers and will take action against an organisation if service standards or regulations have been breached. 
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 NI Health and Social Care organisations.


If you are concerned that a social worker, social work student or social care worker poses a risk to people using services or the public, you should make us aware immediately.  In some serious cases it may be necessary for us to act quickly to stop them from working or to restrict their practise.  Even if the risk is not immediate please raise your concern as quickly as possible. There is normally a 5 year time limit in relation to making an allegation.


Deal with concerns about anyone who is not registered with the Social Care Council
Deal with concerns about organisations or service providers.  These concerns should be directed to the organisation responsible for providing the service, or to the RQIA which regulates and reviews social care services in Northern Ireland.
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


We will consider concerns that are serious enough to raise doubts about a social worker, social work student or social care worker and their fitness to practise. We can investigate serious concerns about a worker’s conduct or practice that have occurred inside and outside the workplace.

Examples of allegations we can investigate:

Failure to provide proper care
Serious or repeated mistakes in caring for people using services
Criminal convictions
Violent behaviour (assault, physical abuse)
Dishonesty or fraud (theft of money or property)
Intimidation of a person using services, carer or colleague
Abuse of position (improper sexual relationship with a person using services or discrimination against others)

Our investigation considers:

The allegations about a Registrant’s fitness to practise
If we can obtain the evidence
If the Registrant has addressed the concerns raised.

If a concern doesn’t suggest a social worker, social work student or social care workers practice should be restricted, we will not investigate. We understand that sometimes people can make mistakes.

Making a mistake doesn’t necessarily mean we will stop a registrant from working. When we look at a concern we consider if it was a one-off event, how serious it was, how much they have reflected on what happened and what they have done since to learn from the mistake.


In most cases, the Social Care Council will normally direct a person wishing to raise a concern to the registrant’s employer in the first instance. The employer is best placed to provide you with a detailed explanation of what has happened, or an apology from the worker involved.

The employer will also be able to decide if we need to be involved. If the employer decides to refer the case to us, we will request all the information from their investigation, which will speed up the process. If you don’t agree with their decision, you can still involve us later.  If for any reason you have concerns about raising the matter with the employer you can report to us directly.


What you’ll need before raising a concern as a service user or member of the public:

Your name and address
The name of the person (or people), or other information we can use to identify them. You should only name one worker on the form. Please use a separate form if referring more than one individual.
Details of their employer (organisation name and contact details)
Details of any complaint you made to the workers place of work
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


If you wish to remain anonymous you can still make a referral, however please be advised that you will not receive any updates on the progress of the investigation.



Fitness to Practise
Northern Ireland Social Care Council
4th Floor, James House
2 Cromac Avenue