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How we deal with concerns

As part of our responsibility to make sure social care workers on the Register have the skills, knowledge and character to carry out their work safely and effectively, we will investigate concerns raised about registered persons.

What is a concern?

A concern is where there is doubt about whether a registered person is doing their work safely, effectively and in-line with the Code of Professional Practice. This includes incidents which happen outside work. If you believe this may be the case, then you can let us know by raising a concern.

What concerns might we investigate?

Examples of the types of concern we might investigate include:

Shortcomings in professional performance

  • dishonesty or abuse of someone’s trust
  • failure to meet the expected standards
  • committing fraud
  • trying to cover up mistakes or block an investigation
  • not following policy and procedures.

Actions which put others at risk

  • inappropriate relationship with someone who uses services
  • exploiting a vulnerable person
  • substance abuse
  • violent or threatening behaviour
  • a health problem the registered person hasn’t told us about, which could threaten the safety of those they support.

Actions that could undermine public confidence in social care

  • not respecting the rights of individuals who use care and support services
  • behaviour that could harm others or undermine public confidence in the profession.

What concerns can’t we investigate?

We can’t investigate concerns that are about:

  • an organisation (instead, you should contact Care Inspectorate Wales)
  • something that happened more than five years ago, unless an investigation is in the public interest
  • a disciplinary process: we can’t discipline someone, get them dismissed or change the outcome of a disciplinary investigation
  • a disagreement with anything raised in court or a court decision
  • a social care worker who isn’t registered with us.

How to raise a concern

Anyone can raise a concern with us, as long as they provide us with the details we need to consider it further.

Concerns can be raised by completing and submitting the online form.

Please note: Employers who wish to raise a concern about an employee should read employers who want to raise a concern about an employee.

The information provided will be processed in-line with data protection rules as part of the investigation. It may be shared with other agencies, including:

By submitting this form, you are giving permission for the information to be used as part of our legal responsibilities.

What happens after a concern is raised?

After a concern has been raised we will contact the registered person to let them know.

The registered person can continue to work unless we tell them otherwise.

We will keep them updated every eight weeks until the investigation is complete and they are told of the outcome.

At the conclusion of our investigation we will consider how to close the case. We can decide to take no further action. We can close a case with an officer sanction - this could be an officer warning; or we can offer an undertaking if the registered person demonstrates insight and acceptance of the allegations against them. An undertaking is a contractual agreement between a registered person and Social Care Wales in relation to improving and developing practice. Warnings and undertakings last for a fixed period of time and will show on the registered person’s entry on the social care register until they expire.

We will also consider applications from registered persons for removal by agreement in certain circumstances. Other concerns may be referred to a Fitness to Practise Panel.

More information on removals by agreement and hearing panel outcomes.

Please note: Concerns raised about social work students will initially be assessed by the university. Should further action be necessary, we will investigate concerns raised about students in the same way as any other registered person.

Employers who want to raise a concern about an employee

Employers of social care workers have a duty to provide us with details of any concerns they might have about a registered person as soon as possible.

When to refer an employee to us

Employers play a key role in initially assessing and dealing with any allegation(s) about an employee’s fitness to practise.

They should refer employees to us at the start of their processes if:

  • the employee has been suspended or dismissed
  • the employee has resigned or left before a disciplinary process has been completed and the outcome would have been dismissal
  • the employee is subject to a police or safeguarding investigation.

Otherwise employers should let us know at the end of their process.

Employers should keep us informed while processes are ongoing, let us know when they are complete and provide us with relevant supporting evidence. If an employee leaves during the investigation, we encourage employers to complete the investigation process.

Employers who wish to make a referral can raise a concern online.

Examples of concerns that do not need to be referred to us

These include:

  • employment matters where the only issues relate to annual leave, lateness or sickness absence
  • where the issues are low-level or a letter of concern has been issued by the employer, but no disciplinary sanction has been given
  • concerns which, after initial consideration, were not investigated further.

Referring a worker who isn’t registered with us

Employers can raise a concern about employees who aren’t registered with us yet if they are:

  • domiciliary care workers
  • adult care home workers
  • workers who should be registered with us but aren’t.

We are able to hold information on them which we will take into account when they apply to register.

Mandatory registration is required for domiciliary care workers by 2020, and for adult care home workers by 2022.

If employers think that a person is working or calling themselves a social worker, or they don’t have the qualifications required or are not registered with us they should contact us immediately on 02920 780545.

Compromise agreements

When there’s a duty to refer a worker to us, employers should still do so even if a compromise agreement has been signed. We don’t need details about any monies paid but we do need to know the reasons for the compromise agreement.

When writing the agreement, employers should make it clear that any confidentiality clause doesn’t apply to information passed to us.

Rules we use to investigate concerns

Rules set out how we might respond to an allegation that someone on the Register is unfit to practise. They show the options available to our fitness to practice team at the investigation stage and the process by which an allegation might be dealt with at officer level or referred to a fitness to practise panel. If your case is referred to us on or after 1 April 2020, you will need to look at the 2020 Rules.

If you had a case referred to us between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2020 inclusive, you will need to look at the 2018 Rules.

If you had a case referred to us between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2017 inclusive, you will need to look at the 2017 Rules.

When a concern goes to a hearing

After the concern raised has been investigated, it may be referred to a hearing, which may result in a formal sanction.

For more information on this and what to expect at a hearing see hearings.

Check to see if a registered person has a sanction against them by searching the Register.

Contact us

If you have a question or if you can't find what you are looking for get in touch with us.