The relationships a health & social care employee have at work differ greatly from the personal relationships they may have outside of work. Working relationships are governed by professional boundaries including:
- Legislation (e.g. the Data Protection Act 1998 prohibits the sharing of personal information that an employee may be privy to as part of their job)
- Employer’s policies and procedures
- Professional codes of conduct (e.g. the GSCC Codes of Practice for Social Workers)
I have provided a copy of my company’s Professional Relationships Policy & Procedure as evidence.
Personal relationships are much less formal and more emotive and can involve intimate touching and expression that would be illegal in a health & social care setting. In addition, a person can choose who they associate with outside work, whereas they have much less choice whilst at work and may have to work with people they do not particularly like.
It is important not to confuse working relationships with personal relationships as this could lead to an employee being biased, either positively or negatively, whilst making work-related decisions or carrying out their job responsibilities. It could also result in breaking the law or disciplinary action.