CODE OF PRACTICE

In accepting membership of The Institute of Welfare I agree to abide by the following:-

This should be read in conjunction with the Code of Ethics

1.     Health, Safety and Welfare

Members of the Institute have a statutory obligation to be aware of, and abide by, current Health and Safety legislation. They will take all reasonable steps to ensure the physical and psychological well being of themselves and their clients.

2.    Contract and Boundaries

Members may be required to give guidance, support, advice and a degree of individual counselling. They must ensure they understand and work within the regulations and policies of the organisation they work for and the responsibilities laid down within this Code of Practice.

Before embarking on a welfare relationship, the Member should determine from the client if other therapeutic or helping relationships are current.

If counselling is to be undertaken, clients have a choice in whether or not they wish to participate. During such a counselling relationship the client should be given the opportunity to review the methods and terms under which counselling is being carried out.

The Member must ensure the client understands about the degree of confidentiality, the length and number of sessions available on any formal counselling relationship together with cancellation arrangements and any potential fees. Negotiations over these issues should be completed prior to commencing the session.

Clearly defined arrangements show respect for the individuals rights and their abilities to hold their own beliefs and values, and to make their own decisions.

Explanations of boundaries to the client and the adherence to them is the responsibility of the Member.

Clients should be given information regarding access to their records, and how available they are to other people, along with details of the security under which the records are stored.

The Member should avoid unnecessary conflicts of interests. If any conflict of interests become apparent this should be made known to the client.

3.     Issues of Competence

Competence includes being able to recognise when it is appropriate to make a client referral.

Members should ensure that they have received sufficient training to be able to use counselling skills appropriately, recognising their own personal and professional limitations. Training in counselling skills alone is not sufficient for members to consider themselves qualified to engage in a therapeutic or psychoanalytic counselling relationship.

Members are responsible for ensuring that their relationships with clients are not unduly influenced by their own emotional needs. They are expected to monitor their own personal functioning and to seek help from their line manager or other professional supervisor if their personal resources are sufficiently depleted to affect Member/client relationship.

Members must actively monitor their own competence through supervision and be willing to consider any views expressed by their clients, and supervisors, and take appropriate action.

When uncertain as to whether a particular situation or course of action may be in violation of the Code of Ethics and Practice, Members must consult with their manager or professional supervisor and (in the case of a sole private practitioner) other experienced practitioners.

Members must have achieved a recognised and accredited level of competence before commencing a professional relationship and must maintain continuing professional development, as well as regular and ongoing supervision.

4.    Anti-Discrimination Practice

The Institute of Welfare (IoW) is committed to promoting and encouraging Equality of Opportunity of access and participation through its members and their workings.

Members shall be committed to the principles of non-discrimination and treat individuals on equal terms.

Members have a responsibility to be aware of their own discriminatory prejudices, attitudes and behaviour, and to take remedial action.

5.    Legal

A Code of Practice has no statutory basis and takes the form of guidance and recommendations. It should not be quoted as if it were a specification and particular care should be taken to ensure that claims of compliance are not misleading.

In particular, attention is drawn to all existing employment law and requirements of the criminal legislation system.

Compliance with this Code of Practice does not of itself confer immunity from any legal obligations.

Members shall operate within current Data Protection legislation.

Members in private practice are recommended to obtain appropriate cover to assist them financially in the event of any acts of litigation.

Users of this Code of Practice are responsible for its correct application.

6.    Responsibility

Whilst Members have a duty to their clients, the relationship cannot exist in social isolation, Members will also need to consider other sources of ethical responsibility, as well as the requirements of the law, public and individual safety.

Members must take all responsible steps to ensure that their client suffers neither physical nor psychological harm during contact.

Members must respect clients by ensuring client confidentiality within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act(s) and the regulations and policies of the organisation they work for. These should be made known to the client if not already public information, prior to engaging in a helping/professional relationship.

Members shall obtain whenever possible appropriate informed consent of the client before acting on their behalf. Any informal discussion of cases should take place without revealing the personal identity of the client.

Members shall conduct themselves in their professional activities in ways which ensure public confidence in their role and in the work of the Institute.

A Member who suspects professional misconduct by another Member, which cannot be resolved or remedied by discussion with the person concerned or by following the employers own systems or procedures set up to deal with issues of professional rather than employment misconduct, should implement the Institute’s Complaints Procedure, ensuring that there is no breach of confidentiality other than that necessary for investigating the complaint.

Members are accountable for their services to their employer or funding body, as appropriate, whilst respecting the contract of confidentiality agreed with the client.

The Client has the right to seek services elsewhere.

Members shall explore all reasonable opportunities to resolve conflicts of interests between themselves and their employers and/or agencies.

Members shall take all reasonable steps to be aware of current laws which apply to their welfare duties, and shall work wholly within the law.

Revised: November 2011