The SSSC and the Care Inspectorate have published new raising concerns in the workplace guidance for social service workers, social work students and employers.
Are you unsure about what you should or shouldn’t report if you see something that you think is wrong or is a cause for concern in your day to day work?
Do you know what your duty is in your role as a social service worker?
Every social service worker has a professional duty to take action to raise any concerns they have about the care, dignity and safety of people who use services. As a frontline worker you are most likely to see poor practice as it happens.
You may be anxious about raising a concern because you don’t want to get anyone into trouble or cause problems in your day to day work, but your role as a social service worker carries with it a significant level of public trust.
You also have responsibilities under the SSSC Codes of Practice.
The Code of Practice for Social Service Workers sets out the clear standards of behaviour and competence you need to meet to provide safe and effective care to people who use services. The Code set out what good practice and conduct look like and reflect professional and public expectations of the role of a social service worker. Part 3 of the Code states that as a social service worker, you must promote the independence of people who use services while protecting them, as far as possible, from danger and harm.
Part 1 of this new guidance is for workers and social work students. It explains what your duty and responsibilities are, gives you some examples of the kinds of things you might want to raise a concern about and takes you through a step by step process for raising a concern. The guide also explains the difference between whistleblowing and a grievance and what you should expect from your employer.
Part 2 of the guidance is for employers, who should provide a workplace in which 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.
Employer’s also have a responsibility under the SSSC Codes of Practice to support workers to whistleblow when they feel that working practises are inappropriate or unsafe for any reason.