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Key points

  • It is a legal requirement for all speech and language therapists to adhere to the standards of the regulator, the HCPC
  • As an autonomous and accountable professional, you need to make informed and reasonable decisions about your practice
  • The RCSLT provides guidance and resources to support members to meet these standards
  • This area has replaced the previous CQ Live section

Introduction

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulates speech and language therapists (SLTs). Registration is a legal requirement for all practising SLTs, who must adhere to the following HCPC standards:

As an autonomous and accountable professional, you need to make informed and reasonable decisions about your practice, to make sure that you meet the standards of the regulator.

The RCSLT provides guidance and resources to support members, to meet these standards in practice.

These pages include:

  • Key principles for all speech and language therapists.
  • A summary of different types of accountability.

An overview of HCPC standards, and related RCSLT guidance, organised into ten key areas:

  1. Promote and protect the interests of service users and carers.
  2. Communicate appropriately and effectively.
  3. Work within the limits of your knowledge and skills.
  4. Delegate appropriately.
  5. Respect confidentiality.
  6. Manage risk.
  7. Report concerns about safety.
  8. Be open when things go wrong.
  9. Be honest and trustworthy.
  10. Keep records of your work.

Related Topics

N.B.

Service user – The term service user is used, but the terms ‘patient’ or ‘client’ may also be appropriate.

Individual(s) – The term ‘individual’ has been used. Depending on the context provided in the sentence, this could refer to a service user, patient, client, colleague or carer.

Key principles for all speech and language therapists

It is important for all speech and language therapists to:

  • Understand the legislation, frameworks and structures within which you work, and your responsibilities for ensuring that the policies that fall within your scope of practice are in line with this legislation.
  • Act as ‘resource investigators’ and consider all applicable national and local requirements when applying information and resources in your specific setting.
  • Build supportive infrastructure around yourself to ensure that you have appropriate opportunities for peer support, reflection on your practice, regular supervision and continued professional development. 
  • Work in partnership with colleagues both within and outside of the profession in the best interests of service users. 

Responsibilities

All employers including service leaders, managers, the self-employed and sole practitioners, are reminded that they have a responsibility to develop and maintain local policies based on national frameworks and legislation.

Service level responsibility

Each head of service or professional lead has a responsibility to ensure that they and their staff are informed as to how their organisation is responding to national/regional legislation. This includes:

  • Which legislation is being implemented through local strategy and policy and how this is being achieved.
  • What the gaps are.
  • What actions are required to ensure full service compliance.
  • What response will be required from the organisation.

It is important that service leads recognise that legislation can and should be used to strengthen the case for improving local service delivery by driving forward service developments which reflect national and regional policies.

For example, the Race Relations (Amendment) Act includes a duty to promote race equality. This duty provides service managers with a legislative framework within which to develop a business case. This is to develop speech and language therapy services to ensure that they are able to meet the linguistic, cultural and religious needs of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities.

Service managers need to ensure that their policies meet the required legislative requirements. Service managers are urged to identify the leads in their organisation, in order to facilitate them in this task. Service managers have a duty to highlight any policies that fail to meet the requirements, due to organisational or service constraints. The issues should be raised with senior managers through appropriate communication lines, to ensure that their organisation has ownership and responsibility for service improvement.

It is recommended that service managers resource existing examples of good practice. It may be helpful to identify a ‘buddy’ service that has experience, in order to help support this process.

See Planning your service

Accountability

This table lays out responsibilities and accountabilities for individuals and society, as seen in the eyes of the law and under professional guidance and standards.

Individual accountability

Accountability to whom

For what?

