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The Social Care Council launches Human Rights for Social Workers Resource

20 February 2024

To support the United Nations World Day of Social Justice, the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (Social Care Council) are launching a new digital learning resource – Human Rights for Social Workers.

This new resource is available from the Social Care Council Learning Zone. It is aimed at social workers and social work students to support them to understand human rights, the legal framework and how human rights are applied. The resource examines each human right that social workers may encounter in their work and the situations they may apply to.

The resource has been developed by the Social Care Council in partnership with Dr Nazia Latif, Rights Consultant at Right Practice and content author and the Human Rights Content Reference Group, including Jane Hindes, Head of Service for Governance and Assurance in Children’s Services, SEHSCT, Geraldine McGuigan, Manager, VOYPIC, Suzanne Cunningham, Assistant Director of Children’s Services, RQIA, Kathy Fleming, Inspector, Care Homes Team, RQIA, Professor David Hayes, QUB and Gerard McWilliams, Service User/Participation Partnership and PCC Advocate.

Helen McVicker, Head of Fitness to Practise at the Social Care Council said:

“All social workers and social work students must ensure that the human rights of those they work with are both identified and protected at all times.

“There are a number of settings where social workers may encounter someone whose human rights are at risk or restricted.

“It is crucial that our Standards of Practice ensure all social workers are able to identify and protect those in vulnerable situations.”

Dr Latif, Human Rights Consultant at Right Practice and content author said:

“All service users are entitled to have their human rights protected, respected and fulfilled and one of the fundamental duties of a social worker is to uphold those human rights.

“It can be a balancing act – keeping services users from harm while protecting their autonomy

“This resource puts services users at the centre of decision making processes and offers useful frameworks, looking at the different situations that social workers are likely to work in and how human rights might be applied.”

The Human Rights for Social Workers resource is available to anyone through the Social Care Council Learning Zone website with no logins required.

The resource outlines the duties social workers have under the Human Rights Act 1998. It identifies the types of situations social workers are likely to encounter in their work and includes reflective learning scenarios based on real practice cases studies relevant to the challenges and experiences faced in day-to-day social work practice. Social workers can use this learning as evidence they are meeting Social Care Council Standards of Practice and to build Professionals in Practice requirements.