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Wednesday, 06 September 2017

New Standards launched for social work and social care employers in Northern Ireland

Written by The Editorial Team

The Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) have jointly launched the new Standards for Employers of Social Workers and Social Care Workers. These Standards have been developed as a collaboration between NISCC and the RQIA and in consultation with employers, registrants, service users and carers.

They are a refresh of the 2002 NISCC Code of Practice for Employers and set out employer’s responsibilities in the regulation of the workforce.

Launching the Employer Standards, NISCC Chief Executive Colum Conway said:“NISCC has a statutory responsibility to develop and review standards for Employers of the social care workforce; standards that describe the responsibilities of employers in making sure that social workers and social care workers meet the NISCC standards for their conduct and practice, provide high quality services and promote public trust and confidence in social work and social care services.”

“These Employer Standards are an integral part of our work as social care regulator to strengthen the professionalism of the social care workforce. Together with RQIA as the body responsible for monitoring and inspecting the availability and quality of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, we are committed to driving up standards in social care and promoting the interests and wellbeing of service users and carers.”

Endorsing the Standards, RQIA Chief Executive, Olive Macleod said: “RQIA will continue to work in partnership with NISCC in ensuring adherence to the standards for employers within social care services. We will use the standards collectively to encourage providers to make improvements in their services as RQIA’s role is not just about enforcing compliance but encouraging and assisting with improvement. We know that if employers can demonstrate they meet these standards we know they will be providing high quality leadership and services that will promote public trust and confidence in social work and social care services.”

“The Standards for Employers are intended to reflect existing good practice. They are intended to complement rather than replace or duplicate existing employers’ policies and form part of the wider package of legislation, requirements and guidance that relate to the employment of staff. I hope that the standards will be helpful to employers of social workers and social care workers and RQIA will take these into consideration in our inspections and review of services alongside other standards in our registration and inspection processes.”

Speakers at the launch included: Colum Conway (NISCC), Olive Macleod (RQIA), Stephanie McCutcheon (IiP), Roberta Magee (NISCC Registrant’s Forum) and Francesca Leyden (SHSCT)

Overview of the Standards

To meet their responsibilities in relation to regulating the social work and social care workforce, employers must:

  • Provide vision and leadership to registrants in line with organisational expectations and governance requirements, to ensure they are enabled to deliver safe, effective and values-led care focused on the needs and experiences of service users;
  • Make sure people are suitable to enter the workforce;
  • Have written policies and processes in place to enable registrants to meet the NISCC Standards of Conduct and Practice;
  • Provide learning and development opportunities to enable registrants to strengthen and develop their skills and knowledge;
  • Promote the NISCC Standards of Conduct and Practice to registrants, service users and carers and co-operate in NISCC’s proceedings

Click here to access a PDF copy of the Standards for Employers of Social Workers and Social Care Workers