Requirements (fiscal and quality standards to be adhered to)

Monitored and assured through

Enforced by

Contractual accountability

Employer (organisation or individual)

Efficiency

Effectiveness

Safety and wellbeing of individual

Employment law

Contract of employment

Local standards of practice

National service frameworks (NSF)

Service level agreements

Individual Performance Review (IPF)

Supervision / peer review

Individual feedback

Audit

Reporting systems

Outcome measures

Civil courts

Industrial tribunals

Professional accountability

HCPC professional conduct committee

Effectiveness

Safety and wellbeing of individual

HCPC standards of conduct, performance and ethics,

HCPC standards of proficiency,

HCPC standards of CPD

N.B. The RCSLT provides guidance to support adherence to HCPC standards

Ethical research guidelines

Duty of care

HCPC registration process

RCSLT CPD process

IPR

Outcome measures

Supervision /peer review

Individual feedback

HCPC

Societal accountability

Public

Effectiveness

Safety and wellbeing of individual

Criminal law

Individual report

Supervision / peer review

Criminal courts

Societal accountability

Individual / individual

Effectiveness

Safety and wellbeing of individual

Civil law (for negligence, trespass and other civil wrongs)

Duty of care

Individual report

Supervision / peer review

Civil courts

1. Promote and protect the interests of service users and carers

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Treating service users and carers with respect
  • Involving them in decisions about the care, treatment or other services to be provided
  • Making sure you have informed consent
  • Challenging discrimination
  • Maintaining appropriate boundaries

Find the relevant HCPC standards for this key area, as well as RCSLT guidance and links to supporting information to assist members to meet these standards.

HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 1: Promote and protect the interests of service users and carers. Find out more by visiting the HCPC guidance page.

HCPC Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession. For more information visit the HCPC standard partner page here.

Standard 5: Be aware of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice. For more information, visit the HCPC standard partner page here.

Standard 6: Be able to practise in a non-discriminatory manner. For more information visit the HCPC standard partner page here.

Standard 8: Be able to communicate effectively. For more information, visit the HCPC standard partner page here.

HCPC Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Respect

  1. Understand and manage the impact of their own beliefs, values and behaviours on their practice and interaction with others.
  2. Conduct and present themselves in a professional manner whilst in a work role and/or in public.
  3. Strive to challenge and address health inequalities in how services are delivered.
  4. Offer equal access to service without bias or prejudice on the basis of age, gender, race, nationality, colour, faith, sexual orientation, level of ability or position in society.
  5. Are aware of and sensitive to how the above factors affect individuals’ cultural and lifestyle choices, incorporating this into all aspects of service delivery where possible.
  6. Seek to understand and take full account of individuals’ needs, preferences expectations and goals when designing and or delivering a service.
  7. Strive to advocate for individuals’ quality of care and alert appropriate people if this is at risk of being compromised.
  8. Respond to individuals with compassion and sensitivity.
  9. Show empathy with individual’s situations and circumstances.
  10. Respect individuals’ rights, dignity, sensibilities, beliefs and identity, and the implications these may have for acting in accordance with individual best interests.

Inclusion and shared decision-making.

  1. Take account of and, wherever reasonably possible, implement the individual's choice when establishing priorities and providing services.
  2. Explain to individuals when their choices for intervention cannot be met.
  3. Behave in non-discriminatory, non-oppressive ways and act to challenge any discriminatory behaviour encountered in the workplace.
  4. Promote individuals’ rights and choices including the right not to consent to decisions and or actions affecting them.
  5. Provide adequate information to enable individuals to provide informed consent as appropriate.
  6. Ensure individuals have given valid consent to any decision or action affecting them.
  7. Share all relevant information to support individuals in making their own decisions, including those relating to issues of risk and consent.
  8. Work with relevant legislation and other frameworks where individuals are not able to give consent.
  9. Share knowledge, skills and information with others to promote effective joint decision making, planning and evaluation.
  10. Promote, support and empower individuals to participate in decision-making.
  11. Collaborate with colleagues within and across settings, sectors and professions in the best interest of service users.
  12. Seek to demonstrate the value of services and improve service delivery.
  13. Protect and safeguard the interests of vulnerable people with whom they have contact in the course of their professional duties.

SLTs duty of care extends to raising concerns with appropriate people about any service user or carer who may be at risk in any way. They should follow local policy.

Boundaries

  1. Maintain appropriate professional boundaries and avoid close personal relationships with current service users.
  2. Do not enter into relationships that would impair judgement and objectivity, or give rise to advantageous or disadvantageous treatment of an individual.

