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A duty of Care is defined simply as a legal obligation to:

  • Always act in the best interest of individuals and other 
  • Not act or failure to act in a way that results in harm
  • To act within your competence and not take on anything you do not believe you can safely do.

Care workers owe a duty of care to the people they support, their colleagues, employers and the public. They even have a duty of care to themselves. Everyone has a duty of care. It is not something that you can opt out of.

When acting in a person’s best interests you must do so with their consent, unless you have evidence that the person lacks the capacity to make that particular decision at the time it needs to be made. If your role is the care of an individual in their own home, the duty of care still applies.

Your duty of care means that you must aim to provide to the best of your ability, high-quality care. If there should be any reason why you are unable to do so, it is part of your duty of care to make this known.

It is vital that carers are trustworthy and do what a reasonable person with their training and background would be expected to do in accordance with their code of practice applying suitable skills when carrying out their role.

As a care worker, you must always take reasonable care. This means you must:

  • Make sure that you keep your knowledge and skills up to date 
  • Provide a service of no less quality than that to be expected, based on the skills, responsibilities and range of activities within your particular work or profession 
  • Be in a position to know what must be done to ensure that the service is provided safely 
  • Always keep accurate and up-to-date records of the care and support you provide, including an assessment of someone’s capacity and the rationale for any decisions that are taken on their behalf 
  • Never delegate work, or accept delegated work, unless it is clear that the person to whom the work is delegated is competent to carry out the work and vice versa 
  • Protect confidential information except where the wider duty of care or the public interest might justify making it known.

Making sure that you follow your duty of care helps to ensure that you are working safely and professionally.

  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.1a
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.1b
  • Standard 3.1 - Learning Outcome 3.2a