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Codes of practice for social care workers and employers: Exploring their use in the United Kingdom


The study was commissioned by the four Care Councils in the UK into the use of the Codes of Practice for Social Care Workers and Social Care Employers within the social care sector.

Research team

James Blewett, SCWRU (Principal Investigator)
Jill Manthorpe, SCWRU
Jane Tunstill (Visiting Professor, SCWRU)
Jess Harris, SCWRU
Shereen Hussein, SCWRU
Jo Moriarty, SCWRU
Martin Stevens, SCWRU
Alix Walton (Independent Consultant)


The study was funded by General Social Care Council for England (GSCC); the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC); the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC); and the Care Council for Wales (CCW).


It is six years since the publication of the Codes of Practice for social work and the four Care Councils have been seeking to review the Codes and explore both the extent to which and the ways in which they have been used in and by the sector.

The overall objectives of the study were:

  • To find out how the Codes are being used by social care employers and workers across the UK.
  • To identify if the Codes are ‘fit for purpose’ and how the Codes might be further developed.
  • To establish the level of knowledge among people with experiences of using services and carers and their awareness and views of the Codes.


There were two main components to the study. Firstly, an online survey for employers sought to ascertain the extent to which and in what way the codes were being used in their organisations. Second, over 70 interviews were conducted with users of services, carers, practitioners, managers and key staff in higher education institutions. The research team also met with the UK wide conduct committee and gathered further data from users of services at consultation events.


Summer – Autumn 2008



Blewett, J., Manthorpe, J., Tunstill, J., Harris, J., Hussein, S., Moriarty, J., Stevens, M. & Walton, A., (2008), 'Exploring the Use of the Codes of Practice for Social Care Workers and Employers across the UK' [pdf, 299 KB], London: Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King's College London.

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