Related information

  • Clinical decision-making
  • Consent
  • Duty of Care
  • Enabling service users and families
  • Collaborative working
  • Mental capacity and supported decision-making
  • Safeguarding
  • Supervision
  • Managing risk
  • Supporting members who have been referred to the HCPC

2. Communicate appropriately and effectively

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Politeness and consideration.
  • Listening to service users and carers and taking account of their needs and wishes.
  • Presenting them information they want, or need to know, in a way they can understand.
  • Making arrangements to meet their language and communication needs.

We also look at working with colleagues, in terms of partnership and collaboration and sharing relevant information; and the appropriate and responsible use of social media and networking websites.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 2: Communicate appropriately and effectively

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 1: Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 3: Be able to maintain fitness to practise.

Standard 4: Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement.

Standard 5: Be aware of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice.

Standard 6: Be able to practise in a non-discriminatory manner.

Standard 7: Understand the importance of and be able to maintain confidentiality.

Standard 8: Be able to communicate effectively.

Standard 9: Be able to work appropriately with others.

Standard 10: Be able to maintain records appropriately.

Standard 11: Be able to reflect on and review practice.

Standard 14: Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice.

Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for Standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Communicate with service users and carers

  1. Show respect and courtesy in all communications with service users and carers.
  2. Communicate with service users and carers in ways that respect their dignity and privacy.
  3. Demonstrate good practice in inclusive communication – verbal, non-verbal, electronic and other forms of communication as appropriate.
  4. Facilitate the expression of service users’ and carers’ needs and wishes using inclusive communication methods.
  5. Use the preferred communication methods of the service-user and carer, where possible.
  6. Advocate that arrangements are made to meet different service users’ and / or carers’ language and communication needs.
  7. Take account of all cultural, age, gender and background factors when communicating with service-users and carers.
  8. Facilitate access to interpreters and / or translators, as required.
  9. Provide information about speech and language therapy services and choices for service users and carers in ways they can understand and make informed choices.
  10. Explain the risks and benefits of speech and language therapy assessments, implications and interventions in accessible ways, so service users and carers can make informed choices about their care and treatment.
  11. Explain the reasoning behind speech and language therapy assessments and interventions.
  12. Provide information that is clear, accurate and up to date about speech and language therapy.
  13. Avoid the use of jargon or technical language in their communications.
  14. Take steps to ensure that service users and carers understand what is being communicated and to whom.
  15. Respect the choices and wishes of service users, being clear about where this differs from professional opinion, and recording this as appropriate.
  16. Abide by all legislation, policies and procedures relevant to their context of work regarding effective communication.
  17. Make effective use of all information technology as a means of communication when appropriate, and comply with all legislation and guidance around information governance.
  18. Take steps to ensure all written communication is accessible and clear for the reader.

Work with colleagues

  1. Cooperate and collaborate with colleagues in all aspects of service users’ and carers’ management, within and across settings, sectors and professions in the best interests of service-users.
  2. Share information, knowledge and skills for the benefit of the service user.
  3. Respect colleagues’ perspectives and contribution.
  4. Work in partnerships with other services, putting the service user’s interests first.
  5. Support and enable others to adapt communication, as required, for service users and their carers.
  6. Participate in team or multi/interdisciplinary working, as required, for the benefits of service users and the wider service.
  7. Maintain a professional approach to communication when professional opinions differ.
  8. Endeavour to resolve professional differences, to ensure optimum outcomes for service user.
  9. Listen and respond to feedback from colleagues.
  10. Share/express professional opinion using clinical reasoning and the evidence base to demonstrate the SLT role.
  11. Share information appropriately with due regard for safeguarding, legal and other requirements.

Social media and networking sites

  1. Are aware and proactively manage their online image or identity, being mindful of the need for boundaries.
  2. Use social media to promote speech and language therapy in a positive way, and to engage with the public.
  3. Use social media responsibly in the best interest of service-users and the speech and language therapy profession.
  4. Maintain and protect the service users’ confidentiality by not publishing information that could identify them on social media.
  5. Comply with any internet and social media policy set out by the HCPC and their employer.

