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Response to Duty of Candour

The PSA recommended that the duty of candour should include social workers, as we recommended in our report. The PFA report, much as our submission did, raised lots of concerns about the implications for individuals if they “admit” fault and raises concerns about the relations between the individual employee and their employer. BASW were concerned that there needed to be links made to safeguarding, complaints handling, criminal sanctions, professional ethics and whistleblowing policies and practices. The PFA rightly states that professional regulation should support but not supplant the appropriate application of professional judgement in given situations. The PFA acknowledge that the literature we reviewed suggests that “while candour is almost universally acknowledged as ‘the right thing to do’, health professionals and social workers still struggle, for a variety of reasons, to be as open as they should when things have gone wrong”

Conclusions arising from PSA research review

  • In the face of the many barriers to candour, a standard relating to candour in professional codes might encourage some professionals to be candid in situations when they otherwise would not
  • Having a common standard across the professions could help to redress some of the differences between the professions’ approaches to candour
  • Guidance on the new standard would reinforce messages about the primacy of candour
  • The standard would underpin the introduction of a candour related training in pre-qualifying education programmes
  • The standard could encourage the development of post qualifying learning opportunities
  • Continuing compliance with the standard would be checked periodically through continuing fitness to practise mechanisms
  • The standard would form the basis of fitness to practise decisions.