In one of the most significant developments for care outside of the new Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act, the Care Council is today launching a new Code of Professional Practice.
The new Code sets the standards all social workers and social care practitioners should work to in Wales and what is expected of them by employers, individuals receiving services and the public. It will come into force on 1 July and replaces the Code that has been in place since 2002.
It emphasises the importance of care professionals working in partnership with individuals and their carers, giving them a voice to express the kind of care they would like, and control over how they receive it.
The Code includes seven main standards practitioners have to meet. These cover maintaining the trust, independence and well-being of individuals, and practitioners being responsible for developing their own knowledge and skills. It also details the responsibilities of those who manage or lead staff.
Speaking at the launch of the Code at Llys Enfys extra care housing in Llanishen, Cardiff, Gerry Evans, Care Council Director of Regulation and Professional Standards, said: “The new Code is to empower people to provide the very best of care. The Code has a powerful role in reducing the likelihood of serious care failings, through the public knowing what standards should be expected and that, where there are problems, they are addressed. The Code is equally important in reinforcing the values that are vital in creating a culture that promotes professional behaviour among practitioners and one in which people have a real say over the kind of care they receive.
“The updated Code reflects the fact that care is a complex area and is a statement on behalf of the practitioners of the standards they work to. It is a vital document not only for registered workers, but also across the whole of social care in Wales
“Society in Wales has changed significantly over the past 15 years. As a population we’re getting older and we have far greater numbers of people being supported in the community. People living in residential care have more complex health and care needs and we also have more complexity in ensuring the right kind of care for children and young people, be it in their own homes or in residential care.
“There have also been national and local changes in strategy, policy and practice. As a result, it is important to have a revised Code to reflect these changes and ensure it is still relevant and effective. The Code is here to help all social care workers deliver the expectations in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act”, he added.
Mark Drakeford, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “In many ways, this is a new Code for a new era of social care in Wales and one which I welcome and fully support. The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act is designed to improve the well-being of people who need care and support and to transform social services in Wales. This new Code is therefore timely. It is true to the principles underpinning the Act and will help reinforce the importance of care professionals working in partnership with individuals and their carers, giving them a voice to express the kind of care they would like, and control over how they receive it.
“I would urge everyone who works in care in Wales to embrace this new Code and follow it. It is your Code – it can guide your practice and states clearly the standards of conduct you are expected to meet. You are encouraged to use the Code to examine your own conduct and practice and look for any areas in which you can improve. If we can do that, we can go a long way to ensuring we have a level of care in Wales that our people deserve and of which we can be rightly proud,” he added.
Anne Thomas, Executive Director of Linc Care, which owns and manages Llys Enfys, said: “Linc welcomes and endorses the new Code of Professional Practice for Social Care. It is important that the people who need and use care services have confidence that the people supporting and caring for them have the right values, training and support to carry out their roles to the highest standard. This new Code helps to illustrate to those giving and receiving care the essential qualities and skills that are expected.
The Code will be particularly significant for those groups who have to register with the Care Council, as it will be taken into account when there are doubts over a person’s fitness to practise as a result of allegations about their work. 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 new Code can be found, from 29 April, at http://www.ccwales.org.uk/.