Related information

3. Work within the scope of your knowledge and skills

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Keeping within your scope of practice.
  • Referring a service user to another practitioner if the care, treatment or other services they require are beyond your scope of practice.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 3: Work within the limits of your knowledge and skills.

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 1: Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 3: Be able to maintain fitness to practise.

Standard 4: Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement.

Standard 11: Be able to reflect on and review practice.

Standard 13: Understand the key concepts of the knowledge base relevant to their profession.

Standards 14: Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice.

Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Keep within scope of practice

  1. Understand that all speech and language therapy activities or interventions must be considered in the context of the best interests of the service user.
  2. Provide speech and language therapy services, assessments, interventions, management and advice for which they are qualified by education and / or experience.
  3. Use prior learning and transferable knowledge and skills to deliver speech and language therapy which is evidence based and soundly reasoned.
  4. Are aware of the limits to their professional knowledge and undertake appropriate CPD to address limitations where required.
  5. Use their knowledge and skills to enable them to make reliable professional judgements appropriate to their role and level of responsibility.
  6. Are able to work autonomously and use their own initiative appropriate to the level of their role, experience and responsibility.
  7. Manage their own workload and caseload effectively within their scope of practice.
  8. Understand that their individual scope of practice sits within the evolving scope of speech and language therapy practice.
  9. Take account of individual, service and workforce needs in developing their scope of practice.
  10. Seek advice or refer on to other professionals where necessary when additional knowledge, expertise or support are needed.

Maintain and develop your knowledge and skills

  1. Comply with the HCPC's CPD requirements – see below:
  2. Recognise that their individual scope of practice evolves and must be supported by appropriate CPD.
  3. Keep up to date with any legal, regulatory and ethical requirements relevant to their speech and language therapy activity.
  4. Are proactive in keeping up to date with current policy, guidelines, research and best available evidence.
  5. Undertake CPD that is relevant to their current practice and of benefit to the outcomes for service users and their carers.
  6. Use regular professional and / or clinical supervision or support within an agreed structure or model.
  7. Actively seek feedback from colleagues and service users, to improve practice.
  8. Use supervision and reflective practice to incorporate feedback from colleagues and service-users into future practice.
  9. Participate in any statutory and mandatory training required for their work.
  10. Participate in a regular appraisal/personal development process with their employer or as relevant to their context of work.
  11. Participate in clinical, team, multidisciplinary or inter-professional learning relevant to their context.
  12. Maintain clear and accurate records of professional development activities to provide evidence of their continuous and reflective learning.

Related information

4. Delegate Appropriately

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Delegating work to someone who has the knowledge
  • Skills and experience needed to carry it out safely and effectively
  • Providing appropriate oversight and support to those you delegate work to

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 4: Delegate Appropriately

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 1: Promote and protect the interests of service-users and carers.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 4: Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement.

Standard 5: Be aware of the impact of culture, equality and diversity on practice.

Standard 8: Be able to communicate effectively.

Standard 9: Be able to work appropriately with others.

Standard 10: Be able to maintain records appropriately.

Standard 12: Be able to assure the quality of their practice.

Standard 14: Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice.

Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Delegation, oversight and support

  1. Are aware of the governance framework around delegated activities and their own professional duty of care and accountability for delegated therapy activities.
  2. Evaluate the risks and benefits for service user outcomes when delegating speech and language therapy to others.
  3. Provide appropriate and adequate information, training, support, supervision and monitoring to those carrying out speech and language therapy.
  4. Act as a role model for best practice in speech and language therapy delivery as part of training and support.
  5. Record delegated therapy appropriately.
  6. Inform service users and carers of the decisions around delegation.
  7. Contribute to reviews of workforce and skill-mix, as appropriate to role and experience, to ensure that best practice in service delivery for speech and language therapy is being maintained.

Delegation and scope of practice

  1. Only ask others to carry out tasks within their professional competence, terms of employment or workload capacity.
  2. Review delegated therapy interventions/activities if the well-being of the service-user is being adversely affected, or if delivery is being compromised.

Related information

5. Respect confidentiality

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Treating information about service users as confidential.
  • Appropriate disclosure of confidential information.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 5: Respect confidentiality

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 7: Understand the importance of and be able to maintain confidentiality.

