Duty of Care: Supervision Notes

As an experienced social care worker you have been asked to mentor a new social worker. You plan to use a supervision session to explain about the duty of care and how this helps to protect individuals from harm and abuse.

Prepare a set of notes to help you in this supervision session.

In the notes, you must include an explanation of:

Ai What is meant by the term “duty of care
Aii How the duty of care affects the work of a social care worker
Aiii What having a duty of care means for a care giving organisation
Aiv How the duty of care contributes to safeguarding individuals


Notes for supervision with John to explain and discuss duty of care in the role of the social support worker.

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of care is the moral or legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of other individuals. We all have a duty of care towards the clients that we support, whether this be ensuring they take their medication or making sure that their home is free from dangerous hazards. It can also mean working with other professionals on the client’s behalf, such as getting advice from their GP if they refuse their medication or contacting the police or social services safeguarding team if you have suspicions that there has been abuse. It is also important to remember that our role involves promoting choice for individuals, sometimes in difficult circumstances and to take choices away from them would constitute as abuse in itself.

How Does Duty of Care Affect Our Work?

Social care workers are bound to work with the law as well as adhering to company policies, procedures and agreed ways of working (e.g. CQC’s Key Lines of Enquiry). It is also advisable to follow the Code of Conduct for Healthcare Support Workers and Adult Social Care Workers in England. Risk assessments may need to be written for certain activities and situations.

Practically, this involves things like reporting hazards, keeping records of incidents and contacting other professionals (e.g. GP, social services, psychologist etc.)  when needed. It also means ensuring individuals have all the facts necessary to make informed choices and to respect their choice when they make it (even if we don’t agree with it ourselves).

What Does Having Duty of Care Mean For Our Organisation?

Duty of care benefits the organisation as a whole because it means that all employees work within the same guidelines and ensures that everyone has the best interests of the clients in mind. It also means that the environment is safe for all and that the organisation is working within legislative boundaries.

How Does Duty of Care Contribute to Safeguarding Individuals?

Duty of care is very important in safeguarding individuals because everyone will be working to agreed standards that protect our clients from abuse. We have reporting procedures in place to ensure that any potential risks or suspicions of abuse can be documented and escalated swiftly and a whistleblowing procedure that allows employees to report any suspected wrongdoings by their employer without any backlash. All of these factors contribute to a safe working and living environment for all.