Social network warning for social workers

Social work department staff have been warned their careers could be at risk if they misuse social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The advice has come from the the Scottish Social Services Council. In May, its disciplinary panel struck off a Glasgow residential childcare worker.

One of the charges she was found guilty of was using Facebook to befriend the mother of a service user. The council has published new guidance on the dangers of social services workers misusing the internet.

It said, “Many of us now use social networking and file sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

“But it can be easy to blur the lines between your personal voice and your professional life as a registered social service worker.”

Social media sites often allow people to “friend” each other.

The SSSC said it was not acceptable to do this either with a service user or their carer, as this would create a personal relationship outside the workplace.”

Anyone on its official register must not use websites to air concerns about private workplace matters or give out confidential information about service users.

Such actions would breach the SSSC code of conduct and could lead to disciplinary sanctions, including being struck off.