Standard 10: Be able to maintain records appropriately.

Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Use of information

  • Abide by all legislation, policies and other regulations (e.g. employer) relating to confidentiality for service-users and their carers.
  • Maintain high standards around confidentiality, information management and record keeping – whatever format (e.g. paper, electronic), ensuring that information is stored safely and securely and is only accessed by those who have the service-user’s consent.
  • Seek service-user consent to share information, in all circumstances (except in cases below).
  • Inform service users and carers about the information that is being collected and recorded about them, and how it will be used.
  • Review and audit information management on a regular basis.

Disclosure of Information

  1. Seek the permission of the service user to share or disclose information to third parties.
  2. With service user’s permission, only share relevant information with other professionals in the best interests of the service-users’ management and treatment.
  3. Only disclose information where the person about whom the information is concerned, has given permission except in the following instances:
  4. When required to disclose by law; and
  5. Where there is public interest in disclosing the information – e.g. safeguarding or public safety.

Related information

6. Manage Risk

Issues covered in this section include:

Taking all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues.

Making changes to how you practise if your physical or mental health affects your performance or judgement.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 6: Manage risk

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 1: Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 3: Be able to maintain fitness to practise.

Standard 4: Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement.

Standard 8: Be able to communicate effectively.

Standard 12: Be able to assure the quality of their practice.

Standard 14: Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice.

Standard 15: Understand the need to establish and maintain a safe practice environment.

Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Identify and minimise risk

  1. Abide by national and local health and safety regulations, policies and procedures within their own organisational context.
  2. Have a set of policies and procedures in place relating to the assessment and management of risk within their own organisational context.
  3. Take all reasonable steps to ensure health, safety and welfare of any person involved in any activity for which they are responsible.
  4. Work with other speech and language therapists, professionals and services to ensure the safety and well-being of service users.
  5. Assess and manage the identified risks involved in providing speech and language therapy services.
  6. Enable positive risks to be taken safely in cases where such risks are a necessary part of intervention and record the decision making.
  7. Develop, record and implement risk management strategies to eliminate, avoid or reduce the likelihood of adverse events.
  8. Use incident/near-miss information to monitor and improve the safety of speech and language therapy services.
  9. Select and use equipment appropriately, providing adequate information and training on its safe use.
  10. Practise and monitor performance and quality, based on national and professional guidance and published evidence, where possible.
  11. Recognise and take appropriate action where professional practice is potentially pushing the boundaries of the scope of speech and language therapy practice.
  12. Monitor effectiveness of practice with the use of outcome measures.

Manage their health

  1. Take reasonable care for their own health and safety.
  2. Inform the HCPC and their employer, if appropriate, about any health or personal conditions that may affect their ability to perform their job competently and safely.
  3. Limit or stop working if their performance/judgement is affected by their health.
  4. Refrain from any professional activities when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Related information

7. Reporting concerns about safety

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Reporting concerns about the safety or well-being of service users promptly and appropriately.
  • Taking appropriate action if you have concerns about the safety or well-being of children or vulnerable adults.
  • Following up and, if necessary, escalating concerns you have reported.
  • Acknowledging and acting on concerns raised to you.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 7: Report concerns about safety

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 1: Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 4: Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement.

Standard 7: Understand the importance of and be able to maintain confidentiality.

Standard 14: Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice.

Standard 15: Understand the need to establish and maintain a safe practice environment.

Standards for continuing professional development.

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Report concerns

  • Follow national and local policies in respect of safeguarding.
  • Have a responsibility to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults.
  • Take appropriate action to protect and safeguard the interests of vulnerable people in their care, or with whom they have contact in the course of their professional duties.
  • Raise concerns with appropriate person (e.g. line manager or local safeguarding team) about any service user or carer who may be at risk in any way.
  • Notify appropriate person (e.g. line manager or local safeguarding team) if they witness or have reason to believe that a service user has been the victim of dangerous, abusive, discriminatory behaviour, seeking the service users’ consent, where possible.
  • Follow local policies in respect of whistle-blowing.
  • Notify appropriate person (e.g. line manager or other) if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the behaviour or performance of another professional may be deficient in standards of professional competency. This includes when a professional’s performance is seriously deficient, when he/she has a health problem that is impairing fitness to practise or when the individual is practising in a manner that puts others at risk.
  • Report where resource and service deficiencies may impact on service-users.

