Guidance: Regulators issue new Raising Concerns in the Workplace guidance (Scotland)

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and the Care Inspectorate have launched new guidance today (13 May 2019) to make sure social service workers, students and employers know how to raise a concern about the care, dignity and safety of people who use social services.

Raising Concerns in the Workplace gives guidance to workers and students about how to raise a concern and why it’s different from whistleblowing. It includes examples of the type of things they might need to raise a concern about, for example if they feel the service they work in is not maintaining the dignity of people who use services during personal care. It also includes a handy checklist and flowchart workers and students can follow to help them decide if they need to raise a concern.

For employers it explains their role in making sure staff feel they can speak openly about their concerns and be sure that what they say will be treated with sensitivity and in confidence. All concerns must be treated with equal importance however they are raised and employers must have appropriate policies and procedures in place to manage this.

Lorraine Gray, SSSC Chief Executive said: “We developed this guidance with the Care Inspectorate to make sure people using social services in Scotland receive safe and quality care. Social service workers have a significant level of public trust. A frontline worker is more likely to see poor practice as it happens, so it’s important they know how and when to speak up.

“We need to encourage workers to report any concerns to make sure services can act and learn from what happened so they can do better in the future – if nobody speaks up the situation is unlikely to improve. This is why it’s essential employers are aware of their responsibilities and develop a culture where staff feel comfortable with raising concerns and this guidance will help them do this.”

Peter Macleod, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate said: ‘Everyone in Scotland has the right to safe, compassionate and high-quality care which meets their needs and respects their choices and rights. Anyone with a concern about a care service should feel they are able to raise that concern, anonymously if they wish, to help to improve care where that is needed.

“It’s really important that staff feel they can speak openly about any concerns and often when that happens many issues can be resolved early, quickly and easily. We take all concerns raised with us seriously and investigate complaints thoroughly so that we can support all care services to identify where they need to improve.

“We know that most care services in Scotland perform well, but where things aren’t as good as they should be, it’s vital people are supported to raise concerns and that concerns are acted upon appropriately.”

The guidance should be read alongside any policies and procedures that employers already have in place about raising concerns and whistleblowing.

Download the Raising Concerns in the Workplace guidance