Welsh public consulted over standards of care workforce

A public consultation on the standards to be expected of social care workers in Wales is to be launched by the Care Council later this month.

The consultation will focus on an updated version of the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers, which was originally published in 2002.

The Code sets out the standards all practitioners should work to and what is expected of them by employers, individuals receiving services and the public. It is particularly significant for those groups who have to register with the Care Council, as it is taken into account when there are doubts over a person’s fitness to practise as a result of allegations about their conduct.

All practitioners who register with the Care Council have to formally agree to uphold the standards in the Code as a condition of registration. Currently, all social workers, social work students, social care managers and residential child care workers have to register with the Care Council.

The Code of Practice includes seven main standards practitioners have to meet. These cover maintaining the trust, independence and well-being of individuals and being responsible for developing their own knowledge and skills. An addition to the updated Code details the responsibilities of managing or leading staff.

The updated Code has already been tested with more than 300 practitioners across Wales prior to being put out to public consultation.

Gerry Evans, Care Council Director of Regulation and Professional Standards, said: “The Code of Practice is a vital document in maintaining high standards, not only among registered workers, but also across the whole of social care in Wales, as it sets the bar for what individuals should expect from those who provide them with services and support. As an important element of our regulatory work, it can play a powerful role in helping us reduce the likelihood in Wales of serious failings in care as seen in Mid Staffordshire and Winterbourne View.

“There have been significant changes across the social care workforce in Wales over the past 12 years. These have included national and local changes in strategy, policy and practice. As a result, this review is timely to reflect these changes and to ensure the Code is still relevant and effective.

“Reaction from practitioners who have seen the revised version has been positive, but we now want the public to tell us what they think. We hope to have a large response, as care, and how well it is provided, is something that is hugely important to us all,” he added.

The public consultation will start at the end of June and remain open until late September. It will be available electronically on the Care Council website and in other formats. It will be promoted extensively by the Care Council and a series of workshops is planned. It is expected that the revised Code of Practice will be available next year.