Follow up concerns

  • Act on reports concerning resources and service deficiencies, to protect service-users and carers.
  • Report to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) any person who has been removed from work because of their behaviour, where that behaviour may meet any of the criteria for the individual to be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults.
  • Disclose confidential information when it is considered to be in the public interest, in order to prevent serious harm, injury or damage to the service user or to any other person in keeping with local policies and procedures.

Related information

8. Be open when things go wrong

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Informing service-users and, where appropriate, their carers, that something has gone wrong; dealing with complaints.
  • Apologising and taking action to put matters right, if possible.
  • Making sure that service-users and / or their carers receive a full and prompt explanation of what has happened and any likely effects.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 8 Be open when things go wrong

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 1: Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 4: Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement.

Standard 7: Understand the importance of and be able to maintain confidentiality.

Standard 8: Be able to communicate effectively.

Standard 9: Be able to work appropriately with others.

Standard 10: Be able to maintain records appropriately.

Standard 12: Be able to assure the quality of their practice.

Standard 14: Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice.

Standard 15: Understand the need to establish and maintain a safe practice environment.

Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Download the PDF version

Openness with service users and carers

  1. Provide adequate information to service-users and / or carers about the nature, purpose and likely effect of intervention before it is undertaken.
  2. Communicate honestly, openly and in a professional manner with service users and / or carers addressing concerns cooperatively and providing feedback.
  3. Provide advice or intervention based upon the most recent evidence available, best practice or local and national guidelines.
  4. Take immediate action to make the situation safe if involved in an incident that causes harm.
  5. Understand and follow individual responsibilities in relation to duty of candour.
  6. Apologise as soon as they are aware something has gone wrong, giving a prompt and full explanation of what has happened and discussing any likely effects.

Deal with concerns and complaints

  1. Inform service-users and carers about the ways they can raise concerns about any care, treatment or services they have received.
  2. Follow and cooperate with local complaints procedure and policies when dealing with complaints and whistle-blowing.
  3. Use complaints and incident information to monitor and improve the safety of the service.

Related information

9. Be honest and trustworthy

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Making sure your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.
  • Being honest about your experience, qualifications and skills.
  • Ensuring promotional activities you are involved in are accurate and are not likely to mislead.

The section also contains important information about your conduct and competence, such as if you accept a caution from the police, or you have been charged with, or found guilty of a criminal offence.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics.

Standard 9: Be honest and trustworthy.

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists.

Standard 1: Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 3: Be able to maintain fitness to practise.

Standard 4: Be able to practise as an autonomous professional, exercising their own professional judgement.

Standard 8: Be able to communicate effectively.

Standard 9: Be able to work appropriately with others.

Standards for continuing professional development.

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards.

Access the PDF version.

Speech and language therapists:

Personal and professional behaviour

  1. Ensure their conduct promotes speech and language therapy in a positive way.
  2. Limit professional activity to those areas to which they are competent and qualified to work safely.
  3. Understand that an individual’s scope of practice sits within the evolving scope of speech and language therapy practice.
  4. Act with honesty and integrity at all times.
  5. Use due care when making reference to or expressing an opinion on the quality of work or integrity of a professional colleague.
  6. Provide evidence-based opinions through appropriate channels.
  7. Provide second opinions confined to the case in question and not extend to the general competence of another speech and language therapist.
  8. Ensure promotional activities, information and / or advertising in respect of professional activities are truthful and accurate.
  9. Accurately represent qualifications, education, experience, training, competence and services provided.
  10. Contact the HCPC if they are aware that possible misrepresentation of the protected title ‘Speech and Language Therapist’ may have occurred.
  11. Conduct and present self in a professional manner while in a work role.
  12. Will not be involved in any behaviour or activity likely to damage the public confidence in themselves or the profession of speech and language therapy.
  13. Will not accept favours, gifts or hospitality from service-users, their families or commercial organisations when this might be construed as seeking preferential treatment.
  14. Disclose any financial benefit received through endorsement or advertising.
  15. Declare any conflict of interest.
  16. Put the interests of service users first and not let this duty be influenced by any commercial or other interests that conflict with this duty.

