What are the codes of practice for social workers and employers?
The first ever UK-wide codes of practice for social workers and employers were launched in September 2002. The codes provide a clear guide for all those who work in social work, setting out the standards of practice and conduct workers and their employers should meet. They are a critical part of regulating the workforce and helping to improve levels of professionalism and public protection.
To date, the GSCC has distributed more than two and a half million copies of the codes to employers and social workers across England.
Section 62 of the Care Standards Act 2000 requires us to produce the codes and to keep them under review. The codes were developed following extensive consultation with social care workers, people who use services and carers in 2002. They build on existing good practice and the shared values of the sector. Many people rely on the honesty, integrity and professional skills of social care workers and these codes spell out the standards people can expect of them.
Every social worker and employer should have a copy of the codes of practice. The codes of practice can be downloaded from our website. They are also available in various languages and accessible formats, which can be downloaded for free from the website or ordered online.
Enforcing the codes of practice
The codes mean that the social work sector have similar regulation to doctors and nurses. Registered social workers who breach the codes could be removed from the Social Care Register.
- If an employer feels an issue brings a worker's registration into question, a registered social care worker can be referred to the GSCC, which will investigate and consider whether their case should be heard at a conduct hearing.
- The CQC (Care Quality Commission) and Ofsted take the Code of Practice for Social Care Employers into account when enforcing care standards.