Important information about conduct and competence

  • Recognise the impact of personal behaviour, lifestyle and activity outside of work on the reputation of the profession.
  • Inform the HCPC, the RCSLT and employers if convicted of a criminal offence, receive a conditional discharge for an offence or accept a police caution.
  • Inform the HCPC and the RCSLT if disciplined, suspended or placed under practice restrictions by an employer because of concerns about conduct or competence.
  • Cooperate with any investigation and / or formal enquiry into own professional conduct, the conduct of another worker or the treatment of an individual.

Related information

Useful external links:

10. Keep records of your work

Issues covered in this section include:

  • Keeping full, clear, and accurate and timely records for everyone you care for, treat or provide other services to.
  • Keeping records secure by protecting them from loss, damage or inappropriate access.

Relevant HCPC standards

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics

Standard 10: Keep records of your work.

Standards of proficiency for speech and language therapists

Standard 1: Be able to practise safely and effectively within their scope of practice.

Standard 2: Be able to practise within the legal and ethical boundaries of their profession.

Standard 3: Be able to maintain fitness to practise.

Standard 7: Understand the importance of and be able to maintain confidentiality.

Standard 10: Be able to maintain records appropriately.

Standard 12: Be able to assure the quality of their practice.

Standard 14: Be able to draw on appropriate knowledge and skills to inform practice.

Standards for continuing professional development

The HCPC provides standards for continuing professional development and expects all registrants to continue to develop their knowledge and skills while they are registered. See the RCSLT’s professional development section for further information and guidance on CPD and how to record it.

RCSLT Guidance to support members to meet the HCPC standards

Access the downloadable, PDF version

Speech and language therapists:

Keep records accurate

  1. Have clear record-keeping procedures that are monitored and reviewed, in line with current legislation, whatever context they work in.
  2. Have procedures for the creation, use, secure storage and appropriate sharing of records, in line with current legislation.
  3. Monitor and review these procedures.
  4. Keep records that are fit for purpose and offer clear reasoning for decision-making.
  5. Record evidence of clinical reasoning and decision-making.
  6. Manage records according to all relevant legislation, guidance or policies – national and local.
  7. Have systems in place for auditing records of work.
  8. Clearly identify the service user throughout the record, according to local policy and practice.
  9. Write care records that are objective and concise.
  10. Write their care records promptly, as soon as practically possible after the activity occurred.
  11. Sign and date all care record entries, using the date the service user was seen and the date the entry was made, if different.
  12. Write care records chronologically.
  13. Make any changes or corrections to care records clearly.
  14. Identify themselves as the author of their care record entries.

Keep records secure

  1. Keep and manage records securely and dispose of them according to legal requirements (e.g. Data Protection Act) and local policy, as appropriate.
  2. Ensure electronic recording systems and diaries (mobile phones, personal digital assistants, computers) used for work purposes adhere to legal and local data protection requirements.
  3. Keep their records, whether paper or electronic, safe from theft, loss, false access or damage.
  4. Transport records securely.
  5. Do not leave records unattended in ways that are potentially insecure.
  6. Retain records for an appropriate period of time, as defined by their nature, content and purpose.
  7. Record evidence of consent or authorisation before identifiable service user information is shared.
  8. Support service-users’ access to their own care records, in accordance with legislation and local policy.
  9. Follow local policy or protocol where mental incapacity does not allow the gaining of consent to share service user information.
  10. Have a protocol for secure information sharing with other organisations.

Related information

 Further Reading

Oral statement to parliament (2013) Secretary of State for Health's response to the Francis Inquiry.

Resources

e-LfH (e-Learning for Healthcare) portal

Health Education England Programme in partnership with the NHS and professional bodies providing high quality content free of charge, for the training of the NHS workforce across the UK. Free resources if you are employed by the NHS. If you are an independent SLT - many of the programmes have sample modules which anyone can use, some are open access and